From the Editor

By Steve Charles, Editor
  March 30, 2004

Economics professor Frank Howland intoned the aliyot before his daughter, Catherine, chanted from the Torah at her Bat Mitzvah, her mother pulling the girl's hair away from the scroll and placing it on her shoulders, her father beaming.

Andrew Dits '07 wrote:

"When you pray ...
Let time be the thin rice trail
slipping through your bag
behind you in the sand."

A quote from Robert Ingersoll in the email of Charlie Lopez '06 reads: "The hands that help are better than the lips that pray."

Alex Carroll told me of the night Don Fobes '34 sat in with jazz masters at an impromptu jam session in New York City: "When he played, he leaned over the piano keys like he was diving into the notes."

Chemistry professor Scott Feller's eight-year-old son, Jake, performed next to me onstage (photo left) during the Wamidan World Music concert, belting out an Alur folk song. Cam Starnes '04 played journeyman guitar and sang his own compositions at the student-run Acoustic Cafe.

Ahmed Paarlberg '04 invited us to join him for prayers during Ramadan: "This month is extremely important for Muslims, and we would like to share this experience with you."

Greg Manning '96 spoke of reconciling his mostly white, suburban Lutheran congregation with the inner-city neighbors that surround their church building: "I can't stand for us to be so afraid of each other." Ted Childs, IBM's vice president for workforce diversity, brought his own solution: "I believe that no matter who you hate, no matter the depth of your bigotry, you don't hate anyone more than you love money. And given the opportunity to have me spend my money with you, you will blink."

Professor and Dean emeritus Vic Powell told students at Chapel: "When I think of my life at Wabash, I think of the 16th Psalm, which says, ÔSurely my lines have fallen in goodly places; yay, I have a goodly heritage.' That heritage is yours, too. You're part of it. Treasure it." Speech professor Jennifer Young added "a gentle word of caution from a recent emigre to this odd, wonderful, and challenging College culture: Celebrate the fraternity that you find in your houses, dorms, and classrooms, but beware of the insidious siren of conformity that calls you to look, act, and even believe the same things."

"We travel to liberate ourselves from our own misperceptions," physics major Matt Miller '04 told the College's first Global Studies Conference. John Rose '05 wrote about his internship in the Philippines and an encounter with a child in the slums of Manila: "I was about ready to leave when her mother suddenly reached out and cupped my cheek with the palm of her hand. And it was then I realized I no longer knew which of us was suffering, and which of us could save the other."

"Christians do not know what they really believe until they publicly witness to their faith," Professor Steve Webb said.

National Biology Teacher of the Year Steve Randak '67 warned that some Christian fundamentalists "want to legislate the teaching of religious doctrine in the science classroom: "Human destiny is ultimately tied to reach of mind. If we assume less, we threaten the future of our species."

"While everyone else clings so dearly to that invisible something that they need, I stand alone," wrote Rob Alexander '05. "I don't need a man, a ghost, and a God to get by."

"The artist's business is to reassure the world that we are not alone," Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler told us.

Professor Paul McKinney '52 spoke in his last days of "the miracle of love: It is a miracle one can know, experience, and take joy in. It has given me happiness."

"I hadn't heard that song for 40 years," Dr Charles Miller '49 told me when I asked why, after receiving his honorary Doctor of Science degree, he'd turned to face the Glee Club as they sang Alma Mater. "I wanted to hear their voices, see their faces, catch every word."

Steve Charles