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The Grunge Report—Spring 2007

by Tom Runge ’71
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President Pat White has often quoted William Butler Yeats in this inauguration year: "In dreams begins responsibility." The Grunge, just a dumb fighter pilot and not much of a poet, for the past four months has been borrowing a quote from Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis: "It is what it is."

While Pat has been dreaming about the future of Wabash, I have been wrestling with a positive biopsy for prostate cancer that has blown my theory of fighter pilot invincibility to smithereens. I have been extremely lucky that my journey has included the sage advice of my lovely wife Carol ("Your glass is more than half full!") and the medical skills of one incredible urologist, friend, and classmate—Trey Holland ’71.

Now, I’m just guessing that Charlie Weis didn’t read a lot of Yeats while he was a college student, but I think both the poet’s words and coach’s slogan speak to us at this time in Wabash’s history.

We’ll begin the next strategic planning process for the College in the coming months. We can and should dream big. All of us want the future Wabash to be stronger in every single way—a leader among colleges and a College where others turn to define the role of a liberal arts education. The sky is the limit … almost.

But to start that process, we’ll need to know what Wabash is today—and "it is what it is."  To get to where we’re going, it’s always a good idea to navigate from a known point. Believe me, a couple of times in my flying career I tried to navigate from an unknown point—the results can be terrifyingly interesting and humorous—if they don't kill you!

So Weis and Yeats are simply talking about the same planning process—Yates addressing the end result and the commitment needed to bring about change, Weis addressing the reality and importance of understanding the starting point.

We’ll then need to frame the pathway in realism. Goals matching resources.

And we’ll need all of you on the team to make it work.

Finally, we’ll need to make sure that pathway is flexible enough for the curveballs that we’ll see along the way.|

This issue of WM is almost a "how to" book on the planning process. All through this issue you’ll see stories of your fellow Wabash men who dreamed big, then creatively crafted a route to get from where they were to where they wanted to be. Along the way, they’ve made this world a better place.

Read and enjoy these stories, not for the end results alone but also for an appreciation of the journey and commitment involved.

And be ready to join your College as we enter this time of planning for the future, never forgetting where we started, and imagining how great he future can be.