Wabash Rings In the Class of 2019
by Richard Paige
August 22, 2015
The sounds of the Caleb Mills Bell echoed throughout Pioneer Chapel as Wabash College welcomed its newest class of students Saturday during its annual “Ringing In” ceremony.
As tradition dictates, 251 men sat in the Chapel balcony as President Gregory D. Hess greeted the Class of 2019 and their families to campus, and charged the students to answer the challenge before them.
“If you are ready to take up this challenge; to take on the responsibility embedded in your dreams; to take care for your own life and the lives of your brothers and all the men and women of Wabash; to set as your goal to live the wise, virtuous, and generous life embodied in the Gentleman’s Rule; stand with pride so that I might continue the tradition begun by the first professor of Wabash College, Caleb Mills, and using his bell, ring you into the company of Wabash Men.”
Using the hand bell that once belonged to Wabash’s first educator, Dr. Hess rang in the class, which marks the official beginning of the students’ lives as Wabash men.
The Class of 2019 also received wisdom from the third-year president. “You chose a rigorous liberal arts education,” Hess began. “Get one. Passionately pursue your academic interests, and find many of them. Get to know the faculty — they are superb and dedicated academics who are sincerely dedicated to your education.”
Dean of Enrollment Management Mike Thorp ’86 explained that among the freshmen are 32 legacies, including 20 whose fathers attended Wabash and 20 whose brothers are presently enrolled or have attended the College.
Dean Thorp listed some of the intriguing attributes of this year’s freshmen. There are nearly a dozen Eagle Scouts in the Class of 2019, more who participated in Boys State, National Honor Society and collectively, a group that represents 17 states and seven foreign countries.
Members of the Class of 2019 have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, have participated in service trips internationally, others are youth sport coaches and members of robotics clubs, and a member of his state’s symphony orchestra. There are class presidents and debate champions. One Little Giant raised $100,000 for Riley Children’s Hospital.
“Our college, now your college, will give you the tools you need to be successful in these four years and for the remainder of your lives,” said Thorp. “It’s up to you to accept the challenge and do the work.”
Rick Cavanaugh ’76, the President of the National Association of Wabash Men, welcomed the students and their families to the Wabash community and spoke of the traditions the College holds dear.
“Part of our mission is to think critically about tradition and hold on to those traditions that appropriately reinforce the values of the College,” Cavanaugh said. “The Ringing In and four years later Ringing Out of each class at graduation symbolically ties your class, the Class of 2019 to the Wabash Men that have come before you. It reminds us that although we may be students here for four short years, we are part of the generations of Wabash Men, who left us a legacy, just as you will create a legacy for future generations that follow behind you. My hope is that the legacy the Class of 2019 is a great one.”
Cavanaugh, Associate General Counsel for Duke Energy Corp., alerted the freshmen to both the rigors and benefits that lie ahead.
“Most importantly, make friends with your fellow Wabash Men,” he said. “The bonds of brotherhood formed as undergraduates at this College can last a lifetime. Don’t limit yourself to your dorm, fraternity or housing unit; get to know the men in your classes, clubs, organizations, and teams.”
Dean of Students Mike Raters ’85 acknowledged the large step that this group of freshmen are about to undertake.
“We take your education very seriously,” Raters said. “At the heart of our work together is the Mission of the College. We all will be there to support you, push you, educate you to think more critically, act more responsibly, lead more effectively, and live more humanely than you have to this point in your lives. We will do all we can to guide you to maximize that potential.”