Wabash Celebrates the Fire of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work

by Steve Charles

February 3, 2004

Jeremy Robinson ’04 discusses his editing of the journal Callimachus with Professor Marc Hudson.
The late Paul McKinney ’52 was passionate about teaching and learning. For the professor of chemistry and dean emeritus of Wabash who spent more than 50 years at Wabash, creativity was a fire that burned brightly (and sometimes literally!) in his classroom.

And though the temperature in Crawfordsville dropped below zero on Friday, January 29, that fire burned red hot inside Detchon Hall, where hundreds of Wabash students, faculty, trustees, and campus guests gathered for the Fourth Annual Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work—an afternoon dedicated to McKinney.

Dunmomi Owolabi explains his group's findings on the effectiveness of the College's immersion learning experiences.
It was the students’ turn to teach their professors and the rest of the Wabash community as more than 70 young scholars gave poster talks and presentations on topics representing virtually every academic department on campus.

Freshman Andrew Dits was applauded for his reading of "Bale Jump," a poetic essay describing his afternoon jumping across bales of hay with a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, and sophomore math major Ivan Vassilev explained the probabilities connected with elimination tournaments.

Alumni, students, and trustees crowded around senior history major Mark Shreve’s poster and biography of Wabash speech professor and dean emeritus Vic Powell, who made a special "guest appearance." At the next table, senior speech major Caleb Selby avidly described his photographic essay on his experiences as a deer hunter, and political science major Anthony Warren ’04 proposed the integration of schools as a long-term solution to the religious and cultural conflict in Northern Ireland.

Sebastian Peers discusses his psychology experiment with religion professor Bill Placher.
Senior Alex Barefoot returned from a semester in France to explore "The European Far Right: Anti-Democratic or Voice of the People?"; Sophomore Kariuki Murage examined the timbila, a log xylophone played by the Chopi people of sub-Saharan Africa; religion major Bob Shaver proposed an interdisciplinary dialogue between theologians and scientists based on his study of quantum theory and free will; sophomore Stephen Dewart discussed his role in the re-design of the College’s web site; and senior economics major Amer Ahmed presented his talk on the works of Japanese master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

"I remember when Amer made his presentation at our first Celebration of Student Research when he was a freshman," said event co-founder and psychology professor Charlie Blaich. "This event has become a Wabash tradition."

Trustee Joe Barnette and Professor Vic Powell discuss senior Mark Shreve's biography project.
"This Celebration demonstrates the many ways in which Wabash men pursue research and creativity: alone, as part of a class, or in collaboration with faculty," said Dean of the College Mauri Ditzler ’75. "I think Paul McKinney would be proud of the students whose work is on display here. It is a reflection of the liberal arts ideal we strive for at Wabash, and which Paul McKinney embodied during his long tenure at the College."


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