Wabash Announces $60M Challenge

by Jim Amidon

November 1, 2010

More than 400 members of the Wabash community gathered Friday night to kickoff the Challenge of Excellence, a five-year, $60 million focused major gifts initiative. At the end of the evening, Ted Grossnickle ’73, co-chairman of the Challenge, announced that nearly $36 million has been raised to date. See photos of Friday's event here.
The Challenge of Excellence will secure funds to support four key initiatives, including:
Opportunity and Access — funds to expand scholarships and financial aid for Wabash students;
Maintaining Teaching Excellence — support for the recruitment, retention, and development of Wabash’s faculty;
Encountering the Global Community — support for Immersion Learning Courses and traditional study abroad; and
Enriching Education for Career Success — funding to enhance business education and career development across all fields.
“The Challenge of Excellence will not be easy,” said President Pat White in his remarks. “In colleges all over the country alumni and friends are replying to requests for support [by saying], ‘No thanks,’ ‘can’t now,’ ‘hard times.’
"But at Wabash, alumni and friends of the College and their families are rising to the challenge of excellence, even in these difficult times. All of you know the difference a Wabash education makes in this world.
“I know you all will rise to the challenge, and when you do, you will show your commitment to excellence at Wabash and you will change the lives of Wabash students forever.”
Challenge of Excellence Co-Chairs Allan Anderson ’65 (below right) and Grossnickle (center, top left) thanked the steering committee for its excellent work, and announced that trustees, alumni, friends, foundations, faculty, staff, and students already have pledged $35,625,000 toward the goal.
Trustee Kevin Clifford ’77 announced that members of the Board of Trustees have committed over $20 million.
The evening featured two speakers and brief video presentations that highlighted each of the four priorities of the Challenge of Excellence.
Following a segment on the importance of expanding Wabash’s scholarship opportunities, Wabash senior Jake German announced that the student body had contributed $10,000 for scholarships, and he challenged his fellow students to help reach a goal of $25,000.
“I challenge the men of Wabash,” German said. “Your generous contributions to the Challenge of Excellence are the gateway to the next generation of successful Wabash men. Through your gifts, we will guarantee the passing of the bell to future loyal sons of Wabash.”
Then, quoting Old Wabash with a twist, German said, “When College days are past, as long as life shall last, our greatest joy will be… to ensure a legacy of Wabash men.”
Anderson paid tribute to the Challenge of Excellence steering committee, which includes Grossnickle, Stephen Bowen ’64, Kevin Clifford ’77, Greg Castanias ’87, Kip Chase ’03, G. Michael Dill ’71, Thomas Hays ’55, David Orr ’57, Fred Wilson ’69, professors Dan Rogers and Kealoha Widdows, President White, and Dean for Advancement Joe Emmick ’92.
When announcing the total at the end of Friday’s gala event, Grossnickle offered a toast to the success of the Challenge of Excellence.
“We have here tonight a gathering of generations of men and women who have committed themselves to our noble mission,” said Grossnickle. “We honor the past, celebrate the present and prepare for the future. The Challenge of Excellence will pave the way for that future.”
Photos by Steve Charles and Kim Johnson.


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