My favorite TV show when I was 12 years old was Mission: Impossible. The original.
Pre-Tom Cruise. When white-haired Peter Graves played Mr. Phelps, Greg Morris was the tech guy, Peter Lupus was the muscle, Martin Landau was the master of disguise, and Barbara Bain used martial arts skills to disable villains twice her size.
I loved watching that team in action. Such different people, each contributing his or her particular skills to pull off the mission—taking risks, finding creative ways out of their missteps, not always agreeing but always having one another’s backs.
After each episode my little brother and sister and I would create our own missions. We’d hum that Lalo Schifrin theme—du-du-DUH-DUH—as we bravely retrieved a missing precious object from my big brother’s room, rescued a lost dog being held prisoner in our backyard, or tricked Mom into believing we had disappeared, usually right around evening chore time.
Of course, we did all of our own stunts.
The neighbors thought we were nuts, but we had a blast. Just playing at it made me want to be part of a team like that someday.
And, 50 years later, I am.
WHEN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Kim Johnson pushed us a couple years ago to be more collaborative, I found this quote from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and posted it on the white board of the Hovey Cottage workroom:
“The fun for me in collaboration is, one, working with other people just makes you smarter—that’s proven. … We elevate each other. And two, it’s enormously gratifying because you can build things so much bigger than yourself.”
I was kind of proud that, as months went by and all sorts of ideas came and went, that quote was still there. Then a few weeks ago I returned from visiting my daughter in Spain to find the Miranda quote about collaboration gone. In its place was— well, collaboration. Art Director Becky Wendt and Multimedia Writer Christina Egbert had posted pages from different fashion and movie magazines as a sort of template for how we might put this issue together differently. We had long wanted to do something on alumni in the movie business. Thinking photographically and inspired by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Tom Broecker ’84, Kim came up with “film and fashion.” Christina contacted as many alums as she could reach in the film and fashion world, Rich Paige led part of the team to Los Angeles to gather photos and stories, and Kim and Christina went the other way to New York for more. We got good stuff on great people.
But the vision posted all over Hovey Cottage forced us to think differently about how to present them.
Photo-driven, the text tight and focused. A magazine that wasn’t just about fashion and film, but would be fashion and film, Wabash-style.
The film and fashion idea proved fertile ground (Did you know that a Wabash man was once one of the top seven influencers of women’s fashion? Or that one of the cameramen for Dude Perfect was a Wabash religion major? Me either.) They became part of our team, generous with their conversations, ideas, and time. (The costume designer for Saturday Night Live gave us four hours, for god’s sake—on a Sunday morning!)
On campus, faculty, staff, and students pitched in. Economics Professor Christie Byun embraced the idea, and students in her freshman tutorial on the fashion industry got a mini-immersion in the subject when they modeled for our photoshoot at Fusion54, the College’s new collaborative space in downtown Crawfordsville. We discovered a burgeoning interest in fashion and style I would have thought impossible at a school where guys still go to class in their pajamas.
WM readers did their part, responding in the greatest numbers ever to our Big Question: What is your favorite line from film or TV? Our professors turned in some of the most interesting writing when we asked: What is the movie that changed your life?
Karen Handley adapted her Class Notes section to the different format, Adam Phipps provided lighting and video and some fun behind the scenes, and Brent Harris advised, as always, on all things sports.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that two industries that depend on people sharing ideas, talent, and workspace would inspire our most collaborative edition to date.
WHEN WE VISITED A.J. Clark ’16 in Los Angeles in August, he told us: “I love being out here and around people who are after the same goals I am, who think like I do, and who are willing to put in the time.”
I could say the same about working at Wabash.
More than anywhere I’ve been, this place is about teams—in the classrooms and labs, on the field, and behind the scenes. Such different people, each contributing his or her particular skills to pull off a clearly defined mission. I’m grateful to be part of it, and proud of our team’s efforts on your behalf in this issue of the magazine.
We hope you enjoy this special “high fashion” edition of WM. See more of the stories of our featured “models” at WM Online.
And if you have ideas for themes or know alumni, students, faculty, staff, or friends you’d like to read about, let me know. This team loves to tell stories!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join us.
Thanks for reading,
Editor | email@example.com