Wabash is family. For a few lucky families it means mom or dad and their Little Giant sons spend four years on campus at the same time. Meet a handful of parents who work on campus and their “boys.”
Director of Marketing and Media Relations
Wabash is the kind of education that I really wanted for myself 20 years into my career. You’ve learned the fundamentals. You can crank out your job on a daily basis. But what Wabash gives you is the ability to make those connections and do the things that make the next 20 years good.
One of the things I’ve tried really hard to do is to not be in Jake’s way. I wanted this place to be his. I’ve really forced myself at times to pull back and not just go knock on his door and find out what he’s doing.
It is fun to see him randomly on campus. I know I have a luxury most parents don’t.
I was excited about Jake coming to Wabash, selfishly and truthfully, because when Jake’s mom and I divorced, Jake spent most of the school year with his mom in Tennessee. I was happy we were going to be close. But beyond that, I was excited because I knew this place would be good for him. I knew that he could thrive here.
I’m really lucky, because I’m one of the few people whose son didn’t go away to college. He came home to college. And that means the world to me, to have been able to spend this kind of time with him. What a blessing it is to witness what he’s been able to go through.
It’s nice to have those moments where I can just see him existing. I get to see those little moments where he’s doing his thing—whether he’s studying, hanging out with his friends, shooting pictures at a game—I get to see those things as they happen, and man, that’s fun.
Freshman year was so dark for me. I spent days walking, calling my mom and walking away from the school. Walking and crying and asking questions and trying to figure out what I was doing here. How I’m going to figure it out. How am I going to make friends.
I took Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s, taught by Michael Abbott, for my freshman tutorial. We watched some of the greatest movies ever made, and talked about them. Movies depicting life, death, and love, and coming of age and heartbreak. That class spoke to me.
I spent time talking with Professor Abbott more outside of class that semester. There is nobody I felt quite as reassured or safe with than him. He was a student at Wabash and he struggled. He found the theater department. He left Wabash, lived his life, and came back and worked so hard to make sure that students are seen and heard and cared for. And man, I needed that.
Before Wabash, my dad and I were never able to just go out for lunch or to run into each other. Or to be in a situation that actually called for small talk—like running into each other in Sparks or passing each other on the mall. There are those small moments that I’ve really come to appreciate. I didn’t realize I lacked until I was living them.
I’ve started coming in and seeing him more, because I’m interested in him more as a person and getting to know him as a father than I was my freshman year, where I only saw him as somebody I have to report to. Now I get a kick out of visiting him.
But I had to figure out how to be comfortable with myself before I could come in and do that.
I love my job here. I like the variety of tasks, the people, and my mostly quiet office. I like going to the fitness center with my son, Evan, and running on the track with my daughter, Lily. I’ve also very much enjoyed rediscovering paid time off. Switching from self-employment to a full-time job has resulted in significantly more free time, thanks in part to the culture of balance at Wabash. I’ve been able to invest energy into other projects like the local community theater.
I see Evan every day, and we spend most lunch hours together. We usually go to the fitness center, play board games or chess in my office, or just go out to eat. Since we’re both here during the day, I see more of Evan now than I did when he was in high school.
I knew it was a good college.
In high school, I was looking for a more advanced physics course. My dad told me I could apply for a dual credit course at Wabash, so I was already familiar with the students and faculty here. Being close to family is a huge priority too. Campus is beautiful. Coming to Wabash was pretty much a no-brainer.
Senior Associate Dean of the College, Professor of Chemistry
Henry has been on campus since he was two weeks old. Growing up around Wabash, he knows what our expectations are for our students, and that we expect him to work hard. And he has totally lived up to that.
When I first started, we had just crossed parity of having the same number of women on the faculty as there were men named David. The Davids have retired and we’ve hired more women. Now we’re at the point we have five Anns and one David. It’s been fun to watch that growth and change. We’re also much more aware of men’s mental health issues and trying to make sure we have proper support for students. When I first came, David Phillips H’83 referred to Wabash’s humane rigor. We have high expectations for students, but we also provide support so they can achieve the things we ask them to do.
I really didn’t want to come to Wabash at all. I wanted to get as far away from Crawfordsville as I could. One big thing that pulled me to Wabash is that it means something on your degree. I was in Europe and somebody walked up in the airport and said, “Wabash, I went there.” Of course. They’re just everywhere. It’s got its tentacles in every high-level business possible.
When Mom talks about chemistry, I have no idea what any of it means. But I can tell she actually knows what she’s talking about. She is also incredibly devoted to her students.
Dean for Enrollment Management
When Landon was living with us, I always thought he was living from moment to moment or by his sports schedule. I have been impressed to see how organized he is. The classes that he was proud of in the fall were the ones where he had the most fear going in. A lot more work to do, more to learn and absorb. That’s what I hope for all of our students, that they get the most reward when they are pushed out of their comfort zone.
I’ve grown more confident in my time working at Wabash. A much better listener and thinker. I have a lot more patience than I used to. I’ve become much less of a micromanager. I’m not saying, “Well, this is how I would do it. This is how I want you to do it.” It’s, “Let me know what your decision is and I’ll support you.” It’s rewarding people for good work and giving them opportunities to grow and develop.
Landon will have great instruction but there are going to be so many opportunities available to him, a whole new world opened up, whether it’s because of leadership positions, clubs, his fraternity, athletics, or immersion learning courses. That’s what I’m most excited about—all that’s waiting for him as these four years pass.
I’d always come to the football games. I wore my dad’s pot that he got when he was here and then I’d wear stripes. I’d run around the grassy area behind the stadium and eat snacks.
A big difference I have seen in myself since I began as a student at Wabash is I’ve been working harder and I’m standing up and doing whatever is best for me.
Dad graduated in ’96. He’s been working here since ’97.
It makes me proud how he loves this place and stuck by it so long. It makes me proud that he came here and he stayed here. He puts in a lot of effort and shows his love for Wabash in many ways.
Senior Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations
Self-confidence is one of the biggest areas of growth for me personally as Wabash staff. I have become more confident in public speaking, in leading events or projects, and simply approaching new people.
Kai has grown as a leader, accepting roles in his fraternity and other clubs. I have also seen him mature as a student. I see more focus. He understands what it takes to succeed in the classroom and he is putting more attention in that area.
My favorite memory of Wabash as a kid was after the 2009 Monon Bell Game. I was in the chapel with the other coaches’ families and watched the Monon Bell stroll in on top of the shoulders of Sphinx Club members. I instantly fell in love with everything Wabash.
My dad always brought me to alumni events, where I saw firsthand how Wabash builds character and sets up men for success after graduation. Whenever I get the chance to talk about Wabash’s alumni network, I can’t help but mention that my dad works in the alumni office and plays a role in that.