There's nothing better than an ice cream social to end a week of intense Freshman Orientation. President and Mrs. White hosted the men of 2015 Wednesday night.
Normally the social is held at the President's home, Elston Homestead, on Pike Street. Wednesday's ice cream social was moved to Detchon Hall due to the threat of heavy showers.
Freshman Community Service
Wabash’s newest students spread across the area Monday to perform community service. The young men worked at 19 different locations around Montgomery County.
“I don’t know how many other colleges have a program that is mandatory that you have to go out into the community,” said Bailey Combs ’15,Crawfordsville. “I think sometimes some colleges don’t care that much. We’re doing it here because we want to be better people.”
The Wabash men cleaned out the Vanity Theatre, did set up work for the Taste of Montgomery County, painted a trail bridge for Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation, and even bathed and walked dogs at the Animal Welfare League.
Other projects included work at Ability Services Inc., Home of Friendless Animals, Old Jail Museum, Wabash Community Garden, Town of Ladoga, General Lew Wallace Study, Montgomery County Youth Services Bureau. Boys & Girls Club, Family Crisis Shelter, Whitlock House, the FISH program at Wabash Ave. Presbyterian Church, Guiding Light – First Baptist Church, Williamsburg Home, Ben Hur Home, and First United Methodist Church.
"For the Lew Wallace Museum to have the freshmen from Wabash is incredibly important for us to put this event (Taste) together,” said Larry Paarlberg, Museum Director, Lew Wallace Study & Museum. “They're helping us with so much of the manual labor and putting some of their technical skills to work to help us put on an event that brings in 2500 people and helps benefit the museum. Without their willingness, strong backs, and quick minds it would be really hard for us to pull this together each year, so it's a huge help to us."
President White Rings in 295 Freshmen
The Pioneer Chapel was filled to capacity Saturday when Wabash College President Patrick White warmly welcomed 295 new students in the Class of 2015. The President kept with long-standing tradition by using the same bell Caleb Mills used to call the very first Wabash men to class.
Asking the freshmen to stand in the Chapel balcony, President White said, “If you are ready to take up this challenge, to take on the responsibility embedded in your dreams, to take on the care for your own lives and that of your brothers and all the men and women of Wabash, to set as your goal the wise, virtuous, and generous life embodied in the Gentleman’s Rule and the Wabash mission… stand with pride so that I might continue the tradition that harks back to the first professor of Wabash College, Caleb Mills, and using his bell, ring you into the Company of Wabash Men.”
It was a festive Saturday on the Wabash campus when the freshmen began to arrive for registration at the Allen Center. The Admissions counselors who had recruited the young men from 23 states and five foreign countries were there to welcome them and get them started on their journey as Wabash men.
At the Ringing In Ceremony, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Steve Klein continued his own tradition of anonymously introducing members of the Class of 2015 by their accomplishments from — profound to quirky. Among the freshmen are a four-time cancer survivor, a national champion weightlifter, a novelist with two 50,000-word books to his credit, a professional cellist, a horse trainer, a bee keeper, a cartoonist, a sailboat builder, a mountain climber, and a Civil War re-enactor.
“You are a talented, enterprising, creative, brave, and caring class,” said Dean Klein. “Your community service commitments total thousands of hours… You have enriched the lives of disadvantaged children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor. You have coached, mentored, and tutored youth and adults in inspiring ways. Many of you have traveled thousands of miles from home to help the less fortunate, in the US and overseas through mission work. Beyond our borders, your humanitarian efforts have taken you to Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Australia.”
The class includes 54 men who were officers in student government, 37 who served as delegates to Boys State, 41 who were actors in high school and community theaters, and 18 Eagle Scouts.
Fifty-one members of the Class of 2015 are related to other Wabash men, including 17 men whose fathers attended Wabash and another 23 who have brothers who are either attending Wabash or have graduated from the College. “As strong as family ties can be, I know all of you had options,” Dean Klein said. “You will undoubtedly define Wabash College on your own terms as you further a family tradition.”
President White, too, acknowledged the students’ families. As the students’ mothers wiped away tears of joy and pride, the President said, “Remember, too, and I mean this with all my heart, you have not lost a son, you have gained a college. You have gained a very great college.”
The President also encouraged the students to share their experiences with their families. “Let them know what you are learning, how you are changing, and let them be a good part of your experience here. They will want to be a part of this adventure with you.”
Greg Castanias, President of the National Association of Wabash Men and a 1987 graduate, provided the official welcome from the College’s 13,000-member alumni body.
“This is a small college; you already knew that,” said Castanias, who is a partner at the Washington, D.C law firm Jones Day. “But let me put those numbers in some perspective. As we sit here, Indiana University’s Bloomington campus is preparing to welcome approximately 7,500 freshmen. That campus itself presently holds over 32,000 undergraduates (and another 10,000 or so graduate students). In other words, there are more undergraduates at IU right now than there have been Wabash men. Ever. You are an elite bunch, and you always will be. Remember that as you go through your four years here, and your life after Wabash.”
Castanias focused his remarks on Wabash’s traditions — some of its oldest and some that have come and gone since the College’s founding in 1832.
“Today, you embark on what I am confident will be an amazing journey, at a College with a rich history and a vibrant culture,” Castanias said. “Today, you start the process of figuring out where you fit in to the story of Wabash College, and how you are going to carry on its traditions, alter its traditions, or create new traditions… The road before you is open wide with options and opportunities. Wabash, and her alumni, will be with you all the way, just as they have been with me — and generations of men before me.”
An overflow crowd packed into Baxter Hall to watch the ceremony on a large video screen. Watch the ceremony below. Video courtesy of IT Services and the Wabash College Media Center.