A Visit to California Alums to Tell Their Stories
Howard Hewitt, Denver, CO – Wabash College frequently gets advancement officers, college officials, and recruiters out to the far reaches of the U.S. But it is less frequent when a member of the Public Affairs staff can travel to California to collect stories.
Today begins a nearly two-week trip to California to interview nine different alums. On top of that, on a personal note, I’ve never been to California so this will be part blog about seeing Wabash men and part travelogue.
The old newspaper guy in me dies hard so I noticed I datelined this entry Denver. My connecting flight has been delayed two hours so I have a layover. That’s following a one-hour delay out of Indianapolis this (Tuesday) morning. That time proved to be positive though, because Stephen Pavy ’81 was waiting on the same flight.
Pavy was in for Big Bash Reunion Weekend and provided a great colloquium on wine and food pairings. And Stephen is on my visit list. I actually conclude my trip by visiting Pavy in his Sonoma County home June 16. So it was great opportunity to chat and talk wine!
Oh wine! That probably will sneak into this blog over the next few weeks as well – let’s call it a reoccurring theme!
The adventure begins with a drive into the Salinas Valley tomorrow (Wed.) morning. Salinas, as you may know, is known as the Salad Bowl of the U.S. for all the vegetables grown in the area. But it’s also a bit of a hot spot for Wabash College Graduates. More than a half-dozen graduates of Alisal High School have attended and graduated from Wabash College. I’ll be seeing Ernie Vela ’95, Hugo Mariscal ’98, and Anthony Avitia ’96.
Those three have returned to their hometown and teach in the same school system.
Friday will be a travel day and then Saturday I’ll visit with Dr. C.J. Ludlow ’62. Ludlow has led an interesting life. He earned a master's degree from Vanderbilt in botany then his doctorate at Berkley. He’s done many interesting things in his life and now owns a seed company near Salinas. But he lives up in Angels Camp, near Yosemite National Park. He’s also a collector of antique cars.
After Sunday off, I will start the following week by seeing two Wabash grads just outside San Francisco. Justin Castle ’97 works for Covad, the internet communications company, and Bronson Frick ’95 is the associate director of Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.
I’ll spend June 14 with Doug Sparks ’69 who has had a fascinating career in technology and now owns a small boutique winery which produces zinfandel wines.
On Thursday of that week I’ll see John Pence ’58. Pence owns the John Pence Gallery in downtown San Francisco. His gallery is the city’s largest and considered one of the leading galleries for American Realism in the country. He’s also actively involved in the community and serves as chairman of the board for the Point Foundation. The foundation provides college scholarships to gay and lesbian youths.
I wrap up the business part of the trip with Pavy in Sonoma on a Friday. Then I will take the weekend in Sonoma (on my own expense!) to visit wine country.
I’ll be blogging about the trip each day and hopefully writing a couple of other stories as well. But I’ll be writing profiles for Wabash Magazine and the web on each of these fascinating Wabash men. Much of that won’t appear until later in the fall.
So follow along, leave a comment – we’re California Dreamin.’