Spring Cleaning

Jim Amidon — The phone rang last Friday morning and in my haste to answer it, I knocked over a freshly filled cup of coffee. The resulting splash covered my entire desk, my shirt, and my pants. The phone got a good dousing, too

Because I was on the phone with Wabash President Pat White’s assistant, Carolyn Goff, I couldn’t exactly express the frustration I felt. Just as well, though — screaming wouldn’t have salvaged the now-soggy documents, books, and assorted materials that are stacked 10 inches high across my messy desk.

As I began to mop up, I realized it was time for a good spring-cleaning of my office at Wabash College. The office tends to be a depository of, well, everything — from boxes of DVDs to recruiting materials to CDs loaded with tens of thousands of digital photographs.

While in that spring-cleaning mindset, it occurred to me that I had gathered a number of newsworthy tidbits — not really enough to fill a full column, but good stuff nonetheless. I’ll roll a few of them out under the title “Did you know?”

Did you know that Steve Charles, the talented editor of Wabash Magazine and the College’s director of publications, was recently honored with an Addy Award? The regional award was presented in Lafayette last month and honored the magazine’s stunning graphics and design.

Did you know that Center Hall, the oldest, regularly used classroom building at Wabash, turned 150 years old a couple of weeks ago? College Archivist Beth Swift did the homework on this, and scoured the archives for any references she could find to the building’s age. When her research was complete, she discovered the first official meeting ever held in Center Hall occurred on April 11, 1857.

(If you wonder what kind of shape the building is in, stroll through Center Hall and walk the staircases that have been worn down by millions of steps taken by Wabash men and their teachers for 150 years; it will take you back in time.)

Did you know that this is the final week of classes at Wabash? Final examinations begin a week from today and graduation is again on Mother’s Day, May 13.

Did you know that award-winning Theater Professor Jim Fisher is leaving Wabash after 28 years of teaching, directing, and acting at Wabash? Later this summer, Jim will become the chair of the theater department at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Not only has Jim consistently been one of the College’s most productive scholars, he has a rare and wonderful ability to bring out the creative best in Wabash men, which has been evidenced time and time again when he has directed plays at Wabash. He will be missed.

In light of the horrendous tragedy at Virginia Tech a week ago, did you know that Wabash has a Safety Committee that meets monthly to review the College’s emergency preparedness and safety protocols? Led by chairs Julie Olsen and Bobby Horton, the committee deals with everything from radiation safety in our science labs to how to respond to natural disasters. The committee recently launched an auto-dialing system that can almost instantly contact every student at Wabash — on his cell phone — in the event of an emergency. Hat’s off to Brad Weaver and the IT Services group for putting this amazing system in place.

Did you know that Wabash’s Admissions Office received an all-time record 1,436 applications for admission this year? Dean Steve Klein and his staff have consistently raised the bar in terms of their ability to engage talented young men in conversation about the true benefits of a Wabash education.

Did you know that Wabash’s baseball team beat the College of Wooster last weekend? It’s a big deal because Wooster came into the game undefeated and ranked first in the nation. Sophomore Joey Niezer pitched a complete game in the 4-3 win, and was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.

Did you know that 18 of the 21 men inducted into the Wabash chapter of Phi Beta Kappa this year hail from Indiana? Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest honorary fraternity and membership is offered only to the very top students in the College’s graduating class. This year’s inductees include men from tiny Indiana towns like Ladoga, Cicero, Ossian, and Clinton!

Finally, did you know that coffee stains are almost always permanent when the liquid life is left to dry on snazzy dress shirts and pants?

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One Response to Spring Cleaning

  1. J B Bachman says:

    Jim: I’m glad you spilled your coffee. It obviously brought out the best of your writing talents!!!
    J B