“To hear a story while surrounded by utter darkness, unable even to make out the face of the storyteller, is a spiritual act. You truly listen to every word spoken, every half-tone and pause in cadence and rhythm…”

Those lines from Sterling Carter ’07 are some of my favorites in this current issue of WM Winter 2011, an edition we called “Voices.”

Wabash is a jazz band of voices, and when I arrived here 16 years ago the instruments I heard and taped for those first issues were some of her finest—Professors Hall Peebles H’63, Bert Stern, Marc Hudson, Bill Placher ’70, Peter Frederick, Joe O’Rourke H’65, Raymond Williams H’68, Melissa Butler H’85; alumni like Dan Simmons ’70, John Bachman ’60, Tom Roberts ’70, Tim Padgett ’84, Sherm Franz ’59, and Dick Ristine ’41. I recorded them all and listened over and over as I transcribed the talks or interviews, savoring those voices the way one comes to learn a beautiful tune.

My friend and colleague Jim Amidon ’87 set the tone for this publication early in our work together when he urged me to “get as many voices as possible” into these pages. The themes we’ve tossed out over the years have been little more than ways to encourage the Wabash community to speak, whether we’re gathering the words ourselves or you’re writing them and sending them to us.

This issue is a celebration of those voices—students, alumni, professors, and staff members engaging the world and taking the time to tell us about it, sometimes in words, sometimes in pictures (for we’ve learned over the years that art can speak, even as words can sing).

Byron Trippet ’30 wrote, “If you listen, you will hear their songs and their cheers.” If you read these stories, you will hear the voices of the Wabash community.

That’s most true, I believe, in our excerpt from the late Bill Placher’s final book. Bill was, as Raymond Williams said, “our best word.” As you read this piece, you may hear his voice again.

I realize that you could say that there’s nothing new here—that every issue of Wabash Magazine is little more than a celebration of the voices of the Wabash community. That I would take as high praise. It’s the best we can do.

And sometimes hearing a voice is just enough.

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“What is Most Essential to Wabash?”

With the “Milestones” issue of Wabash Magazine off the press and on its way to the bindery and bound for mailboxes later this week, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite lines from this edition.

We’re blessed to have many contributors to this particular issue—a collaboration with Allen Clingler ’03 based on his suggestion that we ask alumni how they’ve marked their “milestone birthdays”—and in the reading, editing, copyediting, and proofing process I’ve enjoyed their responses many times over.

Then there are the interviews for the pieces I wrote myself—long and rich conversations with Phil Dewey about his art, teaching, and baseball; Joe Trumpey leading me through the solar-powered straw bale house he and his wife Shelley built in Michigan; Professors Dave Krohne, Larry Bennett, and Dave Maharry generously and thoughtfully reflecting on their careers at Wabash as they prepared for retirement last spring.

The words that keep coming back to me this morning are Professor of Biology Emeritus Dave Krohne’s response when I asked him, “What is most essential to Wabash College; what is the one thing that, no matter what our budget constraints, we can never lose?”

“A certain kind of student,” Dave says. “There’s a mythology about the Wabash student that turns out to have some truth: the kid who is inherently curious, who is bright enough, has the work ethic and the discipline and the willingness to be coached. Our success is derived from the history of having a bunch of students with those characteristics.

“Our programs and particular teachers are all important, but none of it works if you don’t have those guys. The day they go away, we’re done.”

Then there’s something completely different: Howard Hewitt’s story on Tim and Jane Talbott’s Grand Alpaca Ranch. Our one truly “bona fide” journalist in public affairs—having been a reporter and editor for more years than he has teeth—Howard can cover and write about anything. He good-naturedly took on our livestock beat after hitting it off with the Talbott’s at last summer’s Big Bash Reunion.

Howard finished the piece at a time of great personal loss, yet I’ve rarely seen a writer’s joy in his work and affection for his subject shine so brightly. And he gives us that rare gem for an alumni magazine—it’s funny! For instance:

Jane Talbott arranges the animals’ “dates” and the birthing.
“We call ourselves alpaca pimps,” she says, as Tim rolls his eyes.

Shift gears to this quote from Professor of Biology Eric Wetzel written as he was developing the College’s new global health initiative after spending his sabbatical semester visiting villages in Peru:

“How best should we lead the bright and full-of-potential young men who are our students into lives in which they learn to ‘act responsibly’ and ‘to live humanely’?

“I’m confident that having students wrestle with the big issues of global health is one of the ways we can do this. These issues require the input not only of biologists, but economists, political scientists, mathematicians, historians, ethicists, among others. Not only can this be a way for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to act and to live as individuals, but I believe that Wabash College as an institution can accomplish great things—in fact, merciful things.”

Dave Maharry, founder of the College’s computer science program, talking about promoting his computer science curriculum in those early days: “Back then you still had to explain to people that computer science wasn’t just typing—that underneath the logic and algorithms being developed were significant ideas, and that’s what we would be teaching.”

Assistant Professor of English Crystal Benedicks recalls her first foray into acting (her husband, Wabash Theater Professor Jim Cherry’s vocation) in Crawfordsville’s community theater last spring:

“Over the course of the production, I began to realize that theater is more than hammered-down hysteria. It isn’t just vanity. It’s a deeply generous act of literary criticism. In my real life, I write literary criticism and teach students how to do the same. We pull apart texts to demonstrate what it shows without meaning to. At times, it can feel like the literary equivalent of pointing out someone’s slip.

“Literary criticism through acting is different because you embody the words and characters. You become them and let them speak through you until you have truly heard—absorbed and repeated—what it is they have to say. It is literary intelligence on the level of muscle memory.”

Emory Simmons ’41, on continuing his research past his 90th birthday: “90 is just a number,” he says. “Why not?”

These lines from Bruce Lawrie’s poem about his father, the late John Lawrie, a professor of psychology at Wabash from 1964 to 1994:

My father

could do anything. I used to
love to watch him move with his
supple, big cat strength. Even
at rest he was something to see:
the picture of masculine ease
smoking a cig
sipping a Stroh’s—
Humphrey Bogart between takes.
I couldn’t get enough of him

In light of the past weekend’s tragic shootings in Arizona, this excerpt from Professor Scott Himsel’s Chapel Talk last fall:

“We have too many people who listen only to Glenn Beck and Fox News. We have too many people who listen only to Keith Olberman and MSNBC. We have too many people who listen to Sarah Palin. We have too many people who only listen to President Obama.”

“We have too many people who only want to listen to people with whom they already agree.

“Are we courageous enough to read before we criticize? Are we courageous enough to believe we might be wrong? You will never have more freedom of speech than you have right now. We need you right now.”

There are many more, and I’ll add them tomorrow and Thursday. Right now I’ve got a whole different set of not-so-finished lines in my head as I’m well into editing the next issue, which is due to the art director in less than three weeks.

But I wanted to stop for a moment and savor the good words of our contributors. In 16 years editing the magazine I’ve developed the masochistic tendency of rushing from one issue to the next, practically wincing at the new issue when it comes off the press for fear of the inevitable typo or the photo or painting that didn’t print the way I’d expected, despite our best efforts. It’s a bad habit that robs me of the pleasure of enjoying our contributors’ creativity, the generosity of those we interview, and the words written and spoken in a college community like no other. I’m blessed to be a part of it. And, even with the typos, so are you.

More tomorrow.

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Joe Day’s Book 20 Years in the Making

Reading of Thursday’s reception for Professor of Classics Joe Day to celebrate the publication of his book, Archaic Greek Epigram And Dedication (Cambridge University Press), took me back to my video interview earlier this semester with the 25-year Wabash veteran who last year won the College’ s top award for teaching.

Our conversation was a follow-up to his winning that honor, but I’d long wanted to better understand Joe’s scholarly work, so my questions quickly took us on some unexpected tangents.

And knowing the book was coming out soon, I asked him to describe it.

He smiled, playfully held up the hot-off-the-press first copy for the camera as if we were on a talk show, and said, “I’ve been working on this book for nearly 20 years.”

I write a lot about teaching on the Web site and in Wabash Magazine, but not as often as I should about the passionate scholarship/research that inspires so much of that teaching. Joe Day’s specialty sounds about as esoteric you can find: Greek epigrams (inscriptions) from the 5th and 6th centuries B.C.E. But listening to Joe explain what he studies and why he’s drawn to it, I realized it’s not the dry cataloging of ancient inscriptions I expected (sorry—I was an English major).

And though it requires of the scholar knowledge of that “catalog” of inscriptions, it’s as creative as theater and as driven by both facts and hypotheses as the sciences.

Joe is trying to imagine the lives of people dead for more than two thousand years. How these long dead responded to these inscriptions on stone.

“I make a living off of ghosts,” is one way Joe put it. “I deal with ghosts in practically everything I do.”

It’s not unlike the way his wife, Professor Leslie Day, has imagined the lives of the people of ancient Kavousi, Crete, through her archaeological digs and studies (her acclaimed book on that subject was published earlier this year.) Or Professor Jeremy Hartnett’s studies in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

But at least Leslie has artifacts and ruins to try to envision these scenes. Joe’s trying to get there using a few words on a rock.

And the book is groundbreaking, the publisher says, in the way it reconstructs not the inscriptions, but the encounters ancient peoples had with them.

Here’s how Joe explained it:

“I got interested in [these epigrams] because they cross disciplinary boundaries. They’re religious, because they are offerings made to gods; they’re poetic, because the inscriptions are in poetic meter, and they imitate the form of established poetic genres; they are physical objects of interest to art historians and archaeologists, because typically these inscriptions are on the base of some sort of cool object.

“For example,” he said, pointing to a photo of an ancient pillar on the cover of his new book. “That column is inscribed with three lines, and on top of it stood a little statue of Athena set up on the Acropolis in Athens just about 500 B.C., before the Persian invasion.”

He begins to talk of the ancient Greeks in the present tense, and suddenly puts me in the story: “You want to make a sacrifice to Athena, so you climb the Acropolis on the first of the month to make the “New Moon’ sacrifice. [Joe had already explained that we (the ancient Greeks) have four rites of religious expression: sacrifice, prayer, libation (pouring drinks), and putting up dedications, often with epigrams carved on them.] You make your sacrifice and look around at what else is here. You see what other people have dedicated to Athena or other gods, you read some of the inscriptions that line the walkways—they’d be on higher and higher pillars. You’re somewhat impressed by that, and if you read the inscription, you read it aloud.

“So when we make these inscriptions we’re talking to the gods—this is a form of communication between humans and gods. It’s also a form of communication between people, because others were meant to see these, too.

“What I’m doing is trying to figure out what happened when people came up to look at these things. How they responded.

“This allows me to get a lens into Ancient Greek culture that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. I’m doing types of work that are done by epigraphers, and art historians, and archeaologists, and scholars of literature. I’m bringing all that work together, and the unifying link is religion.”

Listening to Joe Day, it’s easy to understand how the Classics department has not only inspired so many majors over the years, but how they enrich the lives of their colleagues and so many other students  here—how they model the essential value of the Classics at a liberal arts college. This master teacher/scholar has been providing that richness to Wabash for 25 years. Consider dropping by on Thursday in the Detchon Reading Room at 4:15 to celebrate this book, and the nearly 20 years of scholarship and research that has informed and energized the teaching of thousands of Wabash men.

Contact Professor Day: dayj@wabash.edu

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“The Best of Both Worlds” Gets Better

We last caught up with Ben Kitterman ’06 in our 39 Under 39 issue of Wabash Magazine back in Spring 2009, when we learned that he’d spent much of his post-Wabash years driving buses for famous musicians on tour and playing dobro on some of their recordings. His father had introduced him to bus driving years earlier as the driver of rocker Neil Young’s tour bus.

“I feel the greatest peace driving the bus and playing dobro, so this is the best of both worlds,” he told us back then after being interviewed by the BBC’s Dermot O’Leary following a performance accompanying indie singer/songwriter Ben Kweller in London in December 2008.

For Ben Kitterman, the best keeps getting better.

He celebrated his 27th birthday this year on the road after having spent January and February driving for Motley Crue, March through April with Aaron Lewis of the band Staind, May driving for six-time Grammy-Award-winner John Legend, two weeks with business icon Ted Turner visiting several of his ranches, and the next four months driving Tom Petty.|

Ben Kitterman ’06 (right) plays dobro with Aaron Lewis during their recent tour. Photo by Christina San Miguel Hutson

“I dropped Tom off in Malibu and drove cross- country to Massachusetts to pick up Aaron Lewis,” Ben says. “I just wrapped up a month long solo tour playing and driving for him in support of his upcoming country release “Town Limits.”

“Country Boy,” the music video for the first single from that CD, debuted on Country Music Television yesterday and today sits at number one on CMT.com. ”Country Boy” features Aaron Lewis on guitar and vocals, Ben on dobro, Charlie Daniels on fiddle and vocals, and the legendary George Jones on vocals.

Ben’s first night playing dobro with Lewis came unexpectedly—while he was driving the bus for him on the singer/guitarist and Grammy-nominated songwriter’s solo tour last spring.

“We talked about dobro a few times on that tour, and two shows from the end at the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi, MS, he asked me to sit in with him,” Ben says. “I worked out the parts in my hotel room before sound check, and played that night.

“A video from that show that made its way to Aaron’s Web site later surfaced on YouTube and eventually into the hands of a producer in Nashville.  A few weeks later he flew me (off another tour!) to record with the legendary producer James Stroud (who has produced recordings for George Strait, Tim McGraw, Merle Haggard, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd, Hank Williams, Jr.)

“All of a sudden, I was out of the driver’s seat, standing in a studio with the top session players in town (Brent Mason on guitar, Eddie Bayers on drums.) HUGE players. Players I grew up listening to… Players whose licks I learned as a kid, and here I am standing with them in the same control room!”

Ben says the tour he and Lewis just wrapped up had many highlights.

“We played some great venues—historic Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, home of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys; The Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul—home of Prairie Home Companion; and a sold out a show at the Murat in Indianapolis.

“I was in Nashville Tuesday and Wednesday of this week finishing the last track [for the "Town Limits" CD], which includes a duet with my pedal steel hero (and arguably the finest pedal steel player in the world) Paul Franklin.  I can’t wait to hear the whole album.”

In that BBC interview back in 2008, Dermot O’Leary told Ben he should give up driving, “or at least play guitar full time.” But Kitterman likes the balance that doing both brings to his life and finances.

“As a driver, I always know where my next gig is going to be. As a full-time musician, I know that would not always be the case.”

Watch a video of a recent performance of Aaron Lewis and Ben at the Chicago House of Blues here.

Read “Alchemist,” our short piece about Ben published in WM Spring 09.

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“Hello? Yes, I’d Like to Send a Fax”

I’m getting a little tired of retirement receptions.

It’s not the gatherings themselves, or the food, which is delicious, or the speeches honoring the people, who certainly deserve these celebrations and more. It’s the saying goodbye I don’t like. And the aftermath—empty spaces where friends once worked. Quiet where computers once clacked or radios played and conversations popped up and laughter carried up the stairs.

I don’t like goodbyes. I’m not good at them. But we’ve had seven of them already this semester and we’re just getting started.

So I wasn’t much looking forward to Carolyn Harshbarger’s reception last week in the Caleb Mills House.

Then she started telling stories.

About her first day at Wabash 26 years ago, after running “a one-gal office at a local pole barn building establishment,” when then-Director of Development Dick Ristine ’41 met her at the top of the stairs and said in his powerful baritone, “I am glad you’re here—here is where your coat goes, and I have these tapes for you [to transcribe].” Right to work—a foreshadowing of Carolyn’s workload for the next 26 years (actually, considering that one December spent processing annual fund and campaign pledges equal a full year’s work, that should be 36 years.)

We found out Carolyn was pretty self-conscious in those days.

“I find the Dictaphone, load the tape, put the headphones on, and start typing,” she recalled. “Once I need to rewind the tape, so I take my headphones off and notice that Kane House is suddenly extremely quiet. I’m thinking, Oh no, they are all listening to me type!

She mentioned that she’d had 14 bosses signing her paycheck over the two-and-a-half decades, adding that “anyone who has made a donation to the College over the past 26 years should also be counted as a ‘boss.’”

But my favorite story concerned her legendary mastery of the Hays Alumni Center fax machine.

It was back when many of us had yet to figure the thing out. Her co-worker Michele Tatar was trying to send a fax and was struggling with the machine. Carolyn came to her rescue, even though she’d never sent a fax herself. How hard could it be, Carolyn thought.

So Michele explained the steps, Carolyn dialed the number as instructed—simple enough—but they were surprised to hear a voice coming from the machine.

“Hello?” Carolyn yelled into the paper feeder of the fax machine like it was a telephone receiver. “Hello? Yes, I would like to send a fax.”

The machine didn’t seem to be listening.

“Oh crap—another crank call,” the voice from one-way speaker on the machine said before it went silent. Carolyn and Michele ran away, laughing, to get help.

“You didn’t really speak into the machine, did you?” my colleague Karen Handley had asked Carolyn when they arrived at her door. But she had.

For years after that, whenever we got a new office machine in Hays or Kane and Carolyn was around, someone would bring up that story. Invariably, someone would approach the new machine and speak into it.

“Hello? Yes, I’d like to send a fax.”

“Hello? Yes, I’d like to make a copy.”

“Hello? Yes, I’d like to shred a document.”

At her reception last week, Carolyn didn’t mention the millions of dollars of gifts she’s processed to keep this place running (although Dean Joe Emmick did—more than 75,000 pledges and over 100 million dollars worth!) or even the hours of overtime she worked every December. She’s had some of the best ideas about how to get things done around here, but she’s always tried to keep a low profile about most everything except NASCAR drivers.

And she’s loathe to speak in public. She’s had to sit through 26 years of speeches, presentations, and reports during her Wabash career, but I can’t recall hearing her speak to a group before (not counting the fax machine.)

We should have gotten her up front years ago—she was wonderful. She told stories on herself—stories many of us had been at least a tangential part of—and the room was cracking up. For a while, we could forget about the fact she was leaving and just celebrate the time she’d been with us, the work we’d done together, the good we had accomplished, and the mistakes we had made yet lived to tell the tales.

As I stood there laughing in a roomful of people I’ve been lucky to work with for 15 years, it didn’t feel like a job, but a community, and, for a moment, almost like family. That’s what stories can do.

So here’s my request for those whose retirements we have yet to celebrate: Please—tell us your stories. They take us back in time. They bring to mind friends we’ve lost, the history we share, and remind us that we’re all part of this story bigger than ourselves.

Thanks, Carolyn, for taking a chance, toughing it out, and making a great “speech.” And for putting up with a lot over 26 years and doing so much to keep this place alive. Your absence in Kane House is palpable. We miss your determination to get things right almost as much as we miss your sense of humor. The “pit” will never be the same.

Of course, when things get tough here in December and folks are trying to keep up with the pledges or battling the latest technological glitch, we’ll always have your immortal words to inspire us—words worthy of a place in the hallowed halls of Wabash lore and that, I promise, we’ll never forget:

“Hello? Hello? Yes, I’d like to send a fax.”

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Shelly and Joe Trumpey ’88: Off the Grid

I slept last night “off-the-grid” in a solar-powered home—the straw bale house Shelly and Joe Trumpey ’88 and are building near Ann Arbor, Michigan. We had all the water and electricity we needed and more, the place was as comfortable, if far more interesting, than any other not-quite-finished house I’ve stayed in. And other than the stories behind each adobe wall plastered, each beam cut, milled, and placed, each stone they’ve laid in it, and the sweat (and occasionally, blood) poured into it, it wasn’t much different than spending the night anyplace else.

It didn’t really hit me until a few hours after I left.

I stopped at a K-Mart near Jackson to pick up some Diet Pepsi. I was only 25 miles down the road from the Trumpey’s place, but it seemed a world away. My world.

Five us in line at the only cash register open buying mostly stuff that will be in the landfill in a month, much of it on sale (which is why two of the folks in line have whole carts full of God knows what from God knows where). The woman in front of me is carrying a big box with a plastic “Swan Princess” castle she found on sale for $29.99—says she didn’t know what her granddaughter wanted but thought this would do, and the party’s today. I’ve got my aspartame-sweetened Pepsi and some socks made in Pakistan (having soaked both pairs I’d brought to the Trumpey’s place during the photoshoot).

The overworked woman behind the register is polite enough—nearing the end of a 12-hour shift, she tells a co-worker, with only one five-minute break. She completes our transaction with barely a word—the debit/credit card machine gives the instructions, her presence hardly necessary. She talks through us to her co-worker. We walk past them, almost through them, with little or no acknowledgement.

As I walk out I look back at the line, even longer now, with more somber faces, no one talking to each other except the requisite woman wailing at her kid. Then I walk back to my room to write a blog entry about two people who have put their vision for a better world and their philosophy for a better way of living into practice in the form of a home they’ve built with their own hands and hearts.

Hence the cognitive dissonance.

Now at the curmudgeonly age of 54, sometimes I look around at the world I’ve helped usher in and I despair for my children and grandchildren. The consumerism, the “brands” and their false promises of satisfaction and identity, the free market without a conscience. Our price-driven lives come at a terrible cost. The digital age offers terabytes of information but little wisdom.

Sometimes it feels as though we just go along because we can’t find—or can’t summon the courage to find—another way.

Shelly and Joe have. And although during my stay I didn’t once hear them whine about the state of the world (as I’m doing here), they’re doing things to help heal it. Their lifestyle—their efforts to grow most of their own food, buy local, reduce their carbon footprint, take risks to live as they think wisest for themselves and the planet, and their decision to live off the electrical grid while being as invested and perhaps more engaged with their community than ever—are the antithesis of what I experienced and inflicted on others in that K-Mart line.

The ways they come at this are too numerous to describe here. We’ll have more in the piece we’re publishing in the Fall 2010 issue of Wabash Magazine. But the house itself serves as a pretty good metaphor for the wonderfully creative (though admittedly exhausting) way these artists—one a third-grade teacher, the other a professor at nearby University of Michigan—have chosen to live their lives and raise their daughters Autumn and Evelyn. I’ve posted an album of photos from my shoot here, along with captions explaining a few of the features of the house.

I spent last night in the guest room (which was until very recently Shelly and Joe’ s bedroom, family room, office, etc.), having been warned ahead of time of the house’s unfinished state and that the guest room was dusty and cluttered.

And it was, and wonderfully so. Making something that really matters can get messy. And Joe and Shelly had never seen my office at Wabash, so had no idea that a cluttered but well-lived in room would make me feel right at home.

One of their collies bounced up on the bed after midnight and slept at my feet. Even more like home.

I slept off the grid last night, but it felt much like any other. Until I started thinking back on it. And on something Joe said as I was leaving. I’d congratulated him on how far he and Shelly had come in building the house, how I thought Wabash would be proud of him. “We’re pretty proud of it ourselves,” Joe admitted. “But you know, that’s the great thing about being an artist—you get to make things.”

Read more and see more photos here.

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President White on Leadership/”Our Mutual Life”

One of my favorite moments in the magazine gathering process comes when I meet with President Pat White to discuss his From Center Hall essay for each issue of WM. In addition to being president and a professor, Pat’s a writer. And when you give a writer a theme or a word, you never know where you’ll end up.

But it’s always an interesting journey.

Witness our most recent.

I told Pat the theme we were considering was “Our Mutual Life.” I referenced the William Stafford poem—"A Ritual to Read to Each Other"— that inspired the theme. Pat thought about it for a while, asked a question or two. Then he said, “When I hear this, it makes me think of leadership. And it’s significant that the line isn’t “our mutual lives,” but ‘our mutual life.’ The life we share.

“That life is what good leaders help us to see.”

In his From Center Hall essay he refines the thought:

“During the many years I taught leadership workshops, most of my students came in thinking that leadership was either a character trait that they did not have, or a skill that they had to learn. Certain traits can be advantageous to leadership development, and there are skills that enhance one’s ability to lead, but these are not leadership. The essence of leadership is an act of imagination—discovering the interlocking web of connections, discovering the fact that, whether we like it or not, our life is already mutual. It is only then that leadership is possible.

“Our mutual life is not something we create, not something that is handed down from our leaders, but something that good leaders empower people to see. To say that we need to create community is like living in the Amazon and saying we need to create the forest. As leaders we need to help people see the forest in the trees and to give them time, energy, and the way to know that forest—our mutual life.”

It was eye-opening to read those words from the man who has led the College through some of the most difficult times Wabash and the country have encountered.

Revealing, too, that the words “our mutual life” inspired him to think so quickly about leadership. It’s certainly not what came first to my mind, which is just one of a million reasons I’m not the president.

But it also got me thinking about the prompts we give for writing. Asking Pat to think about “our mutual life” was an interesting (if unintentional) way to get to the subject of leadership. I think we have a more thoughtful, creative, and compelling piece than if I’d asked, “Please write for us about leadership.”

But I have yet to pitch a theme to this president/professor/writer that hasn’t come back to me in ways I hadn’t considered, ways I learned from. This From Center Hall is one of my favorite examples. You can read it here.

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