I’ve frequently visited the Wabash campus over the years, usually for football games and homecoming festivities, however, this year I accompanied Dad to a “Big Bash” reunion, his 55th.
I know about the camaraderie that goes on in Crawfordsville, particularly from sitting in on a sing-along in the Pioneer Chapel during homecoming a couple of years ago. It reminded me of the beer putsch and Nazi rally scenes out of some movie. It was pretty cool though as guys of all ages reveled in the pride and spirit of the “Little Giants”.
The weather was gorgeous as we arrived early and strolled the campus before the others showed up. Larry and Leroy got there before too long and the four of us ventured to the Hays 104 auditorium for the first of a series of four colloquia sessions. This one featured FBI Special Agent Jim Doyle, class of ’89, who gave his talk about security investigations and privacy before and after 9-11. The gist of the talk boiled down to the balance between the need for information to ensure the safety of Americans, versus the right of privacy of United States citizens.
After the first talk, Larry and Leroy attended the sing in front of the Chapel while Dad and I visited the bookstore. We then grabbed a bite to eat before heading to the second colloquium of the day. This presentation was given by a familiar looking guy (I believe we shared a table at a previous Wabash event) who also worked for the government as a Foreign Service Officer. Steve Fox, class of ’69, discussed his experiences over his 35-year career, focusing primarily on the evacuation of Kurdish refugees from Iraq between the first and second gulf wars.
The third discussion was a younger trio of education majors, relating the positive and negative aspects of teaching school. This was very enlightening, and especially interested me being that my Mom was a school teacher. In fact, her first teaching assignment was right there in Crawfordsville back when Dad was finishing up 55 years ago. It turns out that one of the three guys, who was a football player at Wabash, continued on to Purdue for his Master’s degree, and now coaches and teaches at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. I lived in Coppell in the early 1990’s and remember when the school was built. The football field had Astroturf.
The final talk of the day was given by class of ’69 alumni Ken Crawford. Crawford pursued a military career after his College years and talked about his work in the search and recovery of missing servicemen from the second World War.
All of the talks were very interesting and worthwhile, however, the first one was my personal favorite by the end of the day.
As Dad opted to stay late and party with the boys, Larry, Leroy and I took the scenic route through rural Indiana on a splendid day to return home. After a pleasant visit with Larry and his wife at their home, Leroy gave me a lift back to the house.
The day went fast but was well spent.Steve D.