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The first rite of passage for every new Wabash man took place Saturday as Wabash College held its annual “Ringing In” ceremony in Pioneer Chapel.
Wabash welcomed 235 young men from the Class of 2023 as they sat in the Chapel balcony. President Gregory D. Hess challenged them to live up to the high expectations set by the College’s motto: “Scientia et Virtuti.”
“Knowledge and Virtue,” Hess said, “or, in Wabash shorthand, know-how and guts.”
“You’ve chosen an educational path that will prepare you for the 10 or more careers you will have over your lifetime,” Hess said. “That being said, the moral bedrock of our challenge is not just to be financially successful men; it is to be good men, better men, men who want the best for themselves and others.”
“Our Wabash education centers on the fundamental question: ‘What kind of man do you want to be?’” Your journey to answer that question begins now, this very moment.”
Using the hand bell that once belonged to Wabash’s first educator, Caleb Mills, Hess rang in the class of 2023, with the reminder that the next time they hear that same bell will be at their commencement.
Dean for Enrollment Chip Timmons ’96 revealed a few telling statistics about the Class of 2023: the class hails from eight countries and 14 states, and features 48 legacies, five valedictorians and 16 students who earned a perfect score on a section of the ACT or SAT.
The freshman class includes six Eagle Scouts, a Taekwondo national champion, a member of a national runner-up rugby team and a two-time cancer survivor.
But what most stands out about this class are not their awards or accomplishments, Timmons said, “but instead the words your teachers, counselors, coaches and mentors used to describe you: legend, hero, leader, servant, role model, inspiration.”
Marc Nichols ’92, president of the National Association of Wabash Men, welcomed the students and their families to the Wabash community and challenged students to spend their next four years becoming men. Nichols is general counsel for Saab NA in Syracuse, New York.
“Being a man will not be about the bravado or machismo of your maleness, but of learning to be a good and engaged global, national, and local citizen, and a good friend; of developing into a caring and generous spouse, and a kind and loving father; of learning how to be a gentle and understanding boss, and a nurturing and reliable presence for those will come to rely upon your actions and your words.”
“This is what true manhood is,” Nichols said. “And what you will learn at this college.”
And when times get tough? “No one gets to this place or out of it without a lot of help,” Nichols said. “Let us help.”
Dean of Students Greg Redding ’88 offered an earnest welcome and a reminder to each student that it is now their turn to shoulder the load.
“Wabash is a great college today because our predecessors had the highest expectations, and each successive generation of Wabash students, faculty, staff and alumni have worked to make the college even better,” Redding said.
“This is now your task. I challenge you to demand excellence from your classmates, your teachers, and most of all from yourself. If you choose to seize them, you will have innumerable opportunities for growth, both in and out of the classroom.”