The 219 freshmen who participated in Wabash College’s annual Ringing In ceremony embark on the next four years of their lives with unique challenges behind them, but no shortage of opportunities ahead.
“Your high school experience was significantly shaped by this coronavirus, and as your college career begins, the virus and its variants continue to impact our community,” Dean of Students Greg Redding ’88 said. “But the Wabash culture is one that meets challenges such as this head-on, for we know that every challenge presents opportunities — opportunities for personal growth, for discovering new ways of doing things, and for honing in on what is truly important in our lives.”
Wabash President Scott Feller urged the class to “not let COVID or the pandemic be the story of your time at Wabash.”
“Focus on building lifelong relationships with roommates, fraternity brothers, and teammates,” he said. “Make your Wabash journey enriching, engaging, and intellectually challenging in life-changing ways.”
Using the hand bell that once belonged to Wabash’s first educator, Caleb Mills, Wabash President Feller rang in the class of 2025 — the same bell that will toll when the class graduates in four years.
The potential of the Class of 2025 is evident in its diversity and accolades. The class includes students from 17 states and seven countries. Among their peers are 43 legacies and 58 first-generation college students. Nine were valedictorians of their high school class, while 14 were Eagle Scouts. The average GPA of the class is 3.85. Stories from Dean for Enrollment Chip Timmons ’96 show bravery and empathy. One student defeated brain cancer and another organized a shoe drive.
The varied backgrounds that comprise Wabash’s incoming class continue a long tradition of bringing together the best from around the world to join one family.
“You young men about to be rung in did more than choose a college. You chose to join a family,” Timmons said. “Family is forever. Wabash is forever.”
The students’ mission to meet their new brothers began in earnest Saturday afternoon.
“The people that surround you today will change your life. You will meet life-long friends and engage with faculty and staff that will guide, teach, and mentor you far longer than the four years you are on campus,” said Matthew Kip Chase ‘03, President of the National Association of Wabash Men.
He challenged the members of the incoming class to embrace their calling as Wabash men.
“Ensure your friends reflect the diversity I assure you will enrich your lives on this campus and after you leave it,” he said. “Embrace the point that this college will raise the bar of expectations for you, and therefore so should you of yourselves and each other.”
Connor Thompson ’25 appreciated the opportunity to start his time at Wabash with a tradition that brought with it a sense of normalcy and a hope for what is to come.
“With everything that everyone has gone through in the past year, being able to come together and still make it happen is a really special thing,” he said. “It’s great to kickstart the whole class in the right direction and set us up for success.”