|by Jim Amidon • June 8, 2008|
The Fifth Annual Big Bash Reunion Weekend is now in the books, and by all accounts it was a huge success. Once again, Wabash hosted well more than 300 Wabash alumni and several hundred members of their families for a weekend that celebrates friendships, stories, and fond memories.
The Class of 1968 shattered the record for attendance at a Wabash alumni reunion weekend. Thanks to the hard work of Reunion Chairman Jim Millikin (pictured), 80 members of the Class of 1968 returned to their alma mater for Big Bash.
The weekend came to a conclusion at the Big Bash Awards Brunch, at which Alumni Director Tom Runge ’71 presented awards to Class Agents and Reunion Chairs.
"One of the real benefits of our job in Alumni Affairs is to be able to work with men of all ages who love Wabash and whose tireless efforts in many volunteer roles, demonstrate a love and appreciation that few other institutions ever garner," said Runge.
See photos of the award winners. Links to other photo albums can be found at the bottom of this story.
The 1928 Attendance Cup honors the class with the greatest number of alumni returning for Big Bash. The Class of 1968 won that award with 80 members of the class back for their 40th reunion, which battered the previous high water mark (pun intended) of 66, which was set by the Class of 1967 a year ago.
Winning the 1909 Trophy Cup — top honors for having the highest percentage of his class return for Big Bash was Millikin ’68. The 80 alumni who returned represented 42.7% percent of the class, which we believe is yet another Big Bash Record.
Saturday’s Chapel Sing competition is always a highlight of the weekend. Torrential rain forced the competition from the Chapel’s steps into the bleachers at Chadwick Court, but the spirit remained strong and vibrant. The Class of 1968 won the competition and the coveted Robinson-Ragan Award with the classes of 1978 and 1983 finishing second and third, respectively.
Millikin, along with Class Agent Jim Roper and reunion volunteer Bruce Gras, received the Dorman Hughes Award, which honors the reunion chairs or class agents who have worked the hardest to drive attendance and participation. The award is chosen by the Alumni and Parent Relations staff, and honors legendary Class Agent Dorman Hughes ’43.
One final award was presented at Sunday’s Awards Brunch. The Edmond O. Hovey Annual Giving Award was presented to the Class of 1963. The award is given to the class with the highest participation in the Annual Fund. The Class of 1963 had 51.5% percent of its alumni make a gift to the Annual Fund. The classes of 1958 and 1968 were close in second and third place at 49.2% and 47.6%, respectively. Receiving the award for the Class of 1963 on behalf of Bruce Polizotto, Alan Stanford, and Tom Billings was Larry Hutchison.
Alumni came from all parts of the country to join their classmates in song and story, remembering old professors, and rekindling old friendships. Coming the greatest distance was Scott Klika ’68, who came back to Crawfordsville from Bangkok, Thailand.
Jack Wyatt ’58 received the light-hearted award for having traveled the shortest distance to attend Big Bash — Wyatt lives about four blocks from campus.
A total of 318 alumni from 31 states and Puerto Rico signed the official Alumni Register.
Among the College’s Golden Little Giants, we were pleased to welcome back Dutch Freise ’48 and Rufus LaRue ’48, who returned to celebrate their 60th reunion.
"You have given so much to Wabash and Wabash is greater for your contributions," said President Pat White in his closing remarks. "You literally en-courage us. You give us the courage to educate men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely."
The Sixth Annual Big Bash Reunion is scheduled for June 5-7, 2009.
See class photographs.