Retiring Professor of English Tom Campbell scanned 150 years of College history and his 35 years during Thursday morning’s Chapel Talk.
He titled his talk “Apostrophe” by defining its various meanings, usage, and returning to the punctuation mark near the end of his talk.
“Such an ambiguous title gives me the chance to ramble a bit,” he told the students, faculty, and staff gathered.
The linguistics specialist, who retires at the end of the school year, noted he has had approximately 1,000 students in his classes, but lamented the probably death of a class like linguistics. He justified the mourning of its passing though by listing other classes which have gone by the way side during the past 150 years.
He also pointed out to the students the odd connections that happen to everyone at Wabash. Campbell learned his great-great-grandfather Thomas McDonald Patterson was a student at Wabash in 1865. Patterson later became the first appointed Senator from Colorado.
He learned shortly after meeting his soon-to-be wife that her father was a Wabash graduate, arriving in Crawfordsville in 1922. Alex Goldberg was an accomplished Bachelor editor. He came into Wabash with 257 other young men but only 62 graduated four years later.
Campbell had a nephew enroll in 2002. The English professor noted the curriculum was very similar then and not that much different from what he found his first year at the College in 1976.
He talked about the joys of pleasure reading and how he has always asked his students what they might have recently enjoyed that wasn’t assigned.
And he did have fun and a little instruction perhaps on the use of apostrophes. “How many of you feel comfortable with the differences between it’s and its,” he asked with a familiar wry smile.
He thanked teachers, colleagues and above all his students for his 35 years at Wabash. “I would have never stayed at this College without your thirst for knowledge,” he said while peering into the first few rows of students.