Wabash College

Wabash College
Latin: Collegii Wabashensis
Motto Scientiae et Virtuti (Latin)
Motto in English
For Knowledge and Virtue
Type Private liberal arts college
Men's college
Established November 21, 1832
Endowment $ 311 million[1]
President Gregory Hess
Academic staff
Undergraduates 910
Location Crawfordsville, Indiana, USA
40°2′17″N 86°54′18″W / 40.03806°N 86.90500°W / 40.03806; -86.90500Coordinates: 40°2′17″N 86°54′18″W / 40.03806°N 86.90500°W / 40.03806; -86.90500
Campus Suburban, 60 acres (24 ha)
Newspaper The Bachelor
Colors Scarlet     
Athletics NCAA Division IIINCAC
Sports 10 varsity teams
Nickname Little Giants
Mascot Wally Wabash
Website wabash.edu

Wabash College is a small, private, liberal arts college for men, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States. Founded in 1832 by several Dartmouth College graduates and Midwestern leaders, Wabash is ranked in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report.[3] The trustees have consistently rejected calls to institute coeducation, leaving Wabash one of the country's three remaining male-only liberal arts colleges.


The college was initially named "The Wabash Teachers Seminary and Manual Labor College", a name shortened to its current form by 1851. Many of the founders were Presbyterian ministers, yet nevertheless believed that Wabash should be independent and non-sectarian. Patterning it after the liberal arts colleges of New England, they resolved "that the institution be at first a classical and English high school, rising into a college as soon as the wants of the country demand."

Caleb Mills

Among these ministers was Caleb Mills, who became Wabash College's first faculty member. Dedicated to education in the then-primitive Mississippi Valley area, he would come to be known as the father of the Indiana public education system.

Elihu Baldwin, the first president of the college, served from 1835 until 1840. He came from a church in New York City and accepted the presidency even though he knew that Wabash was at that time threatened with bankruptcy. After his death, he was succeeded by Charles White, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the brother-in-law of Edmund O. Hovey, a professor at the college.[4]

Joseph F. Tuttle, who became president of Wabash College in 1862 and served for 30 years, worked with his administrators to improve town-gown relations in Crawfordsville.[5] Gronert described him "an eloquent preacher, a sound administrator and an astute handler of public relations." He is the namesake of Tuttle Grade School in Crawfordsville (1906) and Tuttle Junior High School, now Tuttle Middle School (1960).

President Hess

Gregory D. Hess became the 16th President of Wabash College July 1, 2013. Prior to coming to Wabash, Dr. Hess had been Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Claremont McKenna College at Claremont, California.

During World War II, Wabash College was one of 131 colleges and universities[6] offered students a path to a Navy commission as part of the V-12 Navy College Training Program.[7]

In the early 1900s, the College closed its "Preparatory School", which prepared incoming students from less-rigorous rural high schools that lacked the courses required for entrance to the College.[8]

In 1996, Wabash became the first college in America to stage Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[9]



Wabash College's curriculum is divided into three: Division I, Division II, and Division III representing the natural sciences, humanities and arts, and social sciences respectively. Wabash offers 24 major programs and several additional minors.

Comprehensive Exams

Seniors at Wabash College take a comprehensive exam in their major subject. Over three days, there are two days of written exams and one day of oral exams. The two days of written exams differ by major, but the oral exams are relatively uniform. A senior meets with three professors, one from his major, another from his minor and a third professor who represents the rest of his academic career, and can be from any discipline. Over the course of an hour a senior answers questions from the professors which can relate to anything during his studies at Wabash. A senior must pass the examinations in order to be eligible for a degree.

Student life

Student culture and traditions

Rhyneship was a freshman orientation program that took first semester freshmen, "rhynes" and acculturated them to Wabash. While some aspects of rhyneship were less visible, the most visible was the wearing of the "rhynie pot", a green hat with a red bill. When approaching a member of the faculty or Senior Council, the freshman would dip his pot as a sign of respect. This tradition is carried on by the pledges of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Rhyneship is continued through the Sphinx Club, a secret society made up of campus leaders, which aims to unite the campus, honor traditions, and create an atmosphere of support and prestige. Sphinx Club members don white "pots" to distinguish themselves on campus.

Student government

The student government, referred to collectively as the Student Body of Wabash College, comprises executive and legislative branches. The executive authority of the student body is vested in a president and vice president, who chair the Senior Council and Student Senate, respectively. They are ex officio, non-voting members of the body that they do not chair. The president has broad powers of appointment over all Senate standing committees. The vice-president possesses a tie-breaking vote in the Student Senate.

The Student Senate of Wabash College is the legislative authority, consisting of senators from each residence hall and fraternity, four representatives from each of the three underclasses, and the chairmen of the Senate's standing committees. The body of approximately 32 voting members manages an annual budget of over $400,000, allocating funds and setting guidelines for recognized associations. The Senate also serves as a general student forum.

The Senior Council of Wabash College is a special quasi-legislative body comprising the presidents of certain student organizations and self-selected at-large councilmen. The Senior Council is responsible for representing student concerns to the faculty and administration, as well as fostering campus unity and maintaining proper regard for college traditions.

The Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) is a body composed of representatives of each of the college's fraternities. It helps to organize recruitment activities, all-campus entertainment, and honors the chapters with the best Grade Point Average and Intramural Athletics record.

Student organizations

Student organizations at Wabash receive funding and recognition from the Student Senate. This funding in turn comes from a student activities fee, which every attendee of the college must pay each semester. The student paper of Wabash College is The Bachelor and has been publishing since the early 1900s.


The first fraternity appeared at Wabash in 1846 and has been on campus continuously since. It was quickly followed by others. Many of the traditions of the college were begun and are maintained by the fraternities, both individually and collectively. On average, 50-60% of students belong to one of the campus's nine national fraternities.[10] Unlike most other colleges and universities, Wabash fraternity members — including pledges — live in the fraternity houses by default. While most Wabash fraternities allow juniors and seniors to live outside the house, most Greek students live in their respective house all four years. This has led to the odd circumstance of a college with fewer than 1,000 students dotted with Greek houses of a size appropriate to campuses ten times Wabash's size. The fraternity chapters range in size from about 40 to 70 members each.

The college and the fraternity system have created a somewhat symbiotic relationship that differs from most other colleges and universities. The college believes that the system largely accomplishes the task of quickly involving new students in the life of the college while also providing leadership opportunities for a larger number of students. All fraternity houses on campus, except one, are owned by the college. In 2009 the college and the fraternity's alumni associations completed a 10-year effort to rebuild or renovate the chapter houses. At the same time, the college realized that fraternity life is not right for each student. The re-building project also renovated most of the campus dormitories.

Active fraternities


As of March 31, 2014, the value of Wabash's endowment was approximately $345 million, which places Wabash among the richest colleges in the nation in per-student endowment. The endowment was created primarily over the past 70 years using major campaigns and estate planning with alumni. Major donors include the pharmaceutical industrialist Eli Lilly, the company his grandfather founded, his heirs, and the Lilly Endowment. The school's library is named after him as are a number of premier scholarships. During the most recent capital campaign, "Challenge of Excellence", between fall 2010 and 1 October 2012, the college raised $68.1 million, exceeding the original goal of $60 million.[11]


Main article: Wabash Little Giants

The school's sports teams are called the Little Giants. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Every year since 1911, Wabash College has played rival DePauw University in a football game called the Monon Bell Classic. Wabash College is a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference. The rallying cheer of Wabash College athletics is "Wabash always fights". Wabash College competes in men's intercollegiate baseball, basketball, tennis, cross country, lacrosse, track and field, golf, football, soccer, swimming and diving, and wrestling.

The basketball team at Wabash was formerly coached by legendary Malcolm "Mac" Petty, who retired after 35 seasons at Wabash. Wabash won the 1981–82 NCAA Division III title (the school's only national title) with a 24–4 record. Wabash won the first national intercollegiate championship basketball tournament ever held in 1922.

Football at Wabash dates back to 1884, when student-coach Edwin R. Taber assembled a team and defeated Butler University by a score of 4–0 in the first intercollegiate football game in the history of the state of Indiana.[12] The current head football coach is Don Morel.

In the summer of 2010, Wabash reconstructed Mud Hollow and Byron P. Hollett Stadium to provide the football, soccer, baseball and intramural teams with better athletic facilities.

Monon Bell Classic

The Monon Bell

Voted "Indiana's Best College Sports Rivalry" by viewers of ESPN in 2005, DePauw University and Wabash College play each November — in the last regular season football game of the year for both teams — for the right to keep or reclaim the Monon Bell. The two teams first met in 1890. In 1932, the Monon Railroad donated its approximately 300-pound locomotive bell to be offered as the prize to the winning team each year. The series is as close as a historic rivalry can be: Wabash leads the series 59–53–9, and since the introduction of the Monon Bell to the series, Wabash leads 40-37-6. The game routinely sells out (up to 11,000 seats, depending upon the venue and seating arrangement) and has been televised by ABC, ESPN2, and HDNet. Each year, alumni from both schools gather at more than 50 locations around the United States for telecast parties, and a commemorative DVD (including historic clips known as "Monon Memories") is produced each year. The final score of the 2015 Monon Bell Classic was Wabash 45, DePauw 17. The Wabash Little Giants currently have won the last seven games in a row.

In 1999, GQ listed the Monon Bell game as reason number three on its "50 Reasons Why College Football is Better Than Pro Football" list.

Summer programs

Wabash has a summer program for high school students: OLAB (Opportunities to Learn about Business). OLAB is a co-ed program going into its 39th year at Wabash. OLAB is a one-week hands-on introduction to business and the market economy for young women and men entering their senior year in high school. In 2010, 44 students from 11 states and Korea participated in the OLAB program.

The Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship initiative also hosts a Summer Business Immersion program. The seven-week LABB program is an intensive summer immersion into all aspects of business and entrepreneurship. Students from all majors get a crash course in financial literacy, strategic planning, marketing, decision making, leadership, human resources and negotiations through case study analysis, lectures and site visits. Students research and write multiple business plans, which are presented to panels of expert judges. Students also work on a consulting project in the community to solve a real-world problem. Students are paid a $3,200 stipend. This is a full-time 40-hour-per-week internship.

National rankings

Wabash has long been ranked in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges in the annual U.S. News & World Report.[13]

According to the Princeton Review's Annual Rankings of The Best 379 Colleges, Wabash was ranked nationally in the following categories over the last two years:

Wabash College is also listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.

Notable people

See also


  1. As of Spring 2016. "About Wabash" (webpage). Wabash College. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  2. NAICU Member Directory
  3. "Wabash College | Best College | US News". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  4. Gronert: pg. 66–67.
  5. Gronert: pg. 205–206.
  6. Henry C. Herge. Navy V-12, Vol. 12. Turner Publishing Co., 1996. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  7. "V12 Reunion Brings Back Unique Alumni Group". Crawfordsville, Indiana: Wabash College. 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  8. Gronert: pg. 30–31, 107.
  9. "Wabash College, One of a Dying Breed". 1999. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  10. "Most Students in Fraternities | Rankings | US News". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  11. "The Challenge of Excellence". Wabash College. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  12. Ancestry.com Edwin R. Taber
  13. "National Liberal Arts College Rankings | Top Liberal Arts Colleges | US News Best Colleges". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
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