Wabash College

From Academic Kids

Wabash College

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Wabash Logo

Established 1832
Mottoes Scientiae et Virtuti Wabash Always Fights
School type Private, Men's
President Dr. Andrew T. Ford
Location Crawfordsville, IN, USA
Enrollment 860 undergraduate
Faculty 90
Endowment $347,337,300
Campus 55 acres (.2 km²)
Sports NCAA Division III
Team name The Little Giants
Website www.wabash.edu

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Wabash College is a small private liberal arts college for men, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. It was founded in 1832 by a number of men including several Dartmouth College graduates.

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Wally Wabash, the college mascot.

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 plays rival DePauw University in the Monon Bell Classic.

Wabash College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Over its nearly two hundred years of history, Wabash faculty has included such influential intellectuals as poet Ezra Pound.

Wabash, along with Hampden-Sydney College and Morehouse College and two other schools, are the only five remaining all-men's liberal arts colleges in the United States. In contrast, there are many more all-female liberal arts colleges.

A substantial endowment places Wabash amongst the top 120 colleges and universities in the nation, and on a per-student basis, amongst the top 25. This endowment drives a generous scholarship program. The benefactors that have funded this endowment include the pharmaceutical industrialist Eli Lilly, the company he founded, and his heirs. The school's library, named after Lilly, houses a portion of the Eli Lilly company archives, along with those of Earlham College, Connor Prairie, and the Indiana Historical Society.


Mission Statement

"Wabash College educates men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.

Founded in 1832, Wabash College is an independent, liberal arts college for men with an enrollment of 850 students. Its mission is excellence in teaching and learning within a community built on close and caring relationships among students, faculty, and staff.

Wabash offers qualified young men a superior education, fostering, in particular, independent intellectual inquiry, critical thought, and clear written and oral expression. The College educates its students broadly in the traditional curriculum of the liberal arts while also requiring them to pursue concentrated study in one or more disciplines. Wabash emphasizes our manifold but shared cultural heritage. Our students come from diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds; the College helps these students engage these differences and live humanely with them. Wabash also challenges its students to appreciate the changing nature of the global society and prepares them for the responsibilities of leadership and service in it.

The College carries out its mission in a residential setting in which students take personal and group responsibility for their actions. Wabash provides for its students an unusually informal, egalitarian, and participatory environment which encourages young men to adopt a life of intellectual and creative growth, self-awareness, and physical activity. The College seeks to cultivate qualities of character and leadership in students by developing not only their analytical skills, but also sensitivity to values, and judgment and compassion required of citizens living in a difficult and uncertain world. We expect a Wabash education to bring joy in the life of the mind, to reveal the pleasures in the details of common experience, and to affirm the necessity for and rewards in helping others."


The 2002 National Survey of Student Engagement ranked Wabash #1 in the following categories: Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Interactions with Faculty, Enriching Educational Experiences, and Supportive Campus Environment. Three-fourths of graduates go on to graduate or professional school within five years. Thirteen percent of alumni have Ph.D.s; twelve percent hold the title "president" or "chairman." Only two Ivy League schools have a higher percentage of alumni in Who's Who, and at only four of the eleven Ivies and Little Ivies do the seniors perform as well or better on the MCAT.


Notable alumni include professional football player Pete Metzelaars, author Dan Simmons (who dedicated his novel Illium to the college), the twenty-eighth Vice President of the United States Thomas Riley Marshall (under Woodrow Wilson), President Clinton's attorney David Kendall, Nissan International general manager Mitsuya Goto, former AT&T CEO Robert Allen (after whom the fieldhouse is named), and the inventor of the Happy Meal.


The Greek system is a major factor at Wabash; between 65-70% of students are members of one of the ten fraternities present. Unlike virtually all other schools, all fraternity members--including pledges--live in the fraternity houses by default. While most fraternites allow juniors and seniors to live outside the house if they so opt, the vast majority of Greek students live in their respective house all four years. This has led to the odd circumstance of a campus with less than 1000 students being dotted with Greek houses large enough to fit in at campuses ten times Wabash's size. Furthermore, fraternity rush at Wabash begins before the academic year begins. During March, students accepted for the coming year are invited to the campus for Honor Scholar Weekend, during which they take a battery of exams and compete to earn scholarship money. The students are distributed among the ten fraternities, with whom they stay during their visit. In the evenings following the conclusion of the day's testing, the fraternites (and, recently, the Independent Men's Association) host a wide variety of parties and events open to all comers. Fraternites are allowed to offer bids to pledges starting this weekend, and rush runs through summer until its conclusion one week after school begins. Upon accepting a bid, the pledge is then housed in the corresponding fraternity house. As a large number of pledges accept over the summer, it is entirely possible for a freshman to never see the inside of a dorm room.

Wabash in Fiction

Owing perhaps to its prominence in the Midwest, Wabash college has, despite its small size, been referenced a number of times in fiction originating from or set in the area. Playwright George Ade's 1927 comedy "The College Widow" (adapted into the movie Maybe It's Love in 1930) was set at Wabash. A scene in the sports movie Hoosiers finds the star player's mother Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey) telling coach Norman Dale (Nick Nolte) to stay away from her son, saying "He's a real special kid, and I have high hopes for him... I think if he works really hard, he can get an academic scholarship to Wabash College and can get out of this place." Some of the characters in the aforementioned Dan Simmons' novels are based on people he knew at Wabash, and he has mentioned the importance of what he learned at the college in the quality of his work.

On Wabash

  • "The poetry in the life of a college like Wabash is to be found in its history. It is to be found in the fact that once on this familiar campus and once in these well-known halls, students and teachers as real as ourselves worked and studied, argued and laughed and worshipped together, but are now gone, one generation vanishing after another, as surely as we shall shortly be gone. But if you listen, you can hear their songs and their cheers. As you look, you can see the torch which they handed down to us."

- Byron K. Trippet '30, Ninth President of Wabash College

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