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									Wabash College Class of 1987
Class Agent Letter — December 3, 2010
Jim Amidon, Class Agent

Dear Friends in the Mighty Class of 1987,

I apologize for the long delay in getting out news of the College to our class. It is with great
honor that I continue to serve our alma mater in the Public Affairs and Marketing Office. That
also means that most fall weekends are spent on or off-campus with Wabash folks — or
generating communications with all Wabash alumni — which doesn’t give me a lot of free time
to write to my classmates.

Here are some of the updates I’ve collected in the last few months from the Men of 1987:

“Although I did not finish my college career at Wabash I feel a deep since of pride at being a part
of a great institution. I played football and wrestled for three years with the Little Giants. My
greatest accomplishments were wining the Little State Wrestling tournament as a freshman and
starting at fullback as a sophomore. I also enjoyed being a member of the Glee Club. Life dealt
me a major blow with the death of my father in October of 1985. I returned to the campus to
wrestle competitively for the last time. I wrestled in the Little State tournament and when I
looked into the stands and didn't see my father life spiraled down hill. I ended my college career
and returned home to take care of my mother. I started a new era of my life with coaching high
school football and wrestling. I did this for three years prior to joining the Army. I have recently
retired with two combat tours. I am currently working for the United States Army Pacific
Command as a civilian intelligence analyst. Wabash College had a big impact on the way I
carried myself in the military.

“I served in the first Gulf War in 1990. I also was a part of the 1st Stryker brigade that deployed
to Iraq in 2003. We were the second wave of soldiers in Iraq. I was in the first Military
Intelligence Unit that deployed to the combat zone with the ground units. My team actually
introduced the first Prophet vehicle (signals surveillance vehicle) to Congress and Senate in
Washington DC. This was one of my greatest honors in the service. In the Gulf war I served as
an information courier. The technology was not very good in the early 90's so we literally hand-
carried Top Secret information across the country.

“The Iraq War was very different. My time in Iraq started with a show of force with the new
Strykers. We slowly took control of several cities on our way to Mosul. These three months
were the worst in my entire life, but once we arrived in Mosul we settled down to a somewhat
normal life. The access of computers during my final six months was daily, so I could
videoconference with my family. But the last month was the worst since the enemy knew we
were changing units so the mortar attacks increased. We actually received a mortar attack on our
way out of Mosul airfield.

“I have served the bulk of my career in Hawaii. I was lucky to get to stay here for seven years
after the Gulf War. I married my wife, Nanea, in 1994, and we have two wonderful kids, Micah
15, and Lehua 10. I have another daughter 17 that lives in Vegas with her mother.

“Even today in Hawaii I try to steer some of the talented athletes to the cold state of Indiana. I
am not that successful, but maybe one day my son will make me happy. It is great to see the
many stories of the men of Wabash. I recently had the pleasure of hosting Michael Worthington
(86) with two visits to the Hawaiian Islands. If there are any other alums coming to the islands
feel free to contact me for the true island experience.”

Contact Fred at


D.J. Riese has left Purdue University for a new position. He is now the George Fulton Gilliland
& Olga Hooser Gilliland Franklin Professor at Auburn University, where he also serves as
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs at the Harrison School of Pharmacy. You
can email him at or reach him by phone at 334-844-8358. Congratulations,


Jo continues to be busy in all things multi-media in and around Bloomington. He produced and
directed a great set of videos for downtown Bloomington. He’s written to me a couple of times
— here’s a dispatch from early fall:

“I’m finding myself pretty busy, considering the bad economy. I do three days on a Kentucky
Lottery commercial next week then I have two weeks of work as the Production
Manager/Assistant Director for an historical film on Morgan’s Raid during the Civil War. We
are re-enacting (with Calvary horses, re-enactors from Michigan, Alabama, Missouri, Ohio,
Kentucky and Indiana… canon, and everything) at Connor Prairie in Noblesville.

“I also am the TV producer for a local version of ‘Iron Chef’ we do over the Labor Day weekend
at the old theater downtown (and tape for TV playback). I am the race director for two events – a
4.3 Mile Trail Run at Oliver Winery’s Creekbend Vineyard and a 5K road race in downtown
Bloomington on back to back weekends.”

Contact Jo at or at home at 812-272-4789.

BILL BUTCHER (stolen from an email forwarded by Greg Birk ’77)
“Life is good. We sold our last bank four years ago and I moved to Asheville, North Carolina so
I could run/bike year-round in the mountains. It has been a blast. I have been adventure racing
and doing multiple day type of races for the past decade. The races have taken me from a nine-
day race in Australia to a five-day race (nine hours of sleep) in jungles of Costa Rica.
Domestically, I’ve raced from California to Maine to Florida. Turns out I can go five to 10 days
while running/biking/kayaking on about two hours of sleep per day. I have been getting a lot of
grief from family/friends that want to see some pictures so I will update Facebook soon.”

Ring up Bill at 317-508-6055 or go out and find him on Facebook.


Greg Castanias was one of three alumni honored by the Indiana University Maurer School of
Law with its Distinguished Service Award in October. Here’s the release:

“Gregory A. Castanias (juris doctorare 1990) is a partner and head of the federal circuit practice
at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. He has argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and
is considered one of the country’s leading intellectual property attorneys. Castanias has served
the law school in countless ways, from mentoring current and prospective students to an eight-
year tenure on the school’s Alumni Board. Castanias returns to Bloomington frequently for board
meetings, on-campus interviews, and speaking engagements. A proud alumnus of Wabash
College, Castanias received that school's Richard O. Ristine Law Award in 2008. “At the Maurer
School of Law, we have a deep tradition of teaching our students that the privilege of practicing
law carries with it the obligation to give back to the community,” said Lauren Robel, dean and
Val Nolan Professor of Law. “Pro bono work and public service are the moral dues we pay to be
a part of this profession, and our students know from day one that their law degree will give
them the power to provide access to justice for all of our citizens. Our DSA recipients — Greg,
Lee and Laurie — embody the spirit of public service and are an inspiration to all of us.”

Congratulate Greg on Facebook or by emailing him at


Anthony Hart is giving back to Wabash by being an integral member of a new mentoring
program that pairs Wabash alumni with first generation Wabash students. The program is funded
by a couple of large grants and its aim is to improve Wabash’s retention of first generation and
minority students, and boost the College’s graduation rate.

Read more about Anthony and the program here and here.

File this one in the “You know you’re getting old when…” file:

BODIE STEGELMANN’S son, Andrew, is a member of the Wabash Class of 2014. I’ve had
the chance to meet Andrew, who is a pledge at Phi Gamma Delta, several times and I’ve seen
him out and around campus. He’s a great young Wabash man and I’m sure Bodie is very proud,


One of my great regrets of the last four months is that I neglected to send out a letter in August
thanking all of you who made a gift to the College in fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30.
Fifty-three members of our class made gifts totaling $33,540. Here’s the honor roll of Wabash
men who helped our class participation — and helped the Wabash Annual Fund raise more than
$3 million for the third straight year.

Jim Amidon, Jr.                    Steve Huder                         Mike Ricks
Steve Badger                       Dave Jackson                        D.J. Riese, II
Greg Baker                         Tim Jeffers                         Gavin Roberts
Ben Beringer                       Bob Kachur                          Chris Sangalis
Paul Boger, Jr.                    Bill Kaiser, Jr.                    Allen Schulz
John Brady                         Tim Lewis                           Tom Seroczynski, II
Erik Burriss                       Terry Lyons                         Todd Shellenbarger
Shawn Burton                       Mick Magura                         Ken Siepman
Mark Cain                          David McLaren                       Bodie Stegelmann
Greg Castanias                     Bob Minardo                         Chris Stephenson
Scott Cougill                      Jim Miner                           John Stonehill
Barry Delk                         Bill Niemier                        Bernie Stuckey
Tom Edwards                        Dave Nisius                         Jo Throckmorton
Kurt Eisgruber                     Kevin Noll                          Mike Trier
Doug Galloway                      Ken Ogorek                          Mark Vincent
Anthony Hart                       Mike Rapier                         Darin Wallace
Dan Harter                         Jeff Relue                          Bob Wright
Jay Herrmann, M.D.                 Brad Rickel                         Von Wright

This is, admittedly, a shorter list. But we’re still less than halfway through the fiscal year. But for
those who want a tax deduction, plan now to make your gift to Wabash before December 31.
Indiana residents get a little something extra on the state tax return — look for form CC40 —
that makes a $400 gift cost just $200.

Don Albrecht                         Steven Jones                         Kevin Noll
Jim Amidon, Jr.                      Bob Kachur                           Ken Ogorek
Erik Burriss                         Bill Kaiser, Jr.                     D.J. Riese, II
Greg Castanias                       Tim Lewis                            John Stonehill
Anthony Hart                         Mick Magura                          Bernie Stuckey
Dan Harter                           David McLaren                        Mark Vincent
Steve Huder                          Jim Miner                            Darin Wallace


The Bachelor, Wabash’s student newspaper, is now online — completely. Thanks to the archives
and a gift from alumnus Jon Pactor, every issue of The Bachelor has been digitized in a high-
tech, searchable database. Want to recall what Homecoming was like our freshman year? Just
type in key words like “homecoming” and “1983” and you’ll find the story. For all the
information you need, just click here and get signed up.


I’ve been writing a weekly newspaper column in the Crawfordsville Journal Review for the last
ten years or so. The editor came to me back in the late 1990s and gave me permission to use
about 800 words any way I wanted, and gave me a nice spot on the opinion page in every
Monday morning’s paper. I figure I’ve written pretty close to 500 of them by now, they have
covered our great victories in sports, our achievements in fund-raising, the accomplishments of
our students, and our most difficult losses. I thought I’d wrap up this letter by including my
column from Thanksgiving week. I think it covers the best of the fall semester at the College,
and I’ve included some hyperlinks if you want to learn more.

All best wishes for Happy Holidays and a healthy, prosperous New Year.

Jim Amidon

P.S. — Just after I finished writing this letter, the Wabash basketball team improved to 7-0 on
the season by dunking DePauw in Greencastle 57-40. Holding DePauw to 40 on its own court —
and miserable 13 percent shooting from three-point range — is a pretty great accomplishment
for the team and its coach, Mac Petty, who is now in his 35th year!

For Which I Am Thankful
Jim Amidon
November 22, 2010

While it is not likely to be erased from our memories any time soon, the 117th Monon Bell
Classic is behind us and the Wabash College football team’s 47-0 victory over arch rival
DePauw put a nice stamp on the fall season at the College. And what a remarkable fall it was.

Folks who care deeply about Wabash have plenty to be thankful for as the campus falls quiet for
Thanksgiving break. Here are but a handful of reasons why we give thanks this week.

In late August, President Pat White rang in 253 new students to Wabash. The freshmen come
from across the country and around the world, and have enriched every aspect of our community.

We are thankful that in this difficult economy, Dean of Admissions Steve Klein and his dedicated
staff — and all who help us recruit students — brought in such a large and wonderful class.

About that same time, Wabash was featured in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 College
Guide, the Princeton Review’s Best 373 Colleges book, and Forbes magazine’s Best Colleges

In early September, the College’s glorious new football field was dedicated as Sewell Field at
Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium. While many Wabash purists first balked at the idea of a
synthetic playing surface, the Field Turf Pro gridiron matches the excellence of Wabash’s entire
athletics program.

We’re thankful for the many fond and spirited memories we have of games played in that stadium
and the men who compete as Little Giants, and for the benefactors who make that competition

By month’s end, it was time for Homecoming. It’s hard to put an accurate number on it, but I
suspect that about 6,000 people returned to alma mater to reminisce, remember, and celebrate
Wabash’s thrilling 31-14 win over the University of Chicago.

At the Homecoming Alumni Chapel, two special friends were among those honored by the
National Association of Wabash Men. The College’s alumni director and Crawfordsville native,
Tom Runge, received the Alumni Award of Merit, and long-time swimming and diving coach,
Gail Pebworth, was named an honorary alumna in the Class of 1991.

We’re thankful to both for their service to and love of Wabash College, and for all alumni who
spread the fame of her honored name.
In late October, the Wabash community gathered again to celebrate the College’s tradition of
philanthropy. At an exciting event on the last Friday of the month, alumni, faculty, staff,
students, and friends gathered to announce the five-year, $60 million Challenge of Excellence
capital campaign.

We are thankful to those people — especially the College’s Trustees — who already have given
or pledged nearly $36 million toward that goal.

A week later, a record number of high school seniors and their family members descended on
Wabash for the Top Ten Scholarship Visit Day. Well over 180 young men who rank in the top
ten percent of their high school graduating classes made their way to campus to learn more about
Wabash and to meet with alumni, faculty, and students. The keynote speaker was Washington
D.C., attorney Greg Castanias ’87.

We are thankful that Wabash’s reputation is strong, that high school students aspire to become
Wabash men, and that our accomplished alumni are living proof of the value of a liberal arts

On the eve of the Monon Bell Classic, scores of alumni and family members came back to
Wabash for the Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A remarkable class of nine men
representing eight different varsity sports were inducted (with another soon to follow).

We’re thankful for Wabash’s rich tradition of intercollegiate athletics and that the College
honors its sports heroes.

Throughout the fall, students and visiting artists entertained us with their musical and theatrical
performances on stage.

We are thankful for the diversity of talents in this small community, and for the College’s
commitment to the education of the whole person.

And that brings us to Saturday, November 13. No other colleges in the country can boast of a
rivalry as old, as fierce, and as storied as the Monon Bell rivalry between Wabash and DePauw.
We may take it for granted that a single, small college football game means so much to so many
people, near and far. In reality, there really isn’t anything like it in all of college sports.

We are thankful to have such a worthy, respected rival in DePauw and we are thankful for the
traditions we share. (And, of course, we’re thankful that the bell has been ringing pretty much
non-stop for the last two weeks.)

In a season of Thanksgiving, we at Wabash are blessed. We are blessed with a caring, dedicated
faculty and staff, eager students, loyal alumni, and a community that embraces this liberal arts
college for men.

For all of these reasons and more, we are thankful.

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