Wabash College

Wabash College is a private, men's liberal arts college in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Founded in 1832 by several Dartmouth College graduates and Midwestern leaders, it enrolls nearly 900 students. The college offers an undergraduate liberal arts curriculum in three academic divisions with 39 majors.[7]

Wabash College
Latin: Collegii Wabashensis
MottoScientiae et Virtuti (Latin)
Motto in English
For Knowledge and Virtue
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Men's college
EstablishedNovember 21, 1832; 188 years ago (1832-11-21)
Endowment$335.9 million (2020)[1]
PresidentScott E. Feller
Academic staff
96 Full-time and 7 Part-time[2]
Location, ,
United States

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
CampusSuburban, 65 acres (26 ha) [4]
NewspaperThe Bachelor[5]
ColorsWabash Scarlet  
AthleticsNCAA Division IIINCAC
NicknameLittle Giants
MascotWally Wabash


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, founder and first faculty member of the College

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 W. 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 Rev. Edmund Otis Hovey (1801–1877), a professor at the college.[8] 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.[9] 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). Dr. Scott E. Feller, Dean of the College from 2014-2020 and chemistry professor at Wabash since 1998, became the 17th President of Wabash College on July 1, 2020.

Presidents of Wabash College
Name Date of Inauguration
Elihu Baldwin July 13, 1836
Charles White July 19, 1841
Joseph F. Tuttle July 24, 1862
George S. Burroughs June 21, 1893
William P. Kane February 22, 1900
George L. Mackintosh June 12, 1907
Louis B. Hopkins December 3, 1926
Frank H. Sparks October 25, 1941
Byron K. Trippet October 13, 1956
Paul W. Cook December 3, 1966
Thaddeus Seymour October 10, 1969
Lewis S. Salter October 10, 1978
F. Sheldon Wettack December 3, 1989
Andrew T. Ford January 29, 1994
Patrick E. White January 27, 2007
Gregory D. Hess October 11, 2013
Scott E. Feller July 1, 2020

During World War II, Wabash College was one of 131 colleges and universities[10] that offered students a path to a Navy commission as part of the V-12 Navy College Training Program.[11]

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.[12]

In 1996, Wabash became the first college in America to stage Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[13]


University rankings
Forbes[14] 280
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15] 54
Washington Monthly[16] 75


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 25 academic programs as majors and 32 accompanying minors.[17]

Comprehensive examsEdit

Seniors at Wabash College take a three-day comprehensive exam in their major subject area. 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 an outside perspective, 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 comprehensive examinations in order to be eligible for a degree.

Student lifeEdit

Student culture and traditionsEdit

Tradition begins early at Wabash College, and continues throughout one's college career. On "Ringing In Saturday", incoming students are addressed by the dean of students, the dean of admissions, the president of the alumni association, and the college president and are "rung in" by the president, using the same bell that Caleb Mills used to call students to class. On Homecoming weekend, students are given the opportunity to show how well they know the college fight song (Old Wabash) during "Chapel Sing".

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 governmentEdit

The student government, referred to collectively as the Student Body of Wabash College, comprises executive and legislative branches.[18]

Student organizationsEdit

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 ten national fraternities.[19] Unlike most other colleges and universities, Wabash fraternity members – including pledges and associate members – live in the fraternity houses by default. 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 2008, freshman Johnny D. Smith died of alcohol poisoning while pledging at Delta Tau Delta. Wabash College shut down the fraternity and revoked the lease on their house.[20][21] In 2009, the college and the fraternities' 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 fraternitiesEdit

Co-curricular activitiesEdit

Wabash Democracy & Public Discourse (WDPD)Edit

The WDPD initiative advances the kinds of deliberation, discussion, debate, and advocacy that cultivate democracy. Its goals are to teach constructive practices of engagement and communication, stimulate productive public discourse on campus and in the community, develop civic leadership through participation in public life, and promote the free speech rights and responsibilities of every individual. Students in WDPD work with campus and community partners to design and facilitate public engagement events, such as community forums, dialogues, public deliberations. Students involved with WDPD leave Wabash with advanced, applied skills in oral and written communication, leadership, public affairs, and civic awareness that will enable them to contribute more productively to their communities, to their workplaces, and to their personal relationships.

Global Health InitiativeEdit

Digital Arts & Human ValuesEdit

Wabash College Glee ClubEdit

The tradition of singing at Wabash College dates back to its earliest years; the Wabash College Glee Club and Mandolin Society was established in 1892 (as evidenced by a photograph and membership list in that year's Ouiatenon). Not much is known about the early years of the Glee Club; that changed when R. Robert Mitchum joined the faculty as Glee Club Director in 1947. Mitch led the group until 1969. The Glee Club celebrated its 125th anniversary on September 30, 2017 with a dinner and concert.


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 million, exceeding the original goal of $60 million.[22]


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 for all but one of their 12 varsity sports. The only exception is volleyball, the school's newest varsity sport, which was added in advance of the 2021 season (2020–21 school year). Since the NCAC sponsors volleyball only for women, the Little Giants play that sport in the single-sport Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League. Every year since 1911, Wabash College has played rival DePauw University in a football game called the Monon Bell Classic. 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, volleyball, 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.[23] 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 ClassicEdit

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 62–54–9. 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 2017 Monon Bell Classic was Wabash 22, DePauw 21. The Wabash Little Giants currently have won eight of the last nine contests.

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 programsEdit

  • 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 Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (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. LABB 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.
  • Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program: The program includes a month-long Summer Institute, strategic class scheduling for the freshman fall semester, special information sessions and networking events during the freshman year, and a "second summer" internship, research assistantship, or immersion experience. During each component of the program, students meet other students, staff, and alumni who are their guides, mentors, friends, and confidantes during their Wabash career and after, and they gain information about what it takes to succeed at Wabash College and in their career after graduation.

National rankingsEdit

In 2020 Wabash was ranked joint 54th best liberal arts college in the annual U.S. News & World Report.[24] Wabash College is also listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Wabash+College&s=all&id=152673
  3. ^ https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Wabash+College&s=all&id=152673
  4. ^ "About Wabash - Facts and Figures". Wabash College. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  5. ^ https://www.wabash.edu/bachelor/
  6. ^ "Member Center – Wabash College". National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
  7. ^ "Academics". Wabash College. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  8. ^ Gronert: pp. 66–67.
  9. ^ Gronert: pp. 205–06.
  10. ^ Henry C. Herge (1996). Navy V-12, Vol. 12. Turner Publishing Co., 1996. ISBN 9781563111891. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  11. ^ "V12 Reunion Brings Back Unique Alumni Group". Crawfordsville, Indiana: Wabash College. 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  12. ^ Gronert: pp. 30–31, 107.
  13. ^ "Wabash College, One of a Dying Breed". 1999. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "2020 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  17. ^ "Academic Programs A–Z < Wabash College". bulletin.wabash.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  18. ^ "Constitution of the Student Body of Wabash College" (PDF). Wabash College Student Senate Blog. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Most Students in Fraternities | Rankings | US News". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  20. ^ Thomas, Derrick (Nov 26, 2008). "Frat Where Freshman Died Was 'Out Of Control,' Family Says". ABC 6 The Indy Channel.
  21. ^ Oddi, Marcia (May 12, 2013). "Ind. Decisions - "COA OKs parents' suit against fraternity in Wabash College alcohol death". Indiana Law Blog.
  22. ^ "The Challenge of Excellence". Wabash College. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  23. ^ Ancestry.com Edwin R. Taber
  24. ^ "National Liberal Arts College Rankings | Top Liberal Arts Colleges | US News Best Colleges". U.S. News. Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. 2020-12-09. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  • Gronert, Theodore G. (1958). Sugar Creek Saga: A History and Development of Montgomery County. Wabash College.[ISBN missing]
  • Harvey, Robert S., ed. (1982). These Fleeting Years: Wabash College 1832–1982. Crawfordsville: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.[ISBN missing]

External linksEdit