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Mullin ’24: ‘I Hope I am Seen as Something More’

Two accomplishments came to mind as Joe Mullin ’24 looked back on his Wabash experience, and those accomplishments speak volumes to the type of person he’s become.

He mentioned distinction on his comprehensive exams, the highest grade a Wabash student can earn, and being a two-time Academic All-American as voted by the College Sports Communicators.

“Those are amazing feats,” Mullin said. “I probably would have called you crazy four years ago if you told me that would eventually happen. Frankly, I did not know where my ceiling was and probably undervalued myself and what was possible at Wabash. I tried to keep my head down, work hard in class and on the field.”

Such pats on the back are nice and they don’t come without being very good in both locations.

Joe Mullin ’24Mullin is certainly that, earning Academic All-America honors in 2022 and 2023 as an offensive lineman for the football team. He was a two-time all-region honoree and a three-time all-North Coast Athletic Conference selection who helped the Little Giants average 493.2 years per game of total offense in 2023, the 13th-best average nationally among NCAA Division III programs.

“I was nothing of an athlete without the four guys I played next to,” said the Indianapolis native, who completed classes in December. “Whatever recognition I received, it felt like a unit award for all of us. I don't want to be just Joe the football guy. I hope I am seen as something more.”

An English major, Mullin earned the Walter J. Fertig Prize in English, given to a member of the senior class who, in the judgement of the English department faculty, has accomplished distinguished work in his study of English and American literature.

He shined in class discussions as someone who wanted to participate rather than simply score points.

“In a class of really smart guys, he stood out, particularly in conversation, one of the sharpest,” said Derek Mong, associate professor of English. “He is an engaging conversationalist, a voice of careful moderation. He always listened first and then joined the conversation.”

His thoughtful approach also extended to his writing and ability to analyze texts.

“He writes really clean, straightforward prose,” Mong said, who taught Mullin in his American Literature class. “Joe does a nice job of identifying key literary terms, putting those into useful context, and crafting sentences that catch the attention of a reader without overweighing it.”

Mullin came to Wabash with the idea of majoring in political science, but discovered joy in the idea of deeply engaging with the texts presented in his English classes. He declared his major and never looked back.

“I found a love for it,” he said. “You’re almost going line by line, analyzing and asking yourself, ‘What does this mean; how does this apply to the overall general theme of the text; and how does it apply in the reaFertig Prize recipients Joe Mullin '24 (left) and Ethan Stonis '23 with Crystal Benedicks, Associate Professor of English.l world?”

He points to a few of his classes as memorably generating the kinds of questions that linger in the mind—the aforementioned American lit class and his Freshman Tutorial—Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s—but it may have been his senior capstone that bridged the scholar and athlete personas that make Mullin who he is.

“In my capstone, we relied on each other to produce great works,” he said. “There were six of us in that class and we all produced unique essays that we were proud of. That football mentality remains true. 168体育平台下载_足球即时比分-注册|官网 all showed up every day to work together, work hard, and deliver a great product. Whether it was winning games or writing papers, we put in the work.”

For all of the teamwork he may have experienced workshopping as an English major, Mullin enjoyed the way that classes outside of his major challenged him in ways where he could see real growth.

“I'm not a math- or science-minded guy,” he said. “Those courses forced me to step out of my comfort zone and find new ways to succeed. I found myself welcoming those challenges because they aided in my growth as a student and an individual.”

Mullin prefers the human element, the constant connection with others that he’s seen every day in class and on the gridiron. As he begins to chart a path into the post-college world, possibly into the military, he knows Wabash has positioned him well to take those first steps.

I can't imagine not having had this experience,” he said. “I would go back 100 times over and choose Wabash every time. It's hard to put into words how special this place is to me.”