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Presidential Transition

Perspectives on Dennis Hanno

Posted on February 24, 2014

Dennis Hanno's colleagues and members of Wheaton's Presidential Search Committee reflected on the qualities that make him an exceptional leader and shared a few thoughts. (Click the links below to reveal each individual's comments.)

  • The Reverend Robert AndohSekondi, Ghana

    For the past 15 years, Dr. Hanno and I have been working together to positively impact the community in which I live in and its environs in the western region of Ghana. We offer a whole week of programs providing entrepreneurial skills and leadership education to help people create their own lives and future as well as the future of the whole country. It has grown tremendously over the years, serving thousands of students, and now these programs are attracting national attention.

    Dr. Hanno has had a tremendous impact in our a region. He is a friend to our community, which has been deprived of many things. I personally feel that Dr. Hanno is a man who, anywhere he finds himself, the people around him will be glad that he is there.

  • Polly Bartlett Bryson '79, Vice Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and an Alumna Trustee
    The search for Wheaton’s eighth President has been a stimulating process for the entire Wheaton community. It has been a time to reflect upon the college’s countless strengths and what Wheaton needs to continue to thrive in the future. Dennis Hanno is the ideal visionary, strategic and charismatic leader to energize Wheaton’s students, parents, faculty, staff, trustees, alumnae/i and friends to realize the college’s full potential.
  • Shawn Christian, Associate Professor of English and African and African America Studies at Wheaton College and a member of the Presidential Search Committee

    This moment is a real opportunity for all of us . . . a demonstrated, innovative leader and creative collaborator will join an institution poised for greater innovation. With Dennis Hanno, Wheaton College will continue to thrive in providing a dynamic, liberal arts education for the 21st century.

  • Nancy Pearlstine Conger ‘67Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee
    The selection of Dennis Hanno as the eighth president of Wheaton was an exciting and exhilarating process. What drew Dennis to Wheaton was the college’s reputation as a strong liberal arts institution that is student-centered, with a faculty that embraces innovation and a culture that encourages different points of view. What drew the Search Committee to Dennis was his living/learning philosophy that is broadly focused, engaging students 24/7 both in and out of the classroom. Dennis is a decisive leader, who is also collaborative and empowers people throughout the organization to make an impact. His global perspective, ability to act strategically and strong record of leadership made Dennis the unanimous choice of the committee. We can’t wait for Dennis and his family to be a part of the Wheaton family.
  • Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, Ph.D., Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division and Professor of English at Babson College
    Since the day Dennis arrived at Babson, things began to change—for the better. As a professor of literature and Chair of Babson's Arts and Humanities Division, I am delighted to speak to Dennis's commitment to using his leadership position to ensure that students receive the finest, cutting edge education, a rigorous education that spans the disciplines. Dennis is a truly visionary leader who understands the importance of liberal arts education in preparing students for a fulfilling, successful life in this challenging global landscape. At Babson—a school which awards only the Bachelor of Science in Management degree—Dennis consistently put himself on the line to ensure that Babson lives up to its commitment to deliver fully half of its credits in the liberal arts. He also envisioned and implemented a range of rich, innovative programs that brought liberal arts and management/entrepreneurship together, almost always with the kind of global focus that marks the most relevant educational initiatives today.Perhaps Dennis' commitment to the social sciences and humanities springs from his own deep humanity as a leader and person. Dennis can be counted on to treat every person, regardless of status or position, with the same respect and dignity. I have never seen him waver in this regard. I am certain that Dennis's vision, commitment, energy, integrity, and—not least—his warm, fun personality will be as much a blessing to Wheaton as it has been to Babson. Wishing Dennis and Wheaton all the best!
  • Jonas HaertleHead, Principles for Responsible Management Education Secretariat, UN Global Compact Office
    Dennis Hanno is a true champion of responsible management education and thought leadership. I have gotten to know him in his previous role at Babson College where Dennis was responsible for driving the College's engagement in the UN-supported PRME initiative. His dedication to supporting students to become aware of how business can be a force for good in terms of economic, social and environmental impact make him a true leader.
  • Thomas HollisterChair of the Wheaton Board of Trustees
    I am grateful to have had the chance to serve on the Wheaton board of trustees with two extraordinary presidents, Dale Rogers Marshall and Ronald A. Crutcher.  I have watched with wonder and appreciation as their contributions so transformed and strengthened Wheaton College.  Thanks to leadership, Wheaton is in an excellent condition and poised for further greatness.There is a reason that the search committee and the board of trustees cast first ballot unanimous votes to appoint in Dennis Hanno as the next president of Wheaton College. Dennis is a remarkable leader, teacher, scholar and administrator. His passion and his life's work have aimed and armed him for the very things that Wheaton does so well. He is eager to join the Wheaton community, and drawing upon the school's strengths, history and people, to lead us in new chapters of prominence in providing a transformative liberal arts education for intellectually curious students in a collaborative, academically vibrant residential community that values a diverse world.
  • Thomas O'Brien, Former Dean of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts
    Congratulations! Dennis is an exceptional leader. I do not know anyone who could do as much for Wheaton. The whole community at the University of Massachusetts Amherst knew who Dennis was. He developed a number of programs and activities for undergraduates that enriched their education. One example: He brought students to work with him in Ghana every summer. Very few people become expert in the whole range of activities that are required to bring 10 to 15 students abroad each summer. His personal commitment and energy are infectious.
  • Len SchlesingerBaker Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School and president emeritus of Babson College
    I have had the benefit and privilege of working with Dennis throughout my tenure as President of Babson College. He is simply one of the most genuinely engaged academic leaders I have ever known. He knows everybody around the college and everything that is going on; is equally comfortable at a faculty curriculum meeting, a student athletic or social event, a budgeting session or with community leaders on one of his regular Africa trips with students, staff and alumni. The Wheaton College community has made an inspired choice …working along with Dennis the college will reach heights and aspirations it has yet to imagine!”
  • Tommy RatliffProfessor of Mathematics at Wheaton College and a member of the Presidential Search Committee
    There are many reasons why I am enthusiastic about Dennis Hanno joining the Wheaton community, but two of the most important are his strong belief in the transformative power of a broad liberal arts education and his focus on the entire student experience where the curricular and co-curricular reinforce each other. These priorities mesh perfectly with the Wheaton community that works so well across disciplinary boundaries, and I see tremendous potential for our students, staff, and faculty to develop further in these areas under Dennis’s leadership.
  • M. Gabriela Torres, associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton College and a member of the Presidential Search Committee
    Hanno’s career has demonstrated a commitment to two things I am particularly passionate about: social justice and community. He writes broadly and for many audiences, making knowledge gained in academe applicable and accessible beyond the bubble. His writings― whether it is for budding entrepreneurs, university teachers, administrators of higher education or accountants― demonstrate an uncanny ability to do what our community does best: support knowledge-driven transformation.
  • Lisa Yenush '90Associate Director of athletics, senior women's administrator and a member of the Presidential Search Committee
    President Hanno's leadership style is one of passion and high energy and has been often described as contagious. His value on the holistic development of the student is inspiring.  Referred to as the 168 hour experience, it will motivate all members of the Wheaton community to continue to work collaboratively and explore new and innovative ways to provide a positive and supportive educational environment inside and outside of the classroom. The opportunities and engagement we provide to our students outside of the classroom can be best described as extra-curriculum and under President Hanno's guidance Wheaton will continue to push that initiative to new levels.  Change is a time to recommit, reenergize and be forward thinking, President Hanno's inspired leadership will help move Wheaton in the right direction.