Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College History

Academics

1962-1975

William C. H. Prentice

In 1962, Trustees found Dr. Meneely's successor in William Courtney Hamilton Prentice (1915-2013), a psychology professor and administrator from Swarthmore College, who was to hold the Wheaton presidency until 1975. In completing the building program necessary to accommodate an enrollment that grew to 1200, President Prentice oversaw the creation of Meadows residence hall, Chase Square, and Clark Recreation Center. Additionally, in 1966, the college constructed the Elisabeth Amen Nursery School to replace the school built in 1931, one of the first laboratory nursery schools in the country.

Most importantly, Wheaton completed its first successful capital and endowment campaign, enabling the construction of a new Science Center in 1968.

Dr. Prentice's tenure was a difficult period for education: tuition hikes, curriculum and lifestyle changes, and student protests and strikes were faced by many colleges across the country. Parietals, traditions, and beliefs about authority changed dramatically in the 1960s -70s, as the women's movement strengthened.

Wheaton students and faculty joined in nationwide campus protests against United States actions in Indochina in 1970. In 1971, in the face of a faculty vote supporting Wheaton's Change to coeducation, Prentice and the Trustees recommitted the college to women's education.

In 1975, "Bill" Prentice and his beloved wife, Elsie (Benton) Doty, were awarded honorary degrees, and the endowed William C. H. & Elsie D. Prentice Chair was established by trustees, faculty and friends.

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