Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Commencement Reunion

Honorary degree recipients

Posted on May 21, 2011

  • Richard Stengel
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    [Read Richard Stengel's commencement address.]

    Healthy democracies require citizens willing to participate in public debate and civil society. As a man of both words and actions, Richard Stengel, you exemplify that ideal as a journalist, author, constitutional champion and national service advocate.

    As managing editor of Time magazine, you oversee one of the world’s oldest and largest magazines, reaching more than 20 million readers in print and online. Since taking the helm in 2006, you have reset Time for the 21st century, with a guiding philosophy to give readers knowledge, to explain the world with words that inform positive action. That mission has involved bold editorial decisions, such as choosing “You,” a reflection of everyday Internet users, as “Person of the Year 2006,” and running a powerful cover portrait of a young Afghani woman disfigured by the Taliban.

    You’ve consistently paired words with action in your own life, setting an example not only for your two young sons, but for all of us. You’ve excelled as a magna cum laude Princeton graduate and Rhodes Scholar, in a succession of writing and editing positions at Time, and as a commentator on network news shows.

    You’ve headed the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, established as a reminder that our national charter mandates civic engagement. You’ve collaborated with Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela on his best-selling autobiography. And you’ve authored several books of your own, including your most recent, Mandela’s Way.

    Richard Stengel, we salute your commitment to personal excellence, journalistic integrity and civic responsibility and we are proud to present you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

  • Wyneva Johnson '71
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    “Am I making a difference in others’ lives?”

    That is the question that undergirds everything you do, Wyneva Johnson—as an uncommon public servant, a tireless advocate for justice, and a firm believer in providing opportunities for future generations.

    It is the question that always guides you in your work as Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

    With law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown, you’ve tried criminal and civil cases, earning respect and recognition for your work and work ethic. In the Civil Division, where you currently represent federal agencies in district and appellate courts, you’ve been recognized as a Senior Litigation Counsel. And in 2009, you received the prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney—Civil, which acknowledged your success in employment discrimination jury trials. This accomplishment is particularly impressive in light of the difficulty inherent in trying employment cases in the District of Columbia.

    Wheaton also benefits from your dedication to making a difference. You have served the college as a member of the President’s Commission, an advisor to students and a key organizer of the 1997 Black Alumnae/i Reunion Weekend.

    Your career success and your commitment to encouraging others reflect well on your own favorite mentor, Professor Jay Goodman. Just as his admonition to strive for excellence has inspired you, your example inspires us. It is with great appreciation that we present you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of your accomplishments and your service.

  • Susan Stampler Paresky '68
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    You have described your life’s work as your “small way of adding value to the world.” Yet your “small way” yields big results, Susan Stampler Paresky. In raising millions of dollars to benefit health care and higher education, you have paired need with generosity, and vision with opportunity.

    Your work improves lives. The students who attend Wheaton, Harvard and Brandeis profit from your ability to bring people together for a cause. Now, as the head of fundraising for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, you’ve led a 200-member team in completing a $1 billion capital campaign that powers the effort to understand, diagnose, treat, cure and prevent cancer.

    You have said that the passion for your work comes from the unique capacity of philanthropy to add richness to the fabric of life. You know firsthand of what you speak. Your service as a Wheaton Trustee, and as a leader for other organizations, speaks of your generous spirit. Together with your husband, you established the Joseph M. and Susan Stampler Paresky Class of 1968 Fellowship for graduate studies.

    You’ve been equally steadfast in your willingness to mentor others, especially young women, in the development profession. Experienced fundraisers and aspiring newcomers alike regularly find an open door to your good advice and encouragement.

    Your professional accomplishments and your munificent spirit have brought you numerous awards. Today, we are proud to add one more. Susan Stampler Paresky, it is with great pleasure that we present you with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in acknowledgment and appreciation of your exemplary achievements and generosity.

  • Hope Hamilton Pettegrew ’61, P’87, P’89
    Doctor of Humane Letters

    An ancient sage once said: Where there’s life, there’s hope. We say: Where there’s Hope, there’s life—abundantly. Hope Pettegrew, you enrich the lives of others in everything you do.

    After teaching elementary school for several years, you co-founded Cobblestone, an American history magazine for young people. That magazine is still enlightening and entertaining children some 30 years later.

    For the past four decades, your story has been one of service. You have given your time and talents to a host of community organizations, notably the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter for the homeless, on whose board you serve. A music major at Wheaton, you have continued to pursue your love of the arts, volunteering for the Peterborough Players theater company for more than 30 years.

    You don’t just participate: you lead. Time and again you have taken on top governing roles, including board president of the transitional shelter. At Wheaton, you served as president of the Alumnae Association and a member of the Board of Trustees, playing a key role in the college’s transition to co-education and later being named Trustee Emerita. But your engagement didn’t begin—or end—there. You have served your fellow alumnae/i and your college in more key positions than we can name.

    Always a devoted mother and now a proud grandmother, you delighted in seeing your daughters, Caroline and Ann, graduate from Wheaton in the 1980s. As one admirer has said, your “love of family, friends and community are a lesson to all, young and old.”

    The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has honored you as both Citizen of the Year and a Legend in Business. Today we join them in recognizing your contributions with this Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

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