Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Office of the President

President’s Blog

  • Reaching out to refugees

    A call to extend our inclusive and diverse campuses to the world

    Higher education extends opportunity to individuals, strengthens communities and advances human knowledge. As educational leaders, we are committed to the mission of improving the world by developing and disseminating ideas. On our campuses, we seek to realize this ambition by fostering a diverse, global community in which ideas are civilly discussed, respectfully debated and openly shared.

    The current executive order on immigration, which was signed on Friday, January 27, endangers the broadly diverse learning environment that is essential to our mission.This new policy implies that international students are neither needed nor wanted. This is false, and we must counter that divisive message.

    To promote our mission, we announce today our intention to offer a full scholarship to a student refugee from a war-torn country with a special preference from one of the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    At the same time, we urge our country’s leaders to end swiftly the ban on welcoming refugees and foreign nationals to sustain the productive exchange of ideas and viewpoints that make our institutions of higher learning such fertile ground for expanding knowledge and hope.

    We call on our colleagues at institutions of higher education across the country to join us in making a clear statement about the importance of diversity and openness on our campuses. By providing scholarship support to refugees from these countries, we extend the hand of opportunity and friendship to those who need it most and offer a model to our nation for more constructive engagement with the world.

    College and university presidents can sign on to the statement by emailing info@wheatoncollege.edu.

    Dennis M. Hanno

  • Wheaton's global community

    The college is committed to maintaining a safe and environment for all as well as its international nature.

    On Friday, the President of the United States signed an executive order imposing entry restrictions on people from seven specific countries. As a global community, Wheaton is affected by this order. I want to make it clear that the college will do everything in its power to maintain a secure and safe environment for all students and members of the college community.

    The diversity of our campus, which includes students from across the US and from more than 70 other countries, is a source of strength. I realize that the shifting national dialogue is causing many to feel more vulnerable and insecure, but you have my commitment that we will pursue every means available to create a secure environment for all.

    We remain committed to maintaining the privacy of student and personnel records. This includes not releasing information about immigration status unless compelled by law or court order. Our campus police are not involved in the enforcement of immigration laws and will not voluntarily assist in such efforts.

    We have already offered support to members of our community who we believe are impacted by this executive order. If you are affected and have not heard from us, please contact me. We will continue to monitor potential changes to federal policy closely. And we will continue to seek opportunities to advocate on behalf of members of our community whose rights may be at risk.

    I also want to ensure that students, faculty and staff know they can turn to college offices—from the Center for Global Education to Counseling and Health Services and many other offices—for assistance or for guidance in identifying resources. If you don't know where to go, feel free to start with me.

    Wheaton prides itself on its commitment to creating an inclusive campus environment that values the contributions and perspectives of every individual. It is times like this that provide us with the opportunity to build an even stronger community and to serve as a model for other colleges and for society as a whole. My hope is that the anger, confusion and pain created by events like this will result in positive, powerful and respectful dialogue and action on campus and beyond. Let's join together to support each other and to make Wheaton a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all.

    Dennis M. Hanno

  • Webcast: Scientific Frontiers

    Find out what faculty and students are discovering in the college’s science labs during the next Lyons Lunch and Learning webcast.

    RS167769_Organic Chemistry_043-scr

    Wheaton professors and students are asking big questions and making exciting discoveries.

    The next webcast in the Lyons Lunch and Learn series will explore teaching, learning and research in the Mars Center for Science and Technology. The program will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

    President Dennis M. Hanno will talk with faculty and students about their work in the sciences and sample a few of the many research efforts underway at Wheaton.

    This is an interactive program. You will be able to ask questions during the webcast, or submit questions in advance. Register to receive program updates and a reminder email on the morning of the program.

  • Webcast: Creating change

    Learn about programs that help students put ideas into action to improve the world and as a way to learn about leadership.

    Ian Opaluch ’17

    Student interns gather for a meeting at MassChallenge in Boston.

    New Wheaton programs help students put ideas into action to improve the world and as a way to learn about leadership.

    The next webcast in the Lyons Lunch and Learning series will explore the college's new programs on social innovation and social entrepreneurship, which have been launched with support from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. 

    President Hanno will be joined by Marcia Coné, the college's Entrepreneur in Residence, and students to talk about these vital and innovative new initiatives. 

    Join the conversation by tuning into the webcast on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET. If you register in advance, you will receive a reminder email on the morning of the program.

  • 14100548_10154442290358328_3017771539061602791_n Seeing others

    Professor of Economics Russell Williams on creating an inclusive community


    Professor of Economics Russell Williams delivers the keynote address "Building Community Together" at the 2016 Opening Convocation Ceremony.

  • Webcast: Building Community Together

    On the next Lyons Lunch and Learn webcast, President Dennis M. Hanno will talk about the college’s efforts to foster an inclusive learning environment

    Students can learn so much from each other, particularly considering the range of backgrounds and experiences that Wheaton students bring to campus from the 39 states and 72 countries that they represent.

    What does Wheaton do to create an inclusive environment in which this learning and sharing takes place? And how are the college’s efforts affected by the prejudice, political discord and violence making headlines in the wider world.

    On the next Lyons Lunch and Learning webcast, President Dennis M. Hanno will talk about the college’s efforts to foster an inclusive learning environment as well as the work beginning to develop a strategic plan to further the college’s progress.

    President Hanno will be joined by members of the community who are taking the lead on college efforts to strengthen inclusion, diversity, and community. The discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 15.

    Join the conversation. How do you view the importance of diverse viewpoints on a college campus? What might Wheaton do to promote an inclusive environment that encourages students to learn from each other, from differences as well as similarities?

    Share your thoughts or ask a question of President Hanno and our students by sending a message in advance to lyonslunch@wheatoncollege.edu. And register for the webcast today.

  • Wheaton-Pride Being together and standing together

    The Wheaton community will gather on Monday, June 13, to stand together against hate and intolerance.

    This past Saturday, almost 100 Wheaton community members came together to represent the college for the first time in the Boston Pride Parade. Those marching represented all segments of this great community - faculty, staff, students, alumnae/i, family members, and friends. Being together at such an exciting event was incredibly fun, but more importantly it was incredibly uplifting to see so many community members stand together to celebrate values that are so important to Wheaton: diversity, unity and dignity.

    Unfortunately, the tragic and senseless events this past weekend in Orlando remind us that there are others who do not share these values with us. An attack such as this is an attack on all of us. We owe it to each other to cry out against those who would deny any of us our freedom, our right of expression, and our dignity. Even as such events become all too common, we cannot become jaded or choose to ignore them. We must stand together to express our unity and to become stronger.

    I invite you to stop by this afternoon (Monday, June 13) in Cole Chapel at 3:30 p.m. to express your sympathy for the victims and their families, as well as to show your solidarity as we come together to stand together. While I know that many of our community members are not here on campus at this time of year, I invite all of you to be there in spirit. No matter where you are, you know what a special place the Chapel is and how it so often has served as a rallying place and place of healing for our community. Wherever you are, please pause at 3:30 this afternoon to think about those of us on campus gathering in the Chapel. Join us in spirit and remember your connection to this special community. We need you, just as we all need to stand together to support those affected by this tragic event and to prevent things like this from ever happening again.
    Our banner from the Pride Parade on Saturday will be publicly displayed on campus today to further show our support for the victims of the Orlando tragedy. I hope it also serves to remind you of the incredible power of acting on our values. #WheatonMApride
  • Lyons Lunch and Learn Webcast: Life after Wheaton

    Learn about liberal arts with a real-world Wheaton Edge

    Join President Dennis M. Hanno to learn more about life after Wheaton and preparing for it.

    This Lyons Lunch and Learning webcast will explore the programs and services the college offers to help students connect academic study and the world of work.

    The program will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, on the college’s YouTube channel.

    You will hear directly from students and graduating seniors who share their internship, work and study plans, and how they make the connection to their studies on campus.

    Share your thoughts or ask a question of President Hanno and our students by sending a message in advance to lyonslunch@wheatoncollege.edu. And register for the webcast today.


  • Tale of Two Wheatons

    It is increasingly important to clearly articulate and promote our identity and values.

    As the nationwide debate regarding the potential dismissal of a faculty member at the OTHER Wheaton continues, it is of increasing importance for OUR Wheaton College community to clearly articulate and promote our identity and values.

    In an effort to clarify our identity and the values of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, I wrote an essay about the current controversy and our situation, which was published by the Washington Post.

    You can help in the effort to clarify the identity and values of Wheaton College in Massachusetts by sharing this page through your social media accounts with family, friends and acquaintances.

    Dennis M. Hanno

    Previous Statements

    • Webcast: Scientific Frontiers

      Webcast: Scientific Frontiers

      Find out what faculty and students are discovering in the college’s science labs during the next Lyons Lunch and Learning webcast.



  • Affirming freedom
    A statement on current issues in the news and misidentification of Wheaton College

    Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, is firmly committed to individual, academic and religious freedom as a cornerstone of its liberal arts mission. Some individuals have confused Wheaton in Massachusetts with an institution in Illinois that shares the same name, but is in no way affiliated with our college.

    Let me be clear: The Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., has not suspended a faculty member, a staff member or a student for expressing religious or personal beliefs. Our Wheaton affirms the freedom of faculty, staff and students to share their beliefs while respecting the human rights and dignity of others.

    In fact, The Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., values an inclusive approach to education and the world, welcoming people from every race, ethnic or national background, religious tradition and sexual orientation. We believe that this commitment lies at the heart of our academic mission and is rooted in our founding in 1834 as an institution dedicated to providing opportunity to women.

    Today, as a college coeducational institution with students from 39 states and 72 countries, we carry forward this dedication to excellence and equality. Our unwavering focus on these ideals has resulted in more than 200 Wheaton students winning prestigious international scholarships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall and Fulbright awards, since 2000. For 10 consecutive years, the college has ranked among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the nation, when it comes to preparing students to win Fulbright Scholarships for advanced study and work abroad.