Stengel graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and won a Rhodes Scholarship to study English and art history at Oxford. He began writing for Time in 1981, served variously as national editor, culture editor, and managing editor of Time.com, and became the magazine’s top editor in 2006. He has also written for The New Yorker, The New Republic, Spy and the New York Times.
Stengel collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. He is also author of the 2010 book, Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage.
In 1999, Stengel left Time for a while to serve as an advisor and speechwriter for then presidential candidate Bill Bradley, and from 2004 to 2006 he was president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a museum and education center in Philadelphia.
A staunch advocate of community service and volunteerism, Stengel co-moderated the Presidential Forum on National Service, held at Columbia University on Sept. 11, 2008. In this forum, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain answered questions about their policy positions on national service.
Stengel will receive an honorary degree at Commencement, as will Wheaton alumnae Wyneva Johnson ’71, Susan Stampler Paresky ’68 and Hope Hamilton Pettegrew ’61.
Johnson lives in Washington, D.C., where she works as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She has been given the Attorney General’s Award for Superior Performance for her work on nine employment discrimination trials in the District of Columbia.
Paresky is senior vice president for development at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She has served Wheaton in many capacities, including as a trustee for 10 years.
Pettegrew is the co-founder of Cobblestone, a history magazine for children. She currently devotes her time to community service for organizations such as a Monadnock-area homeless shelter, the American Cancer Society, the Sharon Arts Center and the United Way. She was a Wheaton trustee for 15 years.