Couple establishes scholarship endowment
Susan Walden Wieland ’60 and her husband, John, recently established an endowed scholarship fund at Wheaton in Susan’s name and to honor President Ronald A. Crutcher’s service to the college. John recently talked about the couple’s connection to Wheaton and their motivation for their contribution to the college.
About Susan and John Wieland
The Wielands moved to Atlanta one year after they married. They founded a home-building business, John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, growing it into a company operating in four states. John estimates that he has built more than 30,000 homes in his career. They have two children—a daughter, Lindsey, and a son, Jack.
The pair are art lovers and active philanthropists in Atlanta. John has served for more than 20 years on the board of directors of the High Museum of Art, including three as chair of the board. The couple’s personal art collection numbers more than 600 pieces and is focused on art in all media where the theme of houses represents a central image.
Susan has played a leadership role in a number of nonprofits, including the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, the Westminster Schools, Families First, Atlanta Children’s Shelter and the Alliance Theatre, among others. Wheaton presented her with an Alumnae/i Achievement Award in 2008 in recognition of her service to the community.
How did you both come to be supporters of the college?
Wheaton was Sue’s life for four years, and we met thanks to an Amherst College fraternity brother of mine who married one of Sue’s Wheaton classmates. They thought we would be right for each other, and they were correct. Since our marriage 50 years ago, Wheaton has been a shared interest for both of us. For the past 10 years we have tremendously admired how President Crutcher has led Wheaton.
Why did you decide to create the endowed fund at this time?
We both have become concerned by the financial crisis that is faced by far too many undergraduates when their family’s circumstances change and the student and their family are no longer able to handle the academic bills and related expenses. Our gift is designated to supporting students who are currently enrolled but end up facing these unfortunate situations, and find staying enrolled a major, perhaps even impossible, challenge—all through no fault of their own.
Why did you direct your gift to scholarship support?
To provide such scholarship help is something that Sue and I believe in as a very productive use of our money. We are simply grateful that we are able to provide this kind of assistance to students at Wheaton, recognizing not only the importance of Wheaton in Sue’s life, but also the powerful role that President and Mrs. Crutcher have played in the development of Wheaton as a leading liberal arts college.
What do you value most about Wheaton?
We are firm believers in the power of a liberal arts education to transform and enrich lives. We look forward to sharing the blessings that we have received through our liberal arts educations with others. Hopefully, the scholarship recipients, through their liberal arts experience, will have a deeper and more meaningful life. Allowing men and women to complete their Wheaton dream is the completion of a dream for us.