Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Embrace uncertainty

Richard Stengel

Stengel urges graduates to acknowledge doubt but get in the game

At a time when any kind of information is just a few clicks away, critical thinking is more crucial than ever, Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, told the Class of 2011 during Wheaton’s 176th Commencement in May.

In today’s mass media and across the spectrum of American politics, Stengel said he sees “an epidemic of certainty—people who are absolutely sure that they know they are right, and I find this a little irksome.... One of the things I am certain about is that certainty and democracy don’t go together.”

History is filled with leaders who know they are right, he said. “Who are they? Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi. Totalitarianism is the place for certainty, not democracy.”

Advising the 376 graduates to beware of ideas and theories that cannot be tested or evaluated, Stengel encouraged them to continue to value knowledge, which is more than a collection of easily accessible information. [Read more...]

Long-held passions fuel scholarly pursuits

This academic year Wheaton students won numerous prestigious national scholarships and awards, including Fulbrights, a Watson Fellowship and a Projects for Peace grant. Each of them is pursuing work based on long-held passions. Here are some of the winners:

Publications, honors and creative works: Faculty

Michael Drout, professor of English, published the article “The Cynewulf of Albert S. Cook: Philology and English Studies in America,” in English Studies (2011). Also, the article he co-wrote with professors Mark LeBlanc (computer science) and Michael Kahn (mathematics), and Christina Nelson ’11, “Of Dendrogrammatology: Lexomic Methods for Analyzing the Relationships among Old English Poems,” was published in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology (2011). [Read more...]

Publications, honors and creative works: Alumnae/i

Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62 published the article “Bowling Along: Early Travel Adventures of Mary Morris Vaux” about a formerly unknown travelogue, written in 1877 by Mary Vaux Walcott (1860–1940). It appeared in the historical journal Quaker History.

Anne McClure ’88 last November received an EMC Distinguished Engineer award, which was given to only 42 out of 47,000 employees at EMC. The honor recognizes individual technical contributors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and a broad range of leadership across the company.

Joshua Pierce ’99, a portfolio manager at Baystate Wealth Management, was selected as a Boston 2011 Five Star Wealth Manager. The designation recognizes him as an expert in the areas of asset management, asset protection and full wealth management. The selection process is based on a survey administered to approximately 150,000 households as well as FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) professionals within the Boston area.

Lynda Tocci ’89 received a 2011 Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt Award from the Massachusetts Democratic Party at a dinner held in May. Hosted by the Massachusetts Democratic Party, the event honors members of the community who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to furthering the ideals of the Democratic Party through public service.