Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Events help establish student-alum relationships

Hillary Shusterman ’14 participates with students and alums in a yoga session on Chapel Field during the new SWEATworking event.

Hillary Shusterman ’14 participates with students and alums in a yoga session on Chapel Field during the new SWEATworking event.

This May, several hundred students walked across the stage at Commencement and headed out into the world. But if Hillary Shusterman ’14, coordinator of alumnae/i relations, has her way, the new alums won’t go too far away from Wheaton—at least not mentally.

That’s because Shusterman, working with Becky Ebeling, senior associate director of alumnae/i relations, has spent months building relationships with graduating seniors to bring them into the strong alum network.

“We have 17,000 alums in our network who can help students with internships, jobs and networking opportunities,” Shusterman says. “We want to reach students early enough, so they know we are a resource.”

And, adds Ebeling, “The student-alum connection is an important part of what builds our community.” [Read more...]

Keeping the network strong across the miles

Alumnae/i and friends enjoy a Phillies game in June 2014. Back row: Jeannine Suwalski, Arthur “Ace” Brinkmann ’05, Kate Miller Brown ’95, Andrew Brown ’95; front row: Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62, guest, Michael Oppenheim ’09 and Laura Naden ’04

Alumnae/i and friends enjoy a Phillies game in June 2014. Back row: Jeannine Suwalski, Arthur “Ace” Brinkmann ’05, Kate Miller Brown ’95, Andrew Brown ’95; front row: Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62, guest, Michael Oppenheim ’09 and Laura Naden ’04

Walking the Wheaton campus during Homecoming or Reunion weekend, it’s easy to share memories and connect with friends and former classmates. But what about all the time between the special events and all the miles separating you from campus? How do you keep that shared Wheaton spirit alive?

Two words: regional chairs. They are the behind-the-scenes volunteers spread out all over the country who lead regional groups that bring Wheaton into the communities where they live. Through social, networking and educational events (including lectures by Wheaton professors), and local volunteer opportunities, regional chairs engage alumnae/i across the span of class years, and help keep them connected to each other and the college.

“We always say that when you can’t come to Wheaton, we’ll bring Wheaton to you,” says Becky Ebeling, senior associate director of alumnae/i relations and the campus point person for regional chairs. “The relationship between alumnae/i and Wheaton is a lifelong one. Regional activities help maintain and strengthen that connection by being Wheaton in an alum’s ‘backyard.’” [Read more...]

Answering a calling to support survivors

Indira Henard ’03

Indira Henard ’03

It was a 3 a.m. phone call that led Indira Henard ’03 to her life’s work. The year was 2007, and Henard was an aide for then Senator Barack Obama as well as a special assistant on his presidential campaign. She was also volunteering for the DC Rape Crisis Center, one of the nation’s oldest nonprofits dedicated to eradicating sexual violence.

In the middle of the night, the center called Henard to the hospital to support a woman who had been raped. Though she had been trained for the work, this was Henard’s first experience as a victim advocate.

What followed were seven grueling, emotional hours of waiting, interviews and tests. “That was a significant turning point for me,” she says. “I knew I wanted to make a difference.” [Read more...]

A work of heart

Professor emeritus, brother create ceremonial pieces

The maces and their makerFor the past two years, Professor of Psychology Emeritus David Wulff has been engaged in a project of the heart. With the help of his brother, Bernard—an architect, artist and woodworker—Wulff designed and created two ceremonial maces, symbols of authority used worldwide in formal processions at colleges and universities and on parliamentary occasions.

“They are my parting gift to Wheaton,” says Wulff, who retired in 2012 after 43 years at the college. The maces were used for the first time at the inauguration.

It was at his last Convocation that Wulff had an epiphany. Filling in as marshal for the ceremony, he carried a small, unassuming white baton. “I started thinking that Wheaton really needed a proper ceremonial mace, the ornamental descendant of the armor-piercing weapons once used to protect reigning monarchs,” he says.

Wulff wanted something worthy of the college he holds so dear. “Too many maces look like bedposts,” he says. After researching maces at other institutions, the brothers came up with the idea of a gyroscope to hold the college seal atop the mace. Guided by a picture of an antique gyroscope, Wulff created a prototype “constructed of embroidery hoops, gold paint, and a paper seal” that he presented to head administrators at Wheaton. [Read more...]