Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Michael Graca

Michael Graca is the college's Assistant Vice President for Communications.

President Feature

Championing the liberal arts

Ronald A. Crutcher reflects on 10-year presidency

At the end of this academic year, President Crutcher will leave Wheaton. Here, the Quarterly notes his contributions to the college and the world of higher education, through images, comments from the Wheaton community, and a recent interview in which he discusses the enduring value of the liberal arts. 
2005: Wheaton Trustee Emerita Patricia King ’63 places medallion on the president at his inauguration. (Michael Dwyer photo)

2005: Wheaton Trustee Emerita Patricia King ’63 places medallion on the president at his inauguration. (Michael Dwyer photo)

“Mentoring is important to me and to Betty,” the president says, leaning forward over the table in his Park Hall office.

“It’s important to me because I wouldn’t be the person that I am today were it not for Elizabeth Potteiger, my cello teacher, who was one of the first persons outside of my parents to be a mentor to me,” he says. “As a result of getting to know her and studying the cello with her, I made a pledge to myself that I wanted to do for others what she had done for me.”

2011: President Crutcher and Betty Neal Crutcher host a holiday gathering with the students they mentor. (Nicki Pardo photo)

2011: President Crutcher and Betty Neal Crutcher host a holiday gathering with the students they mentor. (Nicki Pardo photo)

The president has told the story before in explaining his motivation for organizing a mentoring group each year, scheduling individual meetings and regular group sessions with as many as 40 students. His wife, Betty Neal Crutcher, who earned her Ph.D. studying models for cross-cultural mentoring, also has led her own mentoring group.

“For me, it’s a great opportunity,” he says. “It’s my way of staying connected to students and their concerns.”

2007: President Crutcher rehearses with Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Owen Young in Cole chapel.

2007: President Crutcher rehearses with Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Owen Young in Cole chapel. (Nicki Pardo photo)

The mentoring group reflects an essential belief that has been evident throughout his tenure at Wheaton as well as throughout his career: a liberal arts education that is personal and rigorous transforms lives.

His conviction about the worth of the liberal arts drove President Crutcher to lead a campus-wide strategic planning process that developed a holistic vision for building on the college’s distinctive Connections curriculum. The plan, Wheaton 2014: Transforming Lives to Change the World, has served as a blueprint for his presidency. It included major projects, such as Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton, the fundraising effort now in its final year, and construction of the Mars Center for Science and Technology, the largest building project in Wheaton history.

[Read more...]

Researching the record

Professor Gelber wins award for scholarship on higher education and the courts

Wheaton Professor Scott GelberScott Gelber, assistant professor of education, has won a prestigious national fellowship to support research into the judicial oversight of colleges and universities during the last 150 years.

He was chosen as one of 20 scholars nationwide to be a 2013–2014 Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The fellowship, which includes a $55,000 award, will support Gelber’s work in constructing an understanding of changing legal and public views on student access to higher education from legal rulings that date back to the 1860s.

Gelber said his preliminary findings indicate that “previous scholars have seriously underestimated early judicial oversight of college access” as it relates to admission, tuition and expulsions. Such insights are particularly relevant in light of recent court cases concerning the proper consideration of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic background on college admission decisions.

[Read more...]

Developing opportunities

Senior wins award for Peruvian development effort

650_Molly Skaltsis 13Molly Skaltsis ’13 spent her summer working to help a small village in the Peruvian Andes to develop an ecotourism business centered around one of the world’s largest waterfalls.

After graduation, she joined a nonprofit organization in working with the community of Cuispes to develop the trails and other amenities needed for tourists to trek to the Yumbilla waterfall in northern Peru.

Skaltsis was awarded a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to purchase materials and to hire skilled labor needed to complete the trail, a native plant nursery and a lodge to enable two-day treks through the region’s pristine cloud-forest environment. [Read more...]

GoBeyond-feature

Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton

Progress in numbers

The generosity of alumnae/i, parents and friends is delivering benefits to our students across campus through gifts to Go Beyond: Campaign for Wheaton.

Science center:

$36,118,382 committed to expanding and enhancing science facilities through the Mars Center for Science and Technology.

Goal: $35 million

Student scholarships:

$43,180,449 committed to increasing scholarship support for Wheaton students and their families.

Goal: $50.6 million

Annual support:

$30,735,801 contributed to the Wheaton Fund since July 1, 2005. Alumnae/i, parents and friends committed $4,053,453 from July 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013.

Goal: $4.5 million for fiscal year 2013 (ended on June 30, 2013); $34.4 million by June 30, 2014

Student-faculty research: 

$1,408,388 committed to support student-faculty research collaborations through the establishment of endowed funds for that purpose.

Artificial turf field: 

$3,138,735 committed for construction of an artificial turf field and lighting to expand opportunities for intercollegiate, club and intramural sports.

Goal: $3,865,000 by June 30, 2013