Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

New institute connects humanities to careers

Since Nicholas Hall ’14 plans to go to law school, he hasn’t given much thought to the skills that medical doctors need to care for patients.

But after attending an hourlong panel at Wheaton on February 28 in which four medical doctors talked about their work, Hall said he was struck by the similarities between talents required of both doctors and lawyers.

“The ability to conduct an interview, ask questions, listen closely and build a relationship of trust with a patient or client applies to being an attorney, too,” he said. “There’s a real cross-application of skills.”

Hall arrived at his observation at the conclusion of Practicing Medicine and Practicing the Humanities, the inaugural event sponsored by the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH), co-founded and co-directed by Assistant Professor of Art History Touba Ghadessi and Associate Professor of History Yuen-Gen Liang.

The institute aims to enable students to take learning achieved in the classroom and apply it to real-world situations. Each year, a team of two professors will co-direct the institute by developing a cutting-edge theme and designing activities that explore it.  [Read more...]

The virtuous circle

John and Ann Kirkpatrick Runnette ’56

John and Ann Kirkpatrick Runnette ’56

Sunny Chen ’06 remembers the first time she met John and Ann Kirkpatrick Runnette ’56.

“I had just co-founded the Wheaton Investment Club with two classmates,” she recalls. “The Runnettes were so supportive of our initiative that they immediately promised seed funding to the investment club!”

Their investment in the club marked the start of a relationship between Chen and the Runnettes that has featured several big surprises.

The first came in 2006, when the economics major and Wheaton Posse Scholar graduated. The Runnettes, who were on campus for Ann Runnette’s 50th Reunion, attended the Posse celebration that followed Commencement. “We just think she’s a lovely person,” Ann Runnette says. “When she graduated, we met her parents and many of her family members at graduation.”

The Runnettes were so moved by the ceremony that they decided to name their Wheaton Fund Scholarship in Chen’s honor. “I was very surprised and humbled,” admits Chen, who prefers to see the honor as symbolic. [Read more...]

Creating learning opportunities from research grants

Professor Matthew EvansProfessor Matthew Evans and four Wheaton students will spend the next three summers above the Arctic Circle seeking to better understand how the melting of Greenland’s glaciers will contribute to rising sea levels.

“The big question is how the Disko Bay system has responded to temperature changes in the recent past,” Professor Evans said. “The hope is that we can better predict how warming will impact the system in the future. It’s an important system, with one of the fastest-advancing and iceberg-producing glaciers on Earth.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $139,104 grant to Evans for the research effort, which will also take the Wheaton team to the National Ice Core Lab in Denver, Colo., to analyze the 100-meter ice cores they will collect in Greenland. [Read more...]

Gentlemen Callers set stage for future

Gentlemen Callers

Gentlemen Callers board members: Austin Simko ’09, Alexander Grover ’09, Mark Mckone-Sweet ’92

The way that Mark McKone-Sweet ’92 remembers it, the first Gentlemen Callers had no idea that they were forming a group that would last beyond the semester. That makes it all the more remarkable that the male a cappella ensemble is approaching the 25th anniversary of its founding.

To celebrate, and to put the group in position for another 25 years or more, former members of the Gentlemen Callers decided to create a formal organization, the Gentlemen Callers Alumni Union, and establish a $100,000 endowment to support the student group into the future.

The fundraising effort pays forward the generosity that helped the original Gentlemen Callers prosper.

“We should never let go of the fact that we wouldn’t be here without the help of the Whims and the Wheatones, the Alumnae/i Relations Office, the dean of students and many others,” said McKone-Sweet, who serves on the group’s board of directors along with fellow alumni and a current student. [Read more...]