Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Fueling social change

Keaton Schrank ’19, president of the Community Service Council, leads students on a rainy day campus cleanup in the woods. (Nicki Pardo photo)

Service has been a big part of sophomore Keaton Schrank’s life since childhood. Doing the right thing quickly became a passion, leading her to create a recycling program at age 10 with her father when they moved to a new neighborhood in Texas; organize a communitywide garage sale for charity; and take on many other projects.

That ongoing commitment to helping to improve society this spring earned her a Campus Compact 2017 Newman Civic Fellowship, which is awarded to students engaged in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Fellows are provided with a variety of learning and networking opportunities as well as a pathway to scholarships and post-graduate opportunities. They also are invited to attend the 2017 Newman Civic Fellows national conference that takes place in Boston in November. [Read more...]

Matisse up close

Professor co-curates MFA exhibition of artist at work 

Assistant Professor of Art History Ellen McBreenMuseum visitors this spring got a chance to see something they don’t often see, thanks to Associate Professor of Art History Ellen McBreen. She co-curated the exhibition “Matisse in the Studio,” which ran at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from April 9 through July 9, and will be at the Royal Academy in London from August 5 through November 12. She also co-edited an accompanying book. This is the first international exhibition to exclusively focus on the influence of Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) art objects and provide rare archival photographs of him in the studio. The objects are presented with the artwork. McBreen, the author of Matisse’s Sculpture: The Pinup and the Primitive, has been working on the exhibition and its accompanying catalog for the past five years. We asked her about this project, which originated with her own research.

How did objects influence his view of the world? [Read more...]

Close-knit

Wheaton works to build community together

They showed up one by one and in large groups; in dresses and high heels, in athletic team uniforms and sneakers. They were students, professors, staff members, campus visitors; headed directly there or on their way elsewhere but drawn in—showing up in the early morning light as well as in the dark with hand-held glow sticks.

People couldn’t resist participating in the Unity Project, the interactive yarn-based art piece that developed string by string on the Dimple last fall. The project that was started nationwide by visiting artist Nancy Belmont and brought to campus by Professor Kelly Goff was meant to get the college community thinking about how we are all connected, even as we link ourselves and others to certain labels.

It served as the perfect visual metaphor for an academic year full of events, presentations, webcasts, faculty-led conversations and student-driven acts of social engagement—all part of the Building Community Together initiative that President Dennis M. Hanno began in 2015. The ongoing initiative seeks to foster an inclusive and welcoming community that appreciates and learns from diversity. [Read more...]

Talking about conversation

Provost Renée T. WhiteMagazine editor Sandy Coleman sat down with Provost Renée T. White to talk about the Community Conversations series that the provost started at Wheaton last fall. Inspired in response to racially charged incidents in the news at that time, the ongoing series aims to stimulate discussion, debate, reflection and a desire to take action. 

Sandy Coleman: The first conversation was “The Role of Colleges in Times of National Racial Crisis.” What do you think that role is?

Renée T. White: We are a place about learning, generating new ideas and facing challenges. So, we should be able to use that in response to social questions. Colleges and universities prepare students to be able to function in the world in ways that show that they are civically engaged, that they do their homework about big issues and that they’re open to understanding broader perspectives. That’s sort of the long-term role. The more immediate role involves organizing opportunities for critical thinking and engagement.

Coleman: How did the conversation series get off the ground? [Read more...]