Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Creating community

Diana Davis Spencer ’60

Nathania Aritao ’12, Aaron Bos-Lun ’12, Vladyslav Stadnyk ’12, Diana Davis Spencer ’60, Onyedikachi Udeoji ’12 and He Zhou ’12.

Diana Davis Spencer ’60 knows students, lots of them.

When the trustee emerita talks about Wheaton, she peppers her comments with anecdotes about recent visits she’s had with current students as well as updates on the lives of recent graduates from every corner of the globe.

“I enjoy getting to know students,” Spencer says. “When I was a member of the Board of Trustees, serving on the Student Trustee Liaison Committee was a highlight for me.”

She still makes students her priority. Spencer traveled to campus in May before Commencement to share lunch with five Davis United World College scholars who were about to graduate. Since then, she has met with two of those students: one while passing through New York City; another visited her Washington, D.C., home. [Read more...]

Goodbye, hello

I’ve been thinking a lot about endings and beginnings over the past few months in working on the fall issue of the magazine. With Commencement being the ultimate symbol of both, I can’t help it.

I don’t know how parents, faculty members and staff members watch this ceremony over and over again. The experience is such an emotion-filled mix of joy and sadness—joy for the students you’ve watched bloom and accomplish so much over the past four years, sadness about the fact that they now have come to the end of their journey at Wheaton and are off to their next beginning, the next chapter in their lives. My son just turned 13 this summer, but I’m already happy/sad that one day I’ll be watching him do this.

I interacted regularly with several of the 2012 graduating students over the past four years, offering advice, listening to hopes, dreams and doubts. So I was more acutely aware than ever of their absence this summer after Commencement as I walked the empty campus.  [Read more...]

Revolution and evolution

One sentence from an article published by the New York Times last spring has stayed with me.

“Last fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries enrolled in an Artificial Intelligence course taught by [Sebastian] Thrun and Peter Norvig, a Google colleague.”

While the enrollment for the Stanford course struck me as incredible at the time, I’ve read about a number of other MOOCs (or massive open online courses, as they are called) in recent days and learned about other class enrollment lists that ran to six digits. [Read more...]

Destiny by design

Commencement panorama

This photo, by Nicki Pardo, comprises six photos stitched together, all taken as Janet Robinson, former CEO of the New York Times Company, addressed the Class of 2012. Click on the image to view it larger.

[Read more...]