Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A reflection on Wheaton 80 years later

By Helen Williams Hill ’36

Helen Williams Hill ’36 now

Helen Williams Hill ’36 now

When I entered college in 1932, the country was at the bottom of the Great Depression. I had dreamed of going to Mount Holyoke, where my favorite aunt had graduated in 1913, but fulfillment of that dream was now out of the question. I had my choice of Radcliffe, Pembroke or Wheaton, all within commuting distance.

Though I had grown up in Taunton (20 miles from Providence, 35 from Boston, only eight miles from Norton), I had never visited any of these campuses. My father didn’t have a car. Wheaton sounded the most appealing because it was a college for women only, not subordinate to a men’s university. I applied, was given a scholarship, and began my commute on the little orange bus that rattled its way from Taunton to Norton.

It’s hard to imagine compulsory attendance at chapel in a secular liberal arts college today, but we had to be on campus every weekday morning by 8 a.m. for morning chapel. Seniors wore their caps and gowns. As I dashed for chapel, I was joined by seniors running across campus, gowns flapping, to get to the chapel before the doors closed. There was room for the whole college, including faculty, for there were only about 400 students then (103 in my freshman class, the largest class ever). [Read more...]

Visit campus anytime

Illustrated online mapFeeling nostalgic? Can’t get to campus as often as you would like? Want to share what a great place this is with others? We’ve got a solution for you: Wheaton’s virtual interactive map. You can click around, see photos of buildings and life on campus, and read details about the spaces here, including about the home office of the Quarterly.

Try it out: map.wheatoncollege.edu

A big splash

It all began when Wheaton’s varsity swim team didn’t want to stop their activities at the end of the season, and “couldn’t bear to go to dinner for the rest of the year with dry hair,” according to one source. They solved their dilemma by organizing the Tritons in 1941, experimenting with stunts and formations. In April 1942, the Tritons produced their first show, “Marine Magic,” featuring 1890s swimsuits and a routine called “Peacock Pond by Moonlight.” For decades since, Wheaton’s synchronized swim team has made waves—racking up national awards, building camaraderie among student-athletes, and fostering lasting leadership skills generation after generation. In September, the college and the athletics department celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Tritons with a weekend of events on campus that brought together synchro team alums, current students and the local community for networking, a performance by the current synchro team, and other fun activities. Here is a look at the Tritons over the years and more in News and Events. [Read more...]

The student becomes the teacher

Ted Nesi ’07I was blessed during my time at Wheaton to be taught by a long list of wonderful professors. Darlene Boroviak, Anni Baker, Jay Goodman, Jerry Murphy, Gerry Huiskamp—the list goes on. They were smart and commanding teachers, but generous with their time and knowledge. I idolized them.

So it was a bit surreal—not to mention delightfully flattering—when Wheaton asked me to join their ranks and become a part-time journalism instructor this past spring semester. The English Department’s leaders said they hoped my experiences in my day job, as a political reporter for Rhode Island’s CBS-TV affiliate, would yield some useful insights for the 10 students in my class.

[Read more...]