Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A box seat in the presidential arena

Neil Levesque ’93 heads New Hampshire Institute of Politics

If you want to find Neil Levesque, look to the back of the room. Or scan the edge of the crowd. When politicians and pundits storm into town in the weeks before the New Hampshire presidential primary, he likes to stand back. But he’s always at the center of activity.

As executive director of the nonpartisan New Hampshire Institute of Politics, housed at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, Levesque is happily engaged in a job that allows him to promote electoral politics and American democracy in action.

When he’s not with candidates who are out on the campaign trail, Levesque stages events at the institute for front-runners and long shots alike; assists the reporters and producers who cover them; and helps manage a dynamic academic environment for students and others interested not only in political science but in the color and commotion of authentic political practice.

“I’m just a facilitator,” says the 1993 Wheaton graduate with characteristic modesty. “I help politicians do their job.”

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Creative collaborations

Students enrich education by partnering with professors

One of the hallmarks of a Wheaton liberal arts education is the close working relationship that students have with faculty members, both inside and outside of the classroom. That is most clear in the collaborations that occur all year long between students and professors across disciplines—from English to science. Both sides benefit from joint intellectual pursuits that teach, inspire and fuel creative thinking and problem solving. And often their teamwork extends well beyond the campus to help others.

Here, we share a few of those endeavors from the fall semester. [Read more...]

From Wheaton to the Supreme Court

Prosecutor Premila “Prem” Burns ’71 puts victims first

Victims of crime deserve sound legal counsel from their attorneys—and also basic human compassion.

Premila “Prem” Burns ’71, an award-winning attorney from Baton Rouge, La., who has worked on some of the country’s highest-profile cases, strives to offer both.

The Wheaton alumna has dedicated more than four decades to a career in public service, working as both a federal and a state prosecutor. Burns’s trials are high-visibility ones that feature homicide, rape and police misconduct.

Throughout her career, Burns has provided legal counsel and forged special bonds with victims of crime—including the six children of Cpl. Betty Smothers, a police officer and single mother murdered in 1993 in Baton Rouge, La. For that case, she successfully convicted the killer.

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Change makers

President Hanno, students, professors fuel entrepreneurial spirit in Africa

PrintBack when Dennis M. Hanno was growing up on an isolated farm in upstate New York, he would not have believed it if you’d told him he would one day transform the lives of teenagers in Africa. “I was a curious kid, but not about global travel,” Hanno said. “We never went anywhere.”

Fast-forward half a century, though, and talk to Jonathan Iyandemye, a 21-year-old Rwandan now attending Harvard: He’ll tell you in no uncertain terms that the efforts of Wheaton’s president have made all the difference in the world to him.

“The impact he’s had is immeasurable,” Iyandemye said recently from his home outside Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. “You can’t talk about it or write about it enough. I feel like I owe who I am to him and a few other people like him who invested in me generously and selflessly, and who believed in me and saw the potential in me.”

“And it’s not just me,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there who have had such a change from Dennis Hanno’s work. I’m just so, so grateful to him.”

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