Community Updates from President Hanno to Wheaton Alumni

Letter from Josh Bauchner ’95

It’s been a little over a month since I last communicated with you, and I want to say how much I appreciate the response to that message, which is archived on the Wheaton Blog. So many alumni reached out to share positive feedback and to ask how they can help.  Going forward, I will be communicating monthly to make sure that every member of our Wheaton College Alumni Association is well informed on the latest news from the college and to let you know how you can get more involved.

So much has changed in the world and in our community. But the mission of Wheaton College – to provide a transformative liberal arts education to intellectually curious students in a collaborative, academically vibrant residential community that values a diverse world –  remains strong. Though the college’s residential community is pursuing studies remotely, the efforts of today’s Wheaton undergraduates should make us all feel very proud. I, for one, cannot wait to welcome the Class of 2020 into the ranks of Wheaton alumni at our virtual Commencement on May 16, 2020.

Of course, Commencement would not be complete without celebrating our classes and friendships at Reunions.  Although we will not be able to gather together in May, many classes are planning virtual “parlor” happy hours. The Alumni Board of Directors is working with the College to celebrate second, fifth and tenth reunions in the Fall, and more senior reunions for next May which, excitedly, will be “cluster reunions” with that year’s normally reunioning class (i.e., the classes of 1995 and 1996 will celebrate together).

Keeping Our Community Connected

I am excited to announce that President Hanno, Board of Trustees Chair Janet Lindholm Lebovitz ’72, and I will host an online Wheaton Town Hall after Commencement on May 16. This meeting will be open to all Wheaton alumni and will feature the President’s Annual State of the College address. We will be posting more information on the Town Hall event in the coming weeks, but please be sure to save the date—May 16.

For those of you who can’t wait, the college recently held a virtual Welcome to Wheaton Day for admitted students and their families. It included terrific panel discussions on:

  • Academics at Wheaton: President Hanno talking with faculty members
  • Wheaton Experiences: President Hanno chatting with current students
  • Financial Aid: Director of Student Financial Services Susan Beard ’90 answering common questions and addressing current concerns

All of these panels are available for viewing on the website and we encourage you to watch them to learn exactly how the college is successfully responding to the challenges that higher education is confronting today.

Additionally, in an effort to centralize alumni communications, I am pleased to share a resource on our Alumni website that is dedicated to keeping the Wheaton community connected during these challenging times. Connect Virtually provides curated content for Wheaton alumni, parents, and families to stay informed and enjoy some fun and games during this extended period of social distancing. I can’t stress enough how important it is that we stay engaged with one another and with Wheaton.

Thriving In A Competitive Higher Education Marketplace

Long before the pandemic changed the way we live our daily lives, the college was engaged at all levels in responding to the demands of an ever-changing and ever more competitive higher education marketplace.  The Board of Trustees, President’s Council, faculty, staff, and, of course, our students, all have collaborated to ensure Wheaton will thrive for another 185 years, and beyond.

The exciting new Compass Curriculum includes new efforts to expand Wheaton’s already diverse academic offerings. As Provost Renée White has explained, “The Compass Curriculum encourages students to figure out who they are and to create a more personalized pathway that can translate into their aspirations once they graduate, and that sets them up for success. The curriculum allows for exploration. It encourages risk-taking. It requires that students be able to explain what they’re learning, how it connects, and how it relates to professional opportunities.”

Supporting Students

I would like to thank those of you who have made gifts to the Emergency Student Relief Fund which was launched in March by the Wheaton Fund. This support is helping to immediately meet the unexpected financial pressures that many Wheaton students are facing during the pandemic. If you haven’t yet joined your fellow alumni in supporting the Emergency Relief Fund, I urge you to consider making a gift now.

Moving Forward

I know that, like me, you love Wheaton College and cherish the liberal arts education that prepared you so well. We will gather on the Dimple again. We will join one another in Cole Memorial Chapel again. We will be together in gatherings large and small around the world to toast life abundantly. Until then, we need to keep close the ties that hold our community together. We will get through these challenges, and we will celebrate all that Wheaton College has given us.

In closing, I would like to thank the 700-plus alumni volunteers who serve Wheaton in a host of roles—some in leadership and many in unsung capacities. Last week was National Volunteer Week and I ask you all to join me in thanking our loyal Wheaton volunteers once again today for everything that they do for our alma mater by donating to the Student Relief Fund in their honor.

Sincerely,

Joshua Bauchner ’95
President Alumni Association
Chair of the Alumni Board of Directors