“Grace, integrity and devotion”

Wheaton community pays tribute

Dale Marshal-8“One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed retirement so much is that I knew Wheaton was in wonderful hands. Ron Crutcher is a fine human being and a savvy academic and artist. Don and I look forward to continued friendship with Ron, Betty and Sara.”

—Dale Rogers Marshall, former Wheaton College president


Championing the liberals arts: Ronald A. Crutcher reflects on 10-year presidency

Homecoming camapign meeting“President Crutcher has led our college with great success, grace, integrity and devotion. The trustees are most grateful for his leadership and thankful for his contributions. The goals that we set for his presidency—in consultation with the college community in 2003–2004—centered on our shared desire to strengthen Wheaton by building on its distinctive liberal arts curriculum, enhancing its academic reputation in the wider world and fully enlisting the active support of our extended community. Wheaton has made enormous strides forward in those areas, thanks to President Crutcher’s dedication to advancing the college. So much has been accomplished under his tenure.”

—Thomas Hollister, chair, Wheaton Board of Trustees


“Ron’s contributions to Wheaton as an institution are nothing short of remarkable. He has helped steer the college through an incredibly transformational time. Externally, the economy has put us in uncertain times. Many institutions pulled back, slowed major projects, and halted strategic growth plans. But Ron believed that when times were tough, that was the chance to invest deeply. And that we did. He believed that we would come out on top. Wheaton success during the last decade can be attributed to his leadership, his calm and caring way, and his willingness to listen. He has prepared us well for this next chapter. He will be missed dearly by the Wheaton community.”

—Kenneth Babby ’02, alumnae/i trustee 


Zoe Hack Keller '05“I had the pleasure of meeting Ron, Betty and their daughter Sara, when they came to Wheaton the spring before President Crutcher took office. Dean Sue had enlisted me to entertain Sara for the weekend, which ended up being the beginning of a deep friendship with the entire family. The Crutchers have brought so much to Wheaton—their warmth and friendship to all members of the Wheaton community, their thirst for learning and commitment to higher education, and their love of all things Wheaton, just to name a few.”

—Zoe Hack Keller ’05, former president, Alumnae/i Association 


Martin Jane 74“As president of the Alumnae/i Association, I am extremely grateful to Ron Crutcher for his decade of stewardship to Wheaton. He has been a constant friend of alumnae/i of all generations, and during my tenure, he has always been available to answer questions, discuss issues and solve problems. Each year, he has dedicated time and travel to regional events, giving personal testament to alums all over the country about Wheaton’s amazing students. During the 2012 blizzard, Ron made it to Washington, D.C., even when air travel had ceased in the Northeast.”

—Jane Martin ’74, P’11, president, Alumnae/i Association


“The most valuable thing I have learned from him is how to be a compassionate, hard-working individual. Hearing the stories about the obstacles he has overcome throughout his life to be as accomplished as he is today has inspired me to work harder and to hopefully become half of the person that he is today. One of his major contributions to Wheaton is that he has helped the student body become more diverse as well as international. He’s also very generous. He allows me to use a spare cello of his here at Wheaton. Before coming, I explained to him that I wanted to continue playing at Wheaton but didn’t own a cello. He offered me a cello he had received as a gift a few years ago to use throughout my time at Wheaton. This has allowed me to participate in the Great Woods Chamber Orchestra as well as the World Music Ensemble. I am very appreciative to him for this opportunity. I can also honestly say that President Crutcher (along with his wife) is one of the most important reasons why I came to Wheaton. When I met them during the spring before heading to school, I was still confused about where I should go. His generosity and welcoming personality showed me that Wheaton was the right choice.”

—Matthew McVety ’15, mentor group member


Shawn Anthony ChristianAssociate Professor of English“President Crutcher has a real sense of commitment that he displays in his professional and personal life. It is there in his work at Wheaton and in higher education in general. It is in his music as much as it is in his relationships with his family. Over the years, I have witnessed that sense of commitment and how it motivates him. Yes, there are many ways that he embodies that sense of commitment, but the times that I glimpsed President Crutcher and Betty Neal Cructher walking, hand in hand, to or from the Presidents’ House at the start or at the end of a day are the ones that I will always remember.”

—Shawn Christian, associate professor of English


“He’s a very admirable man and very forthcoming. I think President Crutcher’s major contribution regarding students is his level of openness and approachability. Although he is busy managing the school, whenever he is around campus, it is always easy to strike up a conversation with him or to get his opinions on certain matters.”

—Nana Asare ’15, mentor group member


Ann Sears, professor of music“When Ron and I taught an FYS together, ‘From the River Jordan to Jazz,’ I was struck by how appreciative the students were that he was so generous with his time. At the end of the semester, they presented him with the book that accompanied the Ken Burns series ‘Jazz.’ The student that the class asked to present the book said, ‘President Crutcher, we want you to have this book to help you remember our FYS and because we love you.’ It was so genuine and so heartfelt, and I think it expresses how many students feel about him, especially his students and his mentees.”

—Ann Sears, professor of music


Wheaton College Charlotte Meehan 2/2008“I have felt very fortunate to have a world-class musician as Wheaton’s president for the past ten years. Watching and hearing Ronald Crutcher play the cello is a transcendent experience that I will miss dearly. I’m sure President Crutcher’s cello students, whom he has generously given individual lessons over all these years, will miss him very much, too.”

—Charlotte Meehan, playwright-in-residence, associate professor of English


“Shortly after President Crutcher was named president, I had the good fortune of being one of the first students to meet with him one on one. I was struck then by his expressed commitment to mentoring students. True to his word, he made mentorship one of the signature features of his presidency. Many alums, myself included, have benefited from the president’s and his wife’s wise counsel, consistent support and sense of humor. One lesson he has taught me through his life and leadership is the importance of being deliberately distinctive. I will carry this with me for the rest of my career. What I appreciate most about his leadership is that he has pushed the college forward in its efforts to make diversity a core, and not simply a complementary feature of the institution’s mission. He has worked hard to extend Wheaton’s reputation and improve its rank as a liberal arts college committed to student, staff and curricular diversity.”

—Derron “J.R.” Wallace ’07


Championing the liberals arts: Ronald A. Crutcher reflects on 10-year presidency

Professor Derek Price“President Crutcher and I both entered Miami University (Ohio) as first-years in 1965, though we never met on that campus. By the 1990s, I was participating in diversity initiatives at Wheaton, inspired by the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) concept of “inclusive excellence,” an idea championed by Ron, who was on his way to becoming the AAC&U board chair. When I served on the Wheaton Presidential Search Committee that hired Ron, we finally met face to face and quickly discovered our converging histories and commitments to egalitarian campus climates. In November 2005, Ron created the President’s Advisory Committee on Inclusive Excellence (PACIE). His charge to the committee was to ‘oversee the process of achieving educational excellence through diversity and to develop a truly multicultural community as proposed in Wheaton’s strategic plan.’ In his first years as president, Ron quickly transformed PACIE, changing it to an action committee comprising students, staff and faculty. Ron charged us to take on initiatives, which we did with enthusiasm. One was a campus climate survey that elicited well-defined diversity issues, which then could be addressed. Ron’s—and Wheaton’s—resilience in these tough times for colleges has enabled PACIE to continue its work successfully into the present.”

—Derek Price, professor emeritus of psychology, former faculty co-chair of PACIE