Wheaton College is a great liberal arts institution, one of the nation’s true gems in higher education. I am incredibly thrilled and honored to be serving as the college’s eighth president, and now that I’ve officially begun my term, I feel energized by all that I know we can accomplish together for the benefit of our students, today and tomorrow.
Shaping the Wheaton of tomorrow is a collective effort, and I look forward to being part of it. In fact, a large part of Wheaton’s appeal for me is the strength of this community. I saw it from the first, when I met the alumnae/i, students, faculty and staff serving on the Presidential Search Committee, and that initial impression has been reinforced many times in the months since then. The welcome that my family and I received in Cole Memorial Chapel last February was fabulous. The passion that I see for this community—the way that people work together, enjoy their collaboration with each other and take pride in their accomplishments—is powerful.
Over the next few months, I plan to continue getting to know the Wheaton community: our strengths, our opportunities for growth and our collective aspirations for the future. What I do know already is that Wheaton can draw upon its rich legacy of accomplishments: the deep commitment to creating a diverse community that provides opportunity to all, rooted in its long history as a women’s college; the breadth and depth of academic excellence that is embodied by our faculty; and the intellectual energy of our students and alumnae/i.
I also know that this is an intensely student-centered institution, in the classroom and in every facet of campus life, and that, to me, is the mark of a great institution, and it is something that this college is deeply committed to maintaining. This is a value that I share, and working closely with students has always been one of my highest priorities and greatest joys.
What has always been important to me is creating opportunity for people. Wheaton does that exceptionally well, with a broad-based liberal arts education that gives people the tools to look at problems from many different perspectives. It’s an incredibly diverse community that brings people together to share ideas, to have good discourse; not always agreeing, but striving to come up with solutions to challenging problems.
The world needs Wheaton. I truly believe that making Wheaton stronger and better translates into making the world better, something that this community has demonstrated many times. The gifts that we enjoy and that help make us a strong community will only grow in value if we share them with others. That is something that Wheaton has done throughout its history.
I look forward to thinking about the ways that we can share our incredible skills even more with our local community and the global community. The more ways we find to do that, the stronger we will become.
I thank you so much for welcoming my family and me into this great community, and I look forward to a long, long relationship. Working together, we will make Wheaton one of the best places in the world for liberal arts education. We already have so much to build on!
Photo by David Laferriere