Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Debra Kent Glidden ’68

A conversation with…

Debra Kent Glidden ’68

  • Go Beyond campaign co-chair
  • Managing partner at Core Point Partners

Why I invest my time in Wheaton.

Debra Kent Glidden '68 with Claire Anderson '09, Mary Elizabeth Robinson Endowed Scholar

It’s because I can make a difference, I have a distinct emotional connection to Wheaton, and my efforts, time and resources are widely appreciated. After I moved to Atlanta, I felt far away from Wheaton. Then about 15 years ago, President Dale Marshall and Catherine Conover, vice president for advancement, invited several Atlanta-area alums to lunch. I really connected with both of them and decided I needed some meaning in my life again, since I was going through a very difficult time.

Reconnecting.

I set up a scholarship fund in memory of my grandmother, who had recently died. The Mary Elizabeth Robinson Murphy Scholarship was for students studying or performing music, since my grandmother and I had enjoyed that together. That was the beginning of my giving back to Wheaton.

Relationships.

I met Val, the first of “my” students, and I suggested we perform some music together. Val had a beautiful voice, so I accompanied her on the piano as she sang jazz and Broadway tunes. We developed a great friendship. Sarah was the next recipient, and we got together to play piano pieces for each other. As Sarah started her last piece, my body froze, and tears started running down my cheeks. Sarah was playing my grandmother’s favorite piece of music! Of course, I told everyone on campus that weekend about this amazing experience. [Read more...]

Creating a strong connection between technology and education

Cheryl Vedoe 1974From electric cars to iPads, technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, deepening its inroads into every part of modern American life.

Well, not every part. Young people may spend much of their free time with video games and Facebook, but the schools that teach them have remained firmly in the 20th century.

Cheryl Vedoe ’74 is working to change that.

“When you look at education—and K–12 education in particular—largely what goes on in the classroom is no different than when I was in elementary school, middle school or high school,” she said. “So the reality is that technology has not had much impact on the way teaching and learning occur.”

Since 2002, Vedoe has been CEO of Apex Learning, a Seattle company that offers computer-based courses for high school students. More than 1 million students have taken one of Apex’s classes, which were first developed for distance learning, but are now used in traditional classrooms, too. [Read more...]

Oh, Baby!

Alum’s fashion business delivers style

Pattern topThere are those “aha!” moments of brilliance that Oprah likes to talk about. And then there are those like the one Erin Marino Robbins ’89 had. She likes to call hers a “ha ha” moment.

Erin Marino Robbins ’89

Erin Marino Robbins ’89

Picture her. It’s 2005. She’s pregnant with her first son, Brody, wearing tight maternity jeans that have become the staple of her wardrobe because she can’t find maternity clothes that she likes. She has to go to the bathroom really bad. Yet, she is lying on a bed in her sister’s house stuck—in her jeans.

“She physically had to cut me out of a pair of $200 maternity jeans—purchased just three weeks earlier—with a huge pair of scissors,” recalls Robbins. “That day Brody & Cole Design was conceived.”

Ha ha!

Funny and smart, Robbins is president and designer of Brody & Cole, her online boutique that specializes in clothing a woman’s body in all its incarnations, including pregnancy.

“My designs are intended to make every woman feel beautiful, regardless of body shape or size, through the use of high-quality fabrics and versatile styles,” she said.

At Wheaton, Robbins majored in economics with a double minor in philosophy and drama, which has allowed her to advance her practical, as well as reflective and creative sides. “Economics, philosophy and drama may seem unrelated on the surface, but they turned out to be just the right ingredients for shaping a confident, creative and analytical businesswoman,” she said. [Read more...]

Reaching a milestone inspired by Wheaton

Amie Weinberg 1986A year ago this May, I achieved a personal milestone. With my husband and children in attendance, I walked across the stage at George Mason University and received my Ph.D. in education. The path to that stage began some 20 years ago, during my senior year at Wheaton.

I attended Wheaton from 1982 to 1986 and it was a perfect fit for me. I didn’t specify that I wanted to attend a single-sex college, but several of the schools I pursued were just that: all women. Perhaps I instinctively realized that I would be more comfortable at an all-women’s institution, and that I could learn to be my authentic self in such an environment. I knew that I wanted to attend a small college, where I could become involved in various activities and make genuine connections with faculty members.

Wheaton was far enough from my home in Peabody, Mass., that I felt independent, yet I could still return to eat a home-cooked meal or to celebrate a special occasion. But there was something more, something intangible about Wheaton that just felt right. I intrinsically felt like I belonged right there, in Norton, for my college years. (And little did I know that I would end up meeting my roommate and dearest friend, Debbie Leonard Barrette ’86, through whom I eventually met the man I married one day after graduation in 1986.) [Read more...]