Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Pearls of wisdom

Book by Marion Lear Swaybill ’63 celebrates oysters

Marion Lear Swaybill ’63

Marion Lear Swaybill ’63

Oysters, a delicious source of sustenance the world over, are as old as time and have existed along almost every coastline in the world in one era or another. They also are the subject of Oysters: A Celebration in the Raw (Abbeville Press), a new book by Marion Lear Swaybill ’63.

“The book was pure serendipity,” said Swaybill. “The idea was hatched over a gorgeous platter of oysters” as she and publisher friend Bob Abrams admired the varied beauty of their shells. Through her research, she found that “while there are many books on oysters, none celebrated their physical beauty nor provided an easily digestible compendium of all things oyster.” [Read more...]

Champion of people with intellectual disabilities

Jo Ann Simons ’75 ranked as Boston’s most powerful

Jo Ann Simons ’75

Jo Ann Simons ’75

The Boston Business Journal has recognized Jo Ann Simons ’75 as one of the 50 most powerful businesspeople in Boston—thanks to her work helping thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities as CEO of Northeast Arc.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for your work, but it’s especially exciting that the Boston Business Journal acknowledges that the work of nonprofits is essential to the well-being of our communities,” said Simons, who joined Northeast Arc, based in Danvers, Mass., in January 2016.

As CEO, she oversees a $250 million budget and 1,000 employees that provide services and support to 8,000 individuals with disabilities and their families.

“I am really proud that while I inherited a small deficit budget, we turned things around in less than six months and we continue to trend positively,” she said.  [Read more...]

A high note

Brooke Hubner ’02 takes helm of musical Maine nonprofits

Brooke Huber ’02

Brooke Huber ’02

Brooke Hubner ’02 was tapped to oversee two music nonprofit organizations—The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ and ChoralArt—as executive director in September 2016. The nonprofits promote organ playing and choral singing, respectively, in the Portland, Maine, area. Hubner previously served as administrative coordinator for the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, also in Maine. “I have a lifelong love of music. This position seemed like a wonderful opportunity and a great fit for what I am passionate about,” said Hubner, who double majored in music and English at Wheaton. She studied the organ under Professor Carlton Russell and the piano under Associate Professor Guy Urban, and sang with the Wheaton Chorale. After graduating from Wheaton, Hubner served as a Fulbright Scholar while earning a master’s degree in Atlantic Canada studies with a focus on Acadian music from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia. Hubner has remained an active alumna, volunteering as a class officer and in the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services. “I had an absolutely amazing time at Wheaton. The professors were so very supportive; encouraging me to do things I had never done before, like study the organ or apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. The four years I spent there were an incredible time of growth and exploration, and I think it is important for alums to stay involved and continue to encourage those same sorts of experiences for future generations,” she said.

Something’s afoot

Shoeless and on a mission, Mark Baumer ’06 walks across U.S.

Mark Baumer ’06 in Times Square

Mark Baumer ’06 in Times Square

Editor’s note: Life is short, unpredictable and often just plain unfair. Mark Baumer ’06, an environmental activist who was walking barefoot across the country to draw attention to climate change, was struck by a vehicle and killed on Jan. 21, 2017, on Highway 90 in Walton County, Fla. We are shocked and saddened by the news, and our hearts go out to his family and friends. 

Around the time of his death, our writer, Laura Pedulli, had finished writing a profile about him for this issue of the Quarterly. The story is published here.


Oh, the places he’ll go—without shoes, and for a good cause.

In October 2016, Mark Baumer ’06 set out on an ambitious goal: walking from Rhode Island to California with nothing on his feet.

An avid barefoot runner, the mode of transport suits him, he says. “Being barefoot out in America is more than just a hobby. There’s something magical about exploring the country I live in while literally feeling the earth with each footstep.”

It’s more than the experience Baumer seeks, however. He is raising money for the FANG Collective, a Pawtucket, R.I., nonprofit that mobilizes nonviolent resistance to the natural gas industry and supports other social justice movements. [Read more...]