Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A win-win situation

Faculty-Student BasketballOK. I admit it. When I arrived at the faculty/staff-versus-students basketball game fundraiser in the fall, I expected to see, well, a slaughter. Don’t get me wrong; I know how amazing our faculty and staff members are. I see them in action all the time, working feats of magic in classrooms, labs, concert halls, offices and elsewhere. But on the basketball court? Against young, um, younger players?

Holy Michael Jordan, was I wrong!

The faculty/staff team led in scoring for most of the game, assisted by three-pointers from the likes of Professor of Mathematics Tommy Ratliff, aggressive play by Assistant Professor of History Dana Polanichka (who had her own cheering section chanting her initials), and ball-stealing antics as well as other impressive moves by teammates. And the faculty won, 70 to 62!

The evening was an unexpected treat for those of us who like to think we still “got game”—in the arena of our choosing. It also was an opportunity to get a glimpse of some of the things that make Wheaton a great community, all in one room: faculty and staff members giving of themselves way beyond what is required; thoughtful students working to raise money to go to New Orleans during winter break to again contribute to rebuilding efforts; dedicated learners balancing work and play (some students were watching the basketball game and studying from textbooks); and old and new traditions being carried out—the Gentlemen Callers performing a cappella classics during the half-time show; the Trybe troupe rockin’ the room with funky fresh dance routines to Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous.”

In this issue of the Quarterly, you can read about how the game fit into the fundraising efforts of our students who went to New Orleans and why this community service trip is so special to them.

Clarifications and omissions

One of the photos that accompanied the essay “Gaining perspective” in the spring issue of the Quarterly should have indicated that it was taken near the Damascus Gate, just outside the wall to the Old City of Jerusalem.

In the spring issue of the Quarterly, we ran the essay “A fish tale,” which was written by Professor of Biology Betsey Dyer. The sidebar accompanying the story included a description of the strange things she has eaten over the years. However, one of the descriptions was cut short by mistake. Here is the complete (even yummier) description of the tripe (cow stomach) hidden within an opaque soup that she ate once: “I think if the chunks had been chopped up finer, this would have worked out better for me. Instead, each piece came up from the depths looking like a piece of an old-fashioned textured bathing cap.”

Also, in our Between the Lines for the same issue, we featured a photo of Professor Dyer. Credit should have been given to photographer Katie Hall ’06.

Oh, you’re good

In the spring issue of the Quarterly, we published a story about the role our students played in helping to break secret codes during World War II. We then gave you an encrypted message to decipher. And, oh, you are good. You got it right away. Maybe it was too easy.

The answer is: “That they may have life and may have it abundantly.”

Here is a list of some of those who wrote in with the answer (see a longer list and comments online): Sandra “Sandy” Burnish Bellows ’66, Marion Badoian Emmanuel ’58, Rebecca Epstein ’08, Orna Feighery ’11, Erika Joaquim Sander ’90, Robert Sanson P’14, Judith King ’70, Andrew Thomas ’14, Joe Thompson S’80 and  Grace Carter van Vliet ’55.

Another code-breaking challenge

The encrypted code we included in the spring Quarterly was too easy for many of you to break. So Professor of Mathematics William Goldbloom Bloch has offered another, more challenging one:


Hint: It is standard practice to group encoded letters in clumps to make a message harder to decrypt.

If you know the answer, write us: Wheaton Quarterly, Wheaton College, 26 E. Main St., Norton, MA 02766, or e-mail us at quarterly@wheatoncollege.edu.


Autism article brings forth wide variety of alums working in field

One thing I’ve always known about autism is how it can connect people. The article “A Spectrum of Possibilities” that ran in the winter issue of the Quarterly triggered a wave of reconnections and some new alliances for me with Wheaton alums from over four decades.

Some are touched by autism as parents and family members. Others are professionals and advocates working for and with those on the spectrum. [Read more...]