Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Courage, compassion and forgiveness

Mother of 9/11 victim advocates for peace

At ground zero, in an immense underground space filled with sunlight, the voice of Alison Remy Crowther ’70 permeated the silence.

Facing President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and a room full of dignitaries, reporters and victims’ families, she spoke about her son, Welles, who died during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City.

Pictured above
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Alison Remy Crowther ’70 at the dedication ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on May 15, 2014. “Meeting the Obamas was like meeting caring parents. What came flowing out of them was sympathy as parents, sharing the horror of losing your own child. There was no artifice, only concern for their fellow Americans,” Crowther said. Photo by Pete Souza

Beside her was Ling Young, one of at least a dozen people Crowther’s son had led to safety during his final minutes of life.

“For us, Welles lives on, in the people he helped, and in the memory of what he chose to do that September. He believed we are connected as one human family and that we are here to look after and take care of one another—that that’s life’s most precious meaning,” said Crowther at the May 2014 event marking the opening of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

That others will follow his example “is the true legacy of September 11,” she said.

Since losing her son, Crowther has worked tirelessly to ensure Welles’s example endures, and fosters positive values in a world rife with conflict.

She has traveled across the country and world, speaking with countless youth and teaming up with educators and religious leaders to ensure his message carries on. Central to her efforts is the curriculum that she helped develop that teaches youth positive values based on the example of Welles’s life. So far, thousands of students have used the curriculum, called The Red Bandana Project, named for one of her son’s favorite items. [Read more...]

Behind-the-scenes with the statues

We had one hour to photograph the living statues from Ten31 Productions for our cover story about philosophy majors. We were mesmerized every second. We know you will be, too, and bet you will never look at a statue the same again. (Check out Alison “Ali” LeBrun ’02 helping the actors transform. She works for Ten31.) Enjoy.

Photos by Keith Nordstrom and David Laferriere

Not business as usual

Newest major leverages liberal arts, inspires enterprising leaders

In the brightly lit Pawsmopolitan pet boutique, amid doggy birthday cookies, stuffed animals and mango-scented shampoos, five Wheaton students in the “Marketing” course gather around owner Lori Dunbar one winter afternoon to present their strategies for attracting customers.

Their client listens intently to their ideas, which include improving signage at her Norton, Mass., shop; increasing social media; and offering discounts. Later, Dunbar will dive into the carefully researched 68-page report that the students spent a semester on, employing an arsenal of skills ranging from data analysis to the use of effective communications.

Scenes like this one, featuring teams of students serving as consultants, have been playing out at businesses all over the local area since Wheaton launched its newest major, business and management, spring semester 2014.

And it’s not business as usual. [Read more...]

Meaningful work

Passion for teaching, creating change guides Derron Wallace’s path

When Professor of Sociology Kersti Yllo considered whom to invite to deliver the keynote at this year’s Sociology and Anthropology Senior Symposium—her final symposium before she retired this spring after 35 years at Wheaton—she immediately thought of Derron “J.R.” Wallace ’07.

Wallace, who majored in sociology and in African, African American, diaspora studies, racked up quite a number of achievements and accolades while at Wheaton—including a Projects for Peace grant and a Watson Fellowship—and his record during the nine years since graduation has been equally impressive (a Fulbright, a Marshall, an award-winning dissertation and a recent interview with BBC Radio, to name a few).

“We in the department have been following his work since he left, and it’s just amazing what he has accomplished in less than 10 years,” Yllo said. “I also know him as a very inspirational speaker, and he did not disappoint.”

Now an assistant professor of education and sociology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., Wallace stood out from his earliest days at Wheaton. As a first-year student taking an introductory sociology course taught by Yllo and Professor Hyun Sook Kim, Wallace approached Yllo to ask about becoming a teaching assistant. [Read more...]