Memorial Tree Dedication in President’s Garden

On May 18, the family and friends of the late John Hazen White III, Wheaton Class of 2010, gathered for the dedication of a memorial tree planted in the President’s Garden. A hardy chestnut tree was selected.

“John’s chestnut tree commemorates his life at Wheaton College—that important chapter in his growth,” said President Michaele Whelan in her remarks. “As an English major at Wheaton, John explored his passions for creative writing and literature—and I have been told that he remained an avid reader and writer after his graduation. Wheaton College was fortunate to be a part of John’s story.”

Several members of Wheaton’s Board of Trustees attended the event, and Board Chair Janet Lindholm Lebovitz ’72, noted the very important place that trees hold on Wheaton’s campus. “Trees are a living part of our heritage and stand tall in the memories that alumni, parents, and friends share. It’s our hope that John’s tree flourishes and thrives in the President’s Garden for generations to come.”

John’s brother Ben, a member of Wheaton’s Class of 2012 and a Trustee, said. “The White Family is so thankful to have the opportunity to honor such an amazing young man’s life with the dedication of this tree in his name. Wheaton played an important role in John’s journey, and it is so special that this tree will forever be a place where all who knew him can come back to visit.”

Josh Stenger, Professor and Chair of Film and New Media, remembered John as a student. They both arrived at Wheaton at the same time. “John was in my first-year writing class, and he was in classes of mine each of his four years here. He was a fantastic person to welcome into any classroom. At his core, he was an amazingly kind, open-book of a human being. He just let people in. It was a pleasure to watch him grow.”

John Hazen White, Jr. P’10 ’12, a former Wheaton Trustee, described his son as “a direct reflection of his mother’s spirit, soul, passion. Planting a tree for John gives Wheaton a memory of him, gives the White family a place to go back to, and it also leaves a piece of the White family here at Wheaton permanently. It was because of John that the White family became involved with Wheaton, and that shall continue.” 

The Gentleman Callers performed a moving rendition of James Taylor’s “That Lonesome Road” to close the dedication.