An update from the Wheaton campus

Dear Alums, Parents, Families and Friends, 

As my first semester at Wheaton comes to a close, I write to share some updates from campus with you. This spring has been memorable and filled with milestones for the college. While we continue to focus on imagining Wheaton’s future, it is important that we savor recent successes.  

Before sharing some updates, however, I feel compelled to acknowledge the dismay and sadness that many of us are feeling as we grapple with the most recent series of tragic incidents of violence and hatred in Texas, California, and New York. My hope is that the care and kindness of family and friends, and from the Wheaton community, will be a source of solace for you and for our students. In such moments, our shared commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive and welcoming learning community feels all the more urgent and vital. 

Recent events on campus certainly highlighted Wheaton’s special sense of community. From Senior Week activities to commencement and reunion celebrations, the campus shone with genuine warmth. That sense of community and shared purpose is a powerful force in encouraging and supporting students, and ultimately in advancing the college. 

Wheaton continues to move forward with new initiatives that address prospective students’ interests and strengthen the college. Earlier this month, the faculty approved a new academic program in Criminal Justice, Restorative Justice, and Criminology. Building on existing courses in sociology, psychology and philosophy, to name just a few, criminal justice joins the bachelor of science in nursing and the interdisciplinary design major as the third new program to be developed this year. 

The focus on the future that inspired these programs is also animating our ongoing strategic discussions. At their May meeting, the Board of Trustees reviewed the ideas and reflections emerging from the conversations I’ve had with faculty and staff, the Alumni Board of Directors, and the President’s Commission, and they will continue to work on imagining Wheaton’s future. By the fall, we will be discussing the strategic priorities and framework that have emerged from these conversations. I look forward to sharing more as that develops. 

In looking ahead, I am very pleased to say that Professor of the History of Art, Touba Ghadessi, has agreed to serve as Wheaton’s new provost. She took the position in 2021 on an interim basis and has done a wonderful job. In my conversations with faculty, I found overwhelming support for Professor Ghadessi’s leadership. She has been an excellent advocate for the faculty, and a generous and collaborative partner to me and to her colleagues on the President’s Council and in Academic Affairs.  

Finally, in the coming days and weeks, we will host a special reunion commencement celebration for the Class of 2020 on June 3-5, followed by summer orientation sessions for the Class of 2026 during the week of June 20th. We’ll also be holding the Symphony Under the Stars concert on June 23, 2022, in the President’s Garden.

I look forward to my ongoing engagement with alumni, parents and families at these opportunities and many more that will take place in the months ahead. Thank you for your continued advocacy and support for the college.

Michaele Whelan