by Meghan E. Kass, Vice President for Finance and Administration
With our enrollment at an all-time high and a record-setting $5 million in gifts to the Wheaton Fund in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, Wheaton College is making investments for growth in our campus living and learning spaces.
The most notable example is Pine Hall, the first new residence hall built on campus in over 15 years. Pine Hall provides 178 new beds and a large shared public space, Conger Commons, for student activities and events. This new facility creates a residential quad on lower campus, and it has the distinction of being the first college residence hall in New England constructed under the rigorous Passive House standards, a testament to Wheaton’s commitment to environmental sustainability and energy conservation.
On the near horizon, the college is in the final planning stages for a 70,000 square-foot renovation of the former Science Center. The building will become a hub for innovation, housing Wheaton’s growing social entrepreneurship programs, our two largest majors—Business & Management and Psychology—and Fab Lab, the principal makerspace on campus. Also included in the renovations is Hindle Auditorium and the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.
The Admissions building is seeing some important improvements inside and outside. The restrooms off the lobby are being renovated and will meet A.D.A. accessibility standards. Additionally, this spring the entrance will be redone with a ramp added to the front of the building. At the rear of the facility, the deck adjacent to the Balfour-Hood Campus Center has already been overhauled and furnished with new tables and chairs.
In addition, this past the summer 16 residence halls and theme houses received upgrades and maintenance—including bathrooms updates and replacement of lounge furniture, mattresses, and furnaces. Additional improvements will continue into the summer of 2020. Elsewhere on campus, a new concrete stairway and ramp were installed at Wheaton’s Old Town Hall Bookstore, The Dimple got its first irrigation system and many buildings along Main and Howard Streets were painted.
The college continues to invest in improving our network and IT infrastructure as well. Network switches and wireless upgrades were completed in 15 campus buildings, enabling faster and more reliable data service. Our conversion to the new VOIP phone system continues with 7 student service offices converted to the new system.
And finally, Wheaton has made significant strides in improving campus security systems. All of the lower campus residence halls, representing more than 60% of our total residential capacity, now have entryway card access and camera systems in place. We have also made progress in installing the same systems in upper campus residence halls. The security systems in Public Safety are in the process of being upgraded, positioning the department to be more responsive and efficient in protecting the Wheaton community.
Wheaton College is strengthening its position as a leading liberal arts institution. The kind of growth witnessed on campus in recent years—and built into our long-term Strategic Plan—would not be possible without the dedication and support of our community of alumni, parents, students, faculty, and friends.
Meghan was appointed Vice President for Finance and Administration of Wheaton College in September 2019. Reporting to the President, she provides leadership and management of the College’s finance, human resources, facilities, business services, public safety and information technology areas. She has been with the College since 2007 serving in the roles of Controller and Assistant Vice President for Finance.
Prior to joining Wheaton College, Meghan worked at Brown University for seven years where she served as the Assistant Controller.
Meghan is a CPA, having worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for four years. Meghan is a graduate of Providence College and has her MBA from Bryant University.