Part of a thriving community

As a vital part of Wheaton’s community, parents help to sustain and strengthen the college’s distinctive liberal arts mission and enhance educational, experiential, and social opportunities for all Wheaton students through their time, talents, and excellence. Volunteer opportunities and programs engage our supporters and help give Wheaton parents a voice on campus.

By Merritt Crowley, Vice President for College Advancement

I get asked quite often—what does College Advancement mean? What exactly does Advancement do on campus? Off campus? In a nutshell, Wheaton’s Advancement team partners with alumni, parents and friends who help the college deliver on its mission by connecting members of the community with our students, our faculty, and with each other through meaningful opportunities for intellectual engagement, volunteerism and philanthropy.

We have a strong culture of service and a growing culture of philanthropy at Wheaton. Parents have been a significant part of that growth! Wheaton parents share their professional expertise as mentors and providers of internships; support our student-athletes in competitions on campus and off; serve as admissions ambassadors nationally and internationally; and give generously to support Wheaton’s core priorities. The Parents Fund has shown tremendous growth in recent years, with annual gifts to the Wheaton Fund from parents and families surpassing $600,000.

Presently there are three tracks available for parents and families who want to get more involved at Wheaton:

Parents Advisory Council: fostering relationships with fellow parents to broaden their knowledge of Wheaton and engage their support.

Managed by the Vice President and Dean of Students in partnership with my office, the Parents Advisory Council is a group of parents, educators, and administrators committed to sharing information in a collaborative manner to ensure educational excellence for students and to ensure that parents have an organized voice at the college.

Parent Ambassadors: helping Admissions and Advancement amplify the Wheaton experience.

Ambassadors host and attend campus and regional welcome and yield events for Admissions. They send personal welcome notes and make calls to new Wheaton families. They also mentor families through their student’s years on campus. Ambassadors help to generate philanthropic support by promoting Wheaton giving days—like Giving Tuesday! Ambassadors also support experiential learning programs at Wheaton by providing students with internship and job-shadowing opportunities.

The Parents Leadership Council: building annual leadership support for Wheaton among parents of current students and parents of Wheaton alumni.

Council members commit to a gift of at least $1,000 per year, and inspire their peers to make similar leadership-level gifts and to volunteer. We have been very fortunate in recent years to have a number of parents in our community step up and join the Council to support the college at the leadership level.

The Parents Leadership Council is a great group of people. They’re highly engaged with the college and connected to their student’s experience at Wheaton. The co-chairs of the Parents Leadership Council are Matthew and Liza Gold, from New York, whose son Henry graduated in 2020; and Amy and Brian Smiley, from California—their daughter Linnea graduated in 2017. Both Matthew and Brian serve on Wheaton’s Board of Trustees.

We are actively recruiting parents to serve on the Advisory Council, as Ambassadors and as members of the Parents Leadership Council. These volunteer roles benefit the college greatly—and when you volunteer at Wheaton you ensure that fellow parents have a voice on campus, that parents are an essential part of the conversation.

If you have any questions about engagement opportunities available to Wheaton parents and families, please send us an email. Finally, I hope you have an opportunity to read this edition’s Through the Student Lens Q&A with Jordan Wilson ’24, a Student Engagement Ambassador for the Wheaton Fund. Jordan’s a psychology major with a minor in education. He’s from New York, and he says calling members of the Wheaton community is like, “talking to my extended family.”

My very best to each of you for a happy and healthy holiday season!