April 17 Community Update from President Hanno

Dear Wheaton Community,

I’m longing for the many fun and enriching activities that would normally be taking place right here on campus at this point in the academic year, as I’m sure many of you are. This is the point in the year when there would be all kinds of performances and lectures, when the warmth of the spring sun would bring people together for celebrations and events, and when many would be focused on recruiting next year’s entering class. However, even in this challenging current environment all of these things are still happening! In the last 24 hours I have connected through technology with literally hundreds of Wheaton people in very meaningful ways to do some of the things we would normally be doing here on campus at this time of the year. Let me share them with you.

On Thursday night, I thoroughly enjoyed our time with esteemed author Elaine Weiss as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the U.S 19th amendment and women’s suffrage. There were close to 200 current students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and even future students all on the webinar to come together and honor this monumental milestone in our history. The live interaction between Elaine and our community members was phenomenal to watch and the discussion was so enlightening. As I expressed in my thank you to her at the event, we hope to have Elaine on campus in the future so we can continue the important conversation. If you were unable to catch the live stream, we hope to soon have the recording available for our community.

Today, Friday, is normally a big day on campus – Welcome to Wheaton Day. On this day, we normally welcome prospective students who have been accepted to Wheaton and their families to campus to learn about all the exciting possibilities that exist here at Wheaton. It’s an opportunity for everyone in our community to pause and appreciate every aspect of this amazing community as we talk with others about what makes Wheaton so special. Even without the opportunity to do that face-to-face here on campus, we still were able to connect today with hundreds of potential new members of our community in the virtual environment. All parts of campus came together to create a Virtual Welcome to Wheaton Day that highlights so many of the amazing things that happen here at Wheaton. Be sure to check it out because I guarantee you that it will fill you with pride while you learn more about this amazing place. It definitely wasn’t the same as having everyone here on our beautiful campus, but our vision, values and ideals really shone through today.

This day would also have been the annual Head of the Peacock Regatta. The Head of the Peacock is always one of the most fun events of the year on campus and with the help of Judy and Kaylyn from Athletics, I tried my best to recreate it this year. Check out this twitter post to see how that went. Or, if you’d prefer, take a nostalgic look back at some recent regattas found in this twitter post. The Regatta will be back and when it happens it will be another great reason for us all to come together to celebrate the strength and resilience of this community.

It has been great to see so many members of our community through these kinds of events and I look forward to many other similar opportunities in the coming days and weeks. In fact, is anyone up for virtual bingo tonight (Friday) at 8 PM, hosted by SAIL (Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership)? If so, here is the information on how to sign in – and I’ll see you there! Please continue to stay connected and involved. It’s this connectedness that helps us to find strength and enables us to support each other. Thank you for being part of this amazing community.

Dennis Hanno
Wheaton College