We write to share with you the news that President Dennis M. Hanno has informed the Board of Trustees that he will be leaving his position as president of Wheaton College late in the calendar year of 2021. Board of Trustees Chair Janet Lebovitz ’72 and Dennis both wanted to express their thoughts jointly to the Wheaton community.
Dear Wheaton community,
It is with mixed emotion that I share with you that I have informed the Board of Trustees I will be stepping down as president of Wheaton College late in 2021, or earlier if a successor is named and a transition that works for the college can occur.
My years at Wheaton have been the highlight of my career, primarily because of the strong connections I have formed within this amazing community. We have achieved much together and overcome many challenges to help create a stronger Wheaton College. What I have experienced here truly defines for me what it means to be a part of a vibrant community. I know the many friendships and connections I have formed—with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends—will last long after I leave Wheaton.
My main goals after Wheaton are to spend much more time with my family and to continue to pursue my passion for the transformative power of education, especially for those who have traditionally been underserved. Wheaton has provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to see that transformative power in action and to work collaboratively with our amazing faculty and staff to impact the lives of so many through what we offer here.
Wheaton has a bright future ahead of it, due in large part to the innovation, passion and commitment of all who are dedicated to this special place. In my remaining time at Wheaton, I look forward to continuing to advance the many exciting and forward-looking initiatives we have underway. I will also work closely with the Board of Trustees to ensure a smooth transition to the next president.
I have been truly honored to lead this special place for the past several years, but I am even more grateful for the many friendships and connections I have formed here. I hope that I will be able to connect with you personally in the coming weeks and months to express my sincere thanks to you. You are what makes Wheaton such a special community and what has made my time at Wheaton so memorable.
Dear Wheaton community,
I wear many hats in the Wheaton community—alumna, trustee and board chair, unwavering champion of the college and, of course, friend and colleague of Dennis Hanno. So, I share the announcement that Dennis will be stepping down as president of Wheaton College later in the 2021 calendar year with an awareness that this news not only impacts the institution but will be felt by many of you with a myriad of emotions.
Dennis and Wheaton were drawn to each other almost seven years ago by shared values, vision and a commitment to Wheaton’s mission and its students. As its leader, Dennis has embodied that mission and led instrumental and long-lasting institutional change that has impacted recent Wheaton students and will be experienced by many more in the future. From unprecedented enrollment growth to new residential and dining experiences, and from surpassing important fundraising goals to establishing new institutional structures on diversity, equity and inclusion, the many accolades and accomplishments we have experienced in recent years have been due to the leadership, vision, transparency and relationship-building Dennis has brought to Wheaton. His impact institutionally, professionally and personally will be missed by all of us.
It should not surprise you to learn that Dennis has reached his decision not only with consideration of his personal goals and plans, but with careful reflection on what is best for Wheaton College. I am extremely thankful to him for his flexibility that provides us the time and space to perform the presidential search well and find the next transformational leader for Wheaton. As we undertake the search, I know he will continue to move us forward in instrumental ways and then provide great partnership in the eventual presidential transition.
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees has begun the planning of a search process that will include the opportunity for input from all members of the Wheaton community. As chair of the search committee, I will also lead us in a process to find the right search firm partner for Wheaton and this critically important search. You will hear more from me on the formation of the search committee and other next steps early in 2021. We will provide regular updates throughout the process, and the President & College Leadership section of the Wheaton website will serve as the hub for this information moving forward.
Today, however, is a time to say thank you. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I offer profound thanks to Dennis for all he has done and is doing every day to make Wheaton College a stronger, more inclusive and more vibrant home for our extraordinary students, faculty and staff. Please join me in offering gratitude for the enormous impact he has had on Wheaton College.
My sincere thanks also extends to each of you for what you do in support of and in advocacy for Wheaton. I look forward to partnering with you in finding the ninth president of Wheaton College.
Janet Lebovitz ’72
Chair, Board of Trustees