The Promise Unveiled
In late summer 1965 my husband David and I, newlyweds for only a month, left San Angelo, Texas, to attend college in Illinois. I had learned of Wheaton College only six months before, but soon we would be enrolled there—he as a graduate student and I as an undergraduate (thanks to Director of Admissions Charles Schoenherr ’50).
As I think of it now, my mother was, at age 39, so very young to be a Wheaton parent, let alone a Wheaton mother-in-law. But there she stood in the driveway as we pulled out onto Jackson Street and turned our baby-blue Rambler north. I watched as Mother waved goodbye, sending me off to Wheaton not only with her prayers, but also her dreams.
My obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton was not to be. After a couple of years, I ran out of money and dropped out. It would be 29 years before her prayers and dreams were realized, when I received my master’s from Wheaton.
Both of my parents knew the value of an education, but not because they benefitted from having a college degree. Daddy’s studies at the University of Texas were interrupted by World War II, and his hopes of finishing ended with his personal battle against tuberculosis. My mother, abandoned by her mother and left to fend for her invalid father and two young brothers, was denied an education beyond the eighth grade.
Some years ago after the deaths of my parents, knowing how much they loved Wheaton and had yearned for a college education, I urged my family to establish an endowed scholarship in their memory. This year’s recipient of the Kenneth and Margarette Stephenson Irwin Memorial Scholarship is Julie Johnson ’12, M.A. ’13, one of five students over the past nine years who have been helped by this endowment. You can read her story on page 61 of this issue of Wheaton. Every day she perseveres through pain and disability, with challenges that would sideline most of us, and yet her life is full of hope and joy.
Also in this magazine is a report on the recent completion of The Promise of Wheaton, with $261,717,652 in gifts and commitments. Celebrate with us the close of The Promise, and be glad about how the Lord will use your generosity to further His kingdom around the world.
What now seems eons ago, back in spring 2008, Wheaton announced the public rollout of this $260-million campaign. At that time, in my Letter from the Editor, I asked you to “see what opportunities in The Promise of Wheaton resonate within you, and give more than you have ever given in the past.”
Together, upwards of 25,000 of you gave more than has ever been given. In providing for the opportunities that resonated within you— endowments or Wheaton Fund, programs or buildings—you have helped fulfill the dreams and answer the prayers of Wheaton students (and their parents) now and far into the future. We are grateful to you.
Georgia I. Douglass '70 M.A. '94
To view the magazine, please visit Wheaton Magazine Autumn 2011 >>