Wheaton in Mexico
The first semester-long “Wheaton In” study-abroad program took nine students this spring to the bustling colonial city of Querétaro, Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wheaton in Mexico is a hybrid residential program that offers the challenge of immersion with academic and cultural support from on-site resident director Tim Klingler ’93, assistant professor of Spanish.
Prior to participating in the program, students completed an orientation course on intercultural competencies to prepare them to navigate the unfamiliar. In Mexico, they attend classes in language, literature, art, history, and U.S.-Mexico relations, taught in Spanish by Mexican professors at a local university. They also commit to speaking only Spanish. Each student lives with a host family for the entire semester.
The program balances immersion experiences and classroom study with academic excursions to learn more about the historical, cultural, and environmental diversity of Mexico. A course taught by Klingler helps students delve into Mexican culture, manage the challenges of living in an unfamiliar environment, and reflect on their experiences and learning in light of their faith.
Dean of Global and Experiential Learning Dr. Laura Montgomery says that remaining in one location for an entire semester gives students more time to develop a sense of place, build stronger language skills, deepen cultural learning, and become more integrated into the local community and a Christian congregation.
Upon their return to campus, students may enroll in a course that addresses issues of re-entry and helps them continue building on their acquired skills and knowledge.
Spring 2014 Wheaton in Mexico
HDI Equips Churches to Respond to Typhoon
Less than two months before the strongest and deadliest Philippine typhoon on record made landfall, Wheaton’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) led a Solidarity in Disaster Management Conference in the Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Micah Network, Integral Alliance, and World Evangelical Alliance.
With about 160 church leaders from 16 different countries throughout Southeast Asia in attendance, conference presenters, including HDI Co-Director Dr. David Boan, HDI Faculty Fellow Dr. George Kalantzis, and Hazel Rosete Psy.D. ’17, encouraged solidarity between local churches, Christian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and parachurch ministries in preparing for and responding to disasters. The conference concluded with all members endorsing a written commitment to pursue greater solidarity among Christian ministries by networking and sharing resources.
“As a result of the conference, pastors and NGOs have reported they are better equipped to respond to the immediate needs of the disaster,” says Dr. Jamie Aten, HDI’s founder and co-director. “Conference participants have also stated they are thankful for the new relationships formed at the conference that allowed them to work together more effectively in responding to the disaster.”
The conference was part of a larger HDI project, funded by the Maclellan Foundation, that aimed to equip local churches for disaster-related ministries and to test tools for improving coordination during a disaster. The project launched just before Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the Philippines, and it adapted accordingly.
“HDI, working with the PCEC and other PCEC supporters, changed the project approach and began focusing on supporting the disaster relief effort, while simultaneously building in strategies that would continue after the relief effort,” says Dr. Boan. “This meant focusing in three areas: data collection and sharing about resources and needs, emotional and spiritual care of survivors, and care of relief workers.”
A matching grant from the Maclellan Foundation has enabled HDI to continue assisting churches affected by Haiyan. HDI returned to the Philippines in February to provide ongoing training and to pilot new technology tools to increase coordination efforts between local churches and Christian NGOs responding to the disaster.
Register for HDI’s 2nd Annual Disaster Leadership Workshop taking place at Wheaton College, June 10-12, 2014, at this link.
A few words of affirmation from conference attendees:
“Many Filipino pastors who attended this 5-day consultation have been directly impacted by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the Bohol/Cebu earthquake, and the ongoing Zamboanga Muslim rebel situation. The disaster management training they received before these recent events has been invaluable.”
—Mark McLeod, chaplain/adviser, World Evangelical Alliance Youth Commission
“The disaster management conference weeks before the disaster hit was a gift of timely grace to the church’s response to the Super Typhoon.”
—Peter Howard, director of emergency response, Food for the Hungry
“A local network of churches working in disaster was born during this conference . . . The Haiyan/Yolanda disaster response is a defining moment in the local church’s history, and future responses can be shaped by this one.”
—JoAnn de Belen, country director in Indonesia, World Relief
Perry Mastodon Turns 50
Approximately 400 guests from the surrounding community helped Wheaton celebrate Perry Mastodon’s 50th birthday at a “Stones and Bones” party on October 26, 2013. Perry Mastodon was excavated by Wheaton College geology majors in 1963, and took more than 11 years to restore. Displayed on Wheaton’s campus since 1974, Perry currently resides in the Meyer Science Center.
New Scholarships Boost Merit Aid
Three new scholarships will become available for all qualified incoming freshmen in fall 2014. Two are merit-based—the Charles Blanchard President’s Award and the Arthur Holmes Award—and the third is the Yellow Ribbon Program for recipients of the Post-9/11 GI Veterans Education Benefit. With the availability of the new merit scholarships, the percentage of incoming freshmen who receive a merit award will increase from 25 to 40 percent.
The Charles Blanchard President’s Award, named for Wheaton’s longest-serving president, will be offered to freshmen with at least a 3.7 unweighted high school GPA and minimum ACT composite score of 32 or SAT score of 1400. The scholarship is $20,000 total—$5,000 per year, renewable with at least a 3.0 GPA at Wheaton.
The Arthur Holmes Award, named for the noted Christian philosopher and distinguished Wheaton professor, provides a second tier of merit awards for incoming freshmen with at least a 3.6 unweighted GPA and a minimum ACT score of 30 or SAT score of 1330. This scholarship is $10,000 total—$2,500 per year, renewable with a 3.0 GPA at Wheaton.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a need-based aid opportunity that makes additional funds available for Post-9/11 GI Veterans Education Benefit recipients.
According to this agreement, Wheaton and the Veterans Administration will each cover half of the tuition and fee expenses that exceed the tuition and fee amounts received under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Enrollment in the Yellow Ribbon program began in March.
Wheaton Hosts Conference on Christian Unity
Wheaton hosted Inhabit: Building Christian Unity, a conference exploring racial and ethnic inclusivity in the body of Christ, on October 25–26, 2013. The conference featured an opening chapel message by Sam Rodriguez, senior pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center, and a keynote address by Bryan Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Memphis.
“The conference was an exciting opportunity for students and faculty to speak openly with one another about their experiences, with the goal of reaching a deeper level of understanding about the complex issues that create social distinctions, and together to learn about godly justice that fosters a vision for racial unity in the body of Christ,” says Dr. Steve Ivester ’93, M.A. ’03, dean for student engagement.
Efforts to prioritize unity and understanding at Wheaton have led to visible changes on campus (see feature article “That They May Be One”). Dr. Ivester expects these developments, along with events like the Inhabit conference, to lead to lasting outcomes.
Billy Graham’s Sermon Manuscripts Available Online
The typed sermon manuscripts of Rev. Billy Graham ’43, LITT.D. ’56, annotated with the evangelist’s handwritten notes, can now be accessed via the Billy Graham Center Archives website by clergy, laypeople, scholars, and the public worldwide. Spanning 1941 to 2006, the manuscripts are scanned copies of the originals loaned to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Rev. Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.