Tor Unveiled
Highlights of 2010-2019

Highlights of 2010-2019

As we look back over the last ten years, we can see God's hand graciously guiding and blessing Wheaton College in so many ways. Below are just a few of the highlights. We can't wait to see what God has in store for Wheaton in the decade to come and beyond!


On February 15, 2010 the College hosted a Sesquicentennial Gala featuring music from the Symphony Orchestra and remembrances from faculty and staff. 

On Friday, September 17, 2010 in Edman Chapel, Philip G. Ryken was inaugurated as Wheaton's eighth president. 


Philip Ryken Inauguration as Eighth President of Wheaton College

The Meyer Science Center is a state-of-the-art facility with 128,000 square feet of offices, laboratories, research facilities and classrooms. Completed in 2010, the building has been certified in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standard. 

Meyer Science Center Dedication Ceremony

Meyer Science Center Dedication Wheaton College IL

Tour the Meyer Science Center



On April 13, 2011, the Wheaton College community was introduced to the College's new mascot, Stertorous (Tor for short) Thunder. Requiring two people inside and weighing 90 pounds, Tor is the largest mascot in the NCAA. Read about Tor's trip to Chicago for the NCAA Mascot feature story, and read Tor's backstory, including how he is related to Perry Mastodon >

Meeting New Mascot Tor Wheaton College IL

Promise of Wheaton Website ScreenshotOn June 30, 2011, The Promise of Wheaton capital campaign came to a close, surpassing $261 million in gifts and commitments. Campaign Highlights included the construction of the Meyer Science Center and almost $100 million in planned gifts to the College. Read more about this campaign in the Wheaton magazine.

Nov. 19, 2011Wheaton College IL Women's Soccer Player

Wheaton trailed WashU 2-0 with about 20 minutes remaining in the match when Pete Felske made key tactical changes as the Thunder scored three goals in a span of two minutes and 16 seconds to turn a 2-0 deficit in a 3-2 Wheaton lead. With the win, Wheaton advanced to Division III Final Four for the sixth time in program history.

Grid VariantIn fall 2011, under the direction of Dr. Jamie Aten and Dr. David Boan, Wheaton College launched the Humanitarian and Disaster Institute, the first faith-based academic disaster research center in the country.

In 2018 the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership also launched the M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership, the first degree of its kind which looks at humanitarian and disaster issues through a uniquely Christian perspective.



Drawing from a rich College history of men and women who have sacrificed for the abolition of slavery, the protection of the innocent, and the pursuit of peace across numerous borders, Wheaton College Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) graduates have stood—marked by both compassion and valor. Their feet have carried them through NASA command centers, courtrooms, safe houses, hospitals, and shelled-out villages half a world away. Read more about their 60th Anniversary in the Autumn 2012 issue of Wheaton magazine >

Wheaton College IL ROTC Graduates



Kristy Nitz Wheaton College iL Swimming Champion On March 20-23, 2013, freshman Kirsty Nitz won three National Championships at the 2013 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships.

In 2013 Kirsty won National Titles in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard backstroke. She would go on to win a school-best five individual Division III Championships in her four-year swimming career at Wheaton.

On October 26th, 2013, Wheaton College celebrated Perry Mastodon's 50th birthday with an open house in the Meyer Science Center featuring birthday treats, games, and crafts for kids of all ages. Perry also got a special birthday hat for the occasion. 

"As far as I know, this is the first birthday Perry's had in 13,500 years," said LaTonya Taylor, the college's director of media relations. "It's kind of a milestone."

Read the Chicago Tribune article and watch the video below about this special event.



Stephen Golz OT Soccer win Wheaton College

On December 5, 2014, Stephen Golz scored on a header in the second overtime in the Semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship to send the Thunder to the Division III National Championship Match for the first time since 2006. Read more about this historic win for Wheaton men's soccer >


Kirk Farney Vice President for Advancement, Vocation, and Alumni Engagement Wheaton CollegeOn August 25, 2014 Kirk D. Farney MA '98  began in his role of Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations. 

"Kirk Farney brings a unique blend of business acumen and scholarly engagement to this strategic role at Wheaton College," said President Ryken. "His executive and financial experience has positioned him to advance Wheaton's mission and priorities through Advancement & Alumni Relations, and his training as a historian gives him a rich understanding of Wheaton's unique role in the Christian and higher education communities. As a Wheaton alumnus who has also been a Wheaton parent, he has experienced firsthand how a Wheaton education transforms the lives of our students."

Read more about Farney's appointment >



In the 2015-16 school year, the Center for Vocation and Career launched Canvas: Framing Your Vocation and Career, a series of events aimed at engaging sophomores early in their college career on the topic of vocation and career. Research shows that early engagement leads to better outcomes for graduates. Wheaton students were the impetus for the creation of this event, which is now a cornerstone of the sophomore experience at Wheaton with more than half of the class regularly participating in these career development opportunities.

Canvas Entry Wheaton College IL

Canvas Opening Night 2019 Wheaton College IL

See more photos from the 2019 Canvas Opening Night >

Wheaton College IL's First Graduate School Chaplain Dave McDowell

Our first Graduate Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Dave McDowell ’68, established the office of the Wheaton College Graduate School Chaplain to serve alongside the student care network. The Graduate School Chaplain oversees the chapel program for the Wheaton College Graduate School and offers hospitality, pastoral counseling, prayer support, and mentoring for graduate students, faculty, and staff, thereby encouraging the continuing development of the spiritual life of graduate students and faculty. McDowell, known to students as “Chaplain Mac,” retired in 2019, and is succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Greg Anderson ‘77.

CFI logoThe Wheaton Center for Faith and Innovation (CFI) exists to develop Christian marketplace leaders through theology and liberal arts research to create innovative solutions for business.

Tim Ziemer and Nancy Writebol speaking at the Opus Launh

On Saturday, January 24, 2015 Opus (as CFI was then called) hosted its first official event to kick-off launch week. Nancy Writebol, a missionary and Ebola survivor, and Admiral Tim Ziemer, coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, spoke to an audience of students, faculty, and community members about their callings to service.

Read more about the excitement of launch week from a students' perspective >

In January 2015 Wendy Woodward became Wheaton College's first Chief Information Officer. With this new position, the College sought to centralize management of technology on campus under one newly-formed department, Academic and Institutional Technology. In 2019 she won the 2019 CIO+ Award which recognizes a CIO who has successfully expanded his or her current role into other business areas like Operations, Marketing, Sales, CEO role, etc., thus broadening their impact on driving success for the overall business entity.

Read more about her appointment in the Wheaton Record >

Wendy Woodward, Wheaton College iL CIO

In 2015, Rev. Timothy Blackmon started as Wheaton's sixth chaplain since the office's creation in 1955.

Rev. Timothy Blackmon Chaplain of Wheaton College IL 

"When alumni think of Wheaton College, I hope they will not only pray for our graduates to become decent, hard-working, churchgoing, tax-paying citizens and neighbors, but that they would pray these students will be shaped by the deep passions, virtues, and habits of the kingdom of God." - Rev. Timothy Blackmon

Read an interview with Chaplain Blackmon in Wheaton Magazine > 

In celebration of the United Nations' International Year of Light, Wheaton College hosted a free open house featuring science- and light-themed fun! The event took place on campus at the Meyer Science Center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11.

This family-friendly event invited children and parents to learn how light-based technologies work, enjoy interactive, hands-on labs, and use our state-of-the-art equipment for solar observations.

Illumination Celebration Wheaton College IL

Illumination Celebration at Wheaton College IL

CUE logoIn January 2015, the Center for Urban Engagement launched under the direction of Dr. Noah Toly. 

Along with an interdisciplinary major and minor in Urban Studies, the Center for Urban Engagement directs Wheaton in Chicago, a semester-long, residential, experiential program in one of the world's most diverse cities. CUE also sponsors lectures, panels, and other events for the public.

In September 2015, HoneyRock, Wheaton College's Outdoor Center for Leadership Development, welcomed the first class of 12 students to its new Vanguard Gap Year program.

First Class of Vanguards in 2015

Hear from some Vanguard alumni about the impact this gap year program has had on their lives.



Provost Diddams On March 8, 2016, Wheaton College President Dr. Philip Graham Ryken announced the appointment of Dr. Margaret DuPlissis Diddams ’83 as Provost of Wheaton College (Ill.).

Diddams is responsible to the President for all aspects of the academic division of the College, which in addition to the faculty includes Admissions, the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, Global Programs and Services, Institutional Research and Academic Support, and the Library and Archives. In addition to her role as a member of the Senior Administrative Cabinet, Diddams holds faculty status as Professor of Psychology.

Ed Stetzer HeadshotIn May 2016, Dr. Ed Stetzer was appointed to a newly created chair, The Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism. In this role, he was named Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College (BGC).

“Ed Stetzer is a dynamic communicator and brilliant researcher who brings a genuine knowledge of the gospel and a deep understanding of contemporary culture to his new place of service,” said President Philip Ryken. “His work at Wheaton College will help raise up a new generation of passionate, generous-hearted evangelists who make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ. It will also help Wheaton build stronger networks with churches across America and around the world.”

Read more about Ed Stetzer's appointment >

Starting in the fall of 2016, Wheaton began offering a new general education curriculum – Christ at the Core – that fosters a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts. Students enjoy more freedom and flexibility in course selection and they are challenged to develop their mind, strengthen their character, and prepare for a lifetime of vocation and service in the process. 

For the first time ever the two DuPage County schools played each other in the NCAA Playoffs. Sola Olateju and Chase White each scored two touchdowns in the Thunder win as Wheaton advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. Read more about this historic victory >

Chase White Wheaton College IL Football Player




The Wheaton College Gospel Choir celebrated 30 years with an anniversary concert on March 25th, and this special commemorative video. 

On October 19, 2017, the Conservatory of Music moved into the brand new Armerding Center for Music and the Arts. The auspicious occasion was marked with an all-Conservatory meeting in the new recital hall that included prayers of thanksgiving and songs (of course!) of praise.

Conservatory Move into Armerding Center for Music and the Arts

See a photo album from the day of the move >

Silvio E. Vazquez In November 2017, President Ryken announced the appointment of Silvio Vazquez as Wheaton's first ever Chief Enrollment Management Officer. Vazquez serves as a member of the Senior Administrative Cabinet and provides leadership for all aspects of enrollment strategy and services, including Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions and Student Financial Services.

Read more about Vazquez's appointment >

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the From the Heart, For the Kingdom campaign has successfully built a new, centrally-located Welcome Center to ensure that all visitors—prospective students, alumni, and conference guests alike—are given the warmest of Wheaton welcomes. This multi-functional “front door” to campus contains a Great Hall complete with fireplace, comfortable seating area, and exhibits chronicling Wheaton’s past, present, and future. The center also houses the Undergraduate Admissions office.

On December 8, 2017, the Wheaton community gathered to dedicate the new building. 

Welcome Center Dedication

Take a photo tour of the Welcome Center in Wheaton magazine >



In 2018, Wheaton College announced the establishment of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, School of Mission Ministry and Leadership, and School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy.

This new academic structure reorganized several closely related individual departments and programs into three larger, cohesive academic bodies. As Wheaton College Provost Dr. Margaret Diddams noted in her announcement of the plan, “The formation of these three schools highlights the existing collaboration between undergraduate and graduate faculty and programs in each area, offering a seamless integration for the benefit of students at all levels, it strengthens our existing programs, while also creating more nimbleness to take on new initiatives.”

Dr. Sheila Caldwell Chief Intercultural Engagement OfficeIn March 2018, President Dr. Philip Graham Ryken announced the appointment of Dr. Sheila Caldwell as Wheaton’s first Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer.

Caldwell serves as a member of the Senior Administrative Cabinet and provide leadership for defining and meeting campus-wide goals in deepening ethnic diversity, promoting racial reconciliation, and advancing intercultural understanding.

In 2019, she and President Ryken announced a new Christ-Centered Diversity Commitment, committing the College to pursue diversity, inclusion, justice, and unity. Read more about the Diversity Commitment in Wheaton magazine >

Read more about Dr. Caldwell's appointment >

From the Heart for the Kingdom LogoThe From the Heart, For the Kingdom capital campaign concluded on June 20, 2018, and raised over $187 million in gifts in commitments. This campaign will make a Wheaton education more remarkable, relevant, and reachable for years to come, with highlights such as the construction of a new Welcome Center and performing arts center, a deepened commitment to ethnic diversity, an expanded Center for Vocation and Career, and an enhanced liberal arts curriculum through Christ at the Core. Learn more about this campaign.

In August 2018 the Aequitas Program in Urban Leadership launched its first cohort under the direction of Dr. Noah Toly.

Aequitas Program Wheaton College IL First Cohort

The Aequitas Program is a four-year, cohort-based, experiential program that educates Wheaton College students to promote just, sustainable, and flourishing urban communities through academic study, experiential learning, immersion programs, and Christian service. 

Learn more about Aequitas >



At a Grand Celebration in February 2019, Wheaton College announced Phase II of its state-of-the-art Armerding Center for Music and the Arts. 

768x432 Armerding Center

Phase II, which is well underway, includes a 648-seat concert hall, and a choral rehearsal room. When completed in August 2020, the center will be the fruition of more than eight years of planning, fundraising, and construction.

Leadership also announced a number of new initiatives associated with the new Armerding Center including:

  • Named spaces honoring key donors
  • A new Associate Chaplain of Worship Arts faculty position
  • The launch of a new Certificate in Worship Arts

and more!

Read the full announcement for more details >

In March 2019, Wheaton College launched the Wheaton Center for Faith and Disability, a project spearheaded by the Ann Haskins Special Education Program under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Boehm. 

Thomas Boehm Presenting

The Center exists to provoke biblical, ecumenical discourse on disability as it impacts families, schools, and congregations. It seeks to foster a robust biblical understanding of disability, provide training resources, and facilitate practical support that will empower communities to become places of belonging for all. 

Learn more about the Center for Faith and Disability >

Men's Basketball Team Wheaton College IL

The victory against Marietta (91-87) on March 9, 2019 sent the Thunder to the Final Four of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since Division III was created. Senior Aston Francis set Division III Tournament records for points (62) and three-pointers (12) in the victory.

Read more about this historic win >

Favor Ezewuzie Track Champion Wheaton College IL

Junior Favor Ezewuzie placed second in the women’s 100-meter hurdles; third in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Geneva, Ohio. She earned All-America recognition in each of those events and as a member of the women’s 4X100-meter relay that placed sixth that day.

Read more about Favor's amazing achievements >

For 50 years, Wheaton College and HoneyRock have demonstrated a commitment to helping students transition well into Wheaton College through a pre-orientation program. Though the name has changed and elements have been developed to accommodate the needs of today’s generation, the vision remains the same: to prepare students to thrive at Wheaton and beyond.

Wheaton Passage 50th Celebration Banner

From October 1st - October 4th, 2019, Vanguard, High Road, and Passage participants gathered to reconnect with cabin mates and leaders at HoneyRock, and we hosted a special reunion dinner during Homecoming 2019.

Participants from Vanguard, High Road, and Passage can reconnect through this Facebook Group >

Wheaton Thunder Football TackleFor the first time in program history, the Wheaton Thunder hosted the Quarterfinal Round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs. While the Thunder lost to St. John's (Minn.) on Saturday, December 7th with a final score of 34-33, Wheaton closed its season with a 12-1 record, posting only the second 12-win season in program history. 

Read more about the historic game >

As part of Wheaton's ongoing efforts to cultivate a community that reflects the diversity of God's kingdom, we have doubled the number of both Asian and African American faculty over the last decade.

Asian 10 (5%) 15 (7%) 17 (8%) 18 (8%) 19 (9%) 20 (9%)
Black/African-American 7 (3%) 7 (3%) 7 (3%) 8 (4%) 10 (5%) 14 (6%)

A brick building

Wheaton College’s M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy will be Illinois’ first and only faith-based, accredited program to have its own training clinic open to the public. The Center for Family and Relational Health, scheduled to open in October 2020, will enable graduate students to receive their required training and provide counseling services at competitive rates.

Read the full announcement and learn more about the Center >