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Faculty Remembrances

Two emeriti faculty members share their memories of Dr. Beatrice Batson.

Dr. Sharon Coolidge“When I first walked into Bea Batson’s Western World Literature classroom my first day as a student at Wheaton College and encountered an energetic, elegant woman, imploring me to come with her on a journey, how could I resist? I had no idea what to expect, except that I had heard from upperclassmen that she was an amazing teacher. Now, fifty years later, as I helped her family with funeral arrangements and work to find places for the last of her worldly goods, I still marvel where that journey has taken me. She was my teacher, my mentor, my department chair, my colleague, and most important, my life-long friend. She helped shape my career, stretched me, inspired me, taught me how to teach, hired me back as a faculty member at Wheaton, and encouraged me to serve as Department Chair as she had done for so many years. In her final years, as congestive heart failure began to take its toll on her body, I looked forward to the conversations we could have on good days and took genuine delight in serving her physical needs as she had served my intellectual needs all those years ago. My husband and I just returned from her funeral in Tennessee, where her family warmly embraced us as extended family. Her physical journey ended in a family plot in a small Tennessee cemetery, but the intellectual and spiritual journey she invited me to go on with her all those years ago will last forever.” – Dr. Sharon Coolidge, Professor of English Emerita

“Beatrice Batson was a beloved colleague. As Head of our Department of English her passionate belief in and defense of the liberal arts was a constant source of support and encouragement to me and each our colleagues; to study literature was to acquire a depth of understanding of our fellow humans and a breadth of sympathy for the human situation. She was to me a close friend and ally, and I recall our friendship and mutual admiration with thanksgiving. We were both members of Christ Church of Oakbrook. She had a mature Christian faith with an interesting distrust of any glib piety, preferring in its stead lives that quietly reflect a depth of faith in Christ and obedience to His precepts. I miss her, but am confident that she now knows the rewards of a life well lived.” – Dr. Rolland Hein, Professor of English Emeritus