Alumni News

A Word with Alumni

Dr. Beverly Liefeld Hancock ’84, President, Wheaton College Alumni Association Board of Directors

512x768 winter 2021 magazine

It is a typical fall Sunday afternoon, and I’m watching a football game with my family. We are cheering along with the fans at the stadium. Except it is this fall. The fans are digital and the crowd noise is pre-recorded. The game has stirred me to think about the imagination and creativity we have witnessed during the pandemic.

Although the campus is closed to visitors, Instagram and Facebook have given me glimpses into some of the ingenuity at Wheaton: stadium chairs for incoming students to allow social distancing during orientation at McCully Stadium, bonfires around campus with unlimited s’mores, and virtual Homecoming. Most significantly, faculty demonstrated collaboration, flexibility, and creativity as they quickly pivoted to all-remote learning in the spring and hybrid classes in the fall. They have found effective ways to teach and care for students, both online and in the classroom, with appropriate social distancing.

Beyond the Instagram lens, as President of the Alumni Association, I have an inside view of what is happening on campus. I also have a non-voting seat on the Wheaton College Board of Trustees. With 46,000+ alumni spanning over 100 years, I cannot represent all perspectives, but I am able to speak to common alumni interests and concerns. Some of these concerns were the impetus for the initial establishment of the Alumni Association: advocating for faculty, academic excellence, stewardship of finances and financial gifts, and the culture of Wheaton, from theology to diversity.

President Ryken wrote earlier in this issue that these times are unpredictable. In the face of challenges, Wheaton has focused on areas that are also of vital interest to alumni. By responding with ingenuity partnered with prayer and deep reliance on God, they have upheld academic excellence, spiritual growth, and community.

In light of these great efforts, I invite you to join the College in praying for God’s guidance and provision in the face of the many uncertainties. Join alumni around the world praying daily using the alumni prayer card available online or receive a hard copy by contacting the alumni office.