A recap of exciting changes and events from around campus
On September 14, the Wheaton College Board of Trustees issued to the College community the final report of the Historical Review Task Force. The Board had commissioned the team of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to study the College’s history from 1860 to 2000 regarding race. The Task Force worked to develop a more unified understanding about the history of race relations at Wheaton, document its impact on present realities, and determine—in view of the supremacy of Jesus Christ—what aspects of this history need to be celebrated more intentionally, lamented more deeply, or repented of more specifically. The College has already engaged with the report through campus town halls, a student conversation co-hosted with Student Government, a faculty forum, a question-and-answer time for alumni during Homecoming Weekend, and a symposium. The College will continue interacting with and learning from the report in coming months.
Read the full report at wheaton.edu/HRTF.
In October, Matthew Erickson ’95 began his role as the sixth executive director of the HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development since its founding in 1951. Prior to this role, Erickson was chief revenue officer with the software company LeadVenture and has served on the HoneyRock Advisory Board for six years. Erickson succeeds Dr. Rob Ribbe ’87, who served as HoneyRock’s executive director since August 2000. Ribbe stepped into new roles as the director of academic programs at HoneyRock and associate professor of outdoor adventure leadership.
A $1.25M grant from Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative will support the Rhythms of Faith project led by the HoneyRock Center for Leadership Development. Engaging more than 25 camps, 500 congregations, and 10,000 families, the project aims to create and refine strategies for family faith formation that will be shared through coursework, graduate education, and consulting resources.
Wheaton College announced the appointment of Andrew Cook to serve as executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. The WCBGC was founded by Reverend Billy Graham ’43 to develop and mobilize Christ-followers for individual and corporate witness. It now features nine institutes led by a wide range of experts. Cook most recently acted as the center’s interim executive director. He additionally serves as the North American co-director for the Lausanne Movement, leads Wheaton’s Evangelism Leaders Fellowship, and chairs the Wheaton Evangelism Group.
A symposium on how to serve people who have experienced trauma and abuse was held in Barrows Auditorium on September 11. The event featured panelists Rachael and Jacob Denhollander and Dr. Preston Hill. In 2016, Rachael, a former gymnast, became the first woman to press criminal charges and speak publicly against Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics team doctor at the time. She now works as an advocate, author, and educator recognized as a prominent voice on the subject of sexual abuse. Her husband, Jacob, is a theologian and author. Hill is an assistant professor of integrative theology at Richmont Graduate University. The event also included Wheaton faculty members who engaged the panelists in conversation: Dr. Vincent Bacote, Dr. Esau McCaulley, and Dr. Tammy Schultz.
This fall, the doors of McAlister Hall opened to students once again. Constructed in 1962, the building was left mostly unused after the Conservatory of Music made the move to the Armerding Center for Music & the Arts in 2017. McAlister now houses the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, with all faculty offices and the majority of language classes held in the building. Language classes were previously held in multiple location around campus, including the recently demolished Wyngarden Hall, the former home of the department.
On November 17, as part of the Conservatory of Music’s Artist Series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leonidas Kavakos’ rendition of Szymanowski’s Second Violin Concerto. The concert was held at Edman Memorial Chapel and featured a pre-concert conversation in Armerding Concert Hall.
With its first cohort walking onto campus in 1972, Wheaton College’s engineering program recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Department of Physics and Engineering offers both the 3-2 dual degree program and a new four-year liberal arts engineering degree that was announced in the fall of 2022. This past semester was the first time that enrolling students could choose to declare a four-year major in general engineering, with a concentration in mechanical engineering.
The Bon Appetit Management Company implemented fresh changes to Anderson Commons, including a complete overhaul of the furniture and chairs in the dining hall to offer more comfort and seating option flexibility. Digital screens were added to display more readable menus and cut back on paper usage. Anderson Commons stations are no longer self-served in an effort to reduce food waste and promote healthy portions. In Lower Beamer, Sam’s Cafe now serves coffee from I Have a Bean, a local roastery that employs formerly incarcerated individuals.
Daniel Nayeri’s Everything Sad Is Untrue is the Wheaton College 2023–2024 Core Book of the year. As the first contemporary young adult work selected for the program, Everything Sad Is Untrue addresses crucial topics such as religious differences, human migration, and refugee crises while incorporating elements of Persian legend, family history, and spiritual autobiography. On October 23, Nayeri gave an on-campus talk on his book’s thematic content in Armerding Concert Hall. The following night, Dr. Esau McCaulley, Associate Professor of New Testament, and author Beth Moore joined Nayeri for an on-campus public panel discussion exploring the process and power of spiritual autobiography.
This Christmas, alumni missionary families serving in 51 countries outside the United States will receive the following gifts, thanks to publishers who donate books and the College’s Board of Trustees, which provides funds for shipping costs.
Read more stories at wheaton.edu/news.