Parent Newsletter - February, 2021

February 2021

From the President

Philip G. Ryken President Wheaton College IL

Dear Parents,

Public health authorities in the State of Illinois have allowed us to return fully to Phase 4—just in time for your student’s return to Wheaton’s campus last weekend for in-person classes. 

We are focusing on creative ways to enhance your student’s well-being, removing some Plexiglas shields in the dining area, and creating new social environments in Pierce Chapel and Fischer Hall for students to connect indoors over the winter months. We are hopeful that soon we can offer students opportunities to meet for Chapel in Edman with a reduced capacity. 

Next Monday, the annual “President’s Ball” has been reconfigured as a “MASK-querade,” featuring formal dress for classes all day, live music and festive decorations in Beamer for dinner, and a “Best Mask” contest. 

For the next few weeks, we will brave the worst of winter together, and pray for brighter, warmer days ahead. Weekly testing and campus-wide observance of social distancing and masking protocols will continue to help protect the health of our living and learning community. Please let us know if you have questions and thank you for keeping your student and us in your prayers.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken
Philip Ryken

A Note from Student Health Services 

The majority of the student body re-entered campus by coming to the Chrouser Sports Complex last weekend for their entry COVID test and to pick up the supplies for the saliva test to be taken each week based on the student’s living location. We are so thankful the numbers of positive COVID cases and close contacts remain low as seen in our daily Dashboard.

The week of March 8 - 12, the Student Wellness Team will be sponsoring a De-Stress week across campus with various activities to encourage physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual wellness. Tournaments of kickball or ping-pong, visiting dogs, and potting a plant are some of the activities that will happen throughout the week planned in COVID-safe ways. This week will focus on encouraging students to find balance in the midst of rigorous studies and the stresses of living through COVID.

Collegiate Day of Prayer 

The most important way to support your student and Wheaton College this spring is to pray. As you pray, you are literally battling alongside your student and the College for God’s continued goodness to prevail on Wheaton’s campus during these challenging times. Zoom Parent Prayer Gatherings will occur on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 7 p.m. in all U.S. time zones. This date coincides with the Collegiate Day of Prayer, a day set apart to pray for college campuses across the country. Let’s go to battle for the Wheaton campus! 

Registration is required and will close on Tuesday, February 23 at midnight. Register Now.

Stay Up-to-Date

Check out the new Parent Announcement webpage where parents can access College announcements of interest to Wheaton parents. Messages are posted by date and can be sorted by topic.

Summer Leadership Opportunities at HoneyRock

Wheaton in the Northwoods
In May and June HoneyRock offers courses that meet Christ at the Core and General Education requirements of Wheaton College. Open to any student, these courses are taught by Wheaton professors in a modular and intensive format. See the course list at

Lead Wheaton Passage
Your student can welcome new students to Wheaton and guide their first weeks on campus! Passage leadership positions are open to rising Wheaton sophomores, juniors, and seniors who love Wheaton and want to support new students’ first days and weeks on campus. Learn more at 

Work/Intern on Summer Staff
Christ-centered community, meaningful work, a beautiful place—working or interning at HoneyRock makes for an incredible personal growth and an unforgettable summer. Internships are available for a wide variety of majors. Explore the opportunities at

For Siblings of Wheaties – Summer Camps at HoneyRock!
Summer camps at HoneyRock make space for 1st – 12th graders to build strong and Christ-centered friendships, experience truth-infused living, and develop their leadership skills. Explore summer camps at HoneyRock

Music-Making during Covid

Even amidst intense Covid challenges, God has guided and enabled the music-making of our dear College! Eli Ouoba ’23, Conservatory student shared: “I feel quite blessed to be attending Wheaton in the current circumstances. Granted, there are challenges that come with social distancing, mask-wearing, and otherwise limited freedoms. But the engagement, resources, and social benefits that come with in-person classes and campus living are invaluable." 

We are all grateful to be able to continue rehearsing, performing, and teaching. During the winter, we produced the Christmas Festival, featuring the Orchestra, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale, Men’s Glee Club, Percussion, and Harp Ensemble; as well as two-cast performances of The Marriage of Figaro by Opera Mainstage. These and other virtual performances are offered free of charge in our hope of encouraging and ministering to all who would join us.  

Be sure to note the upcoming events below and visit for latest info.  

We are thrilled that Dr. Soh-Hyun Park Altino, violinist, has joined the Conservatory of Music faculty as Associate Professor of Music. She is a gifted and accomplished violinist who previously served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Memphis. 

The Class of 2021

Congratulations to the parents of soon-to-be alumni from the class of 2021! As we shared in January, we are planning to celebrate the graduation of your student from Wheaton College in May. Now we can announce that the undergraduate ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Central on Sunday, May 9. For these morning graduation exercises we will incorporate certain worship elements from our traditional Baccalaureate service. A morning ceremony will also give students more time to move out of their residence halls, apartments, and houses on Sunday afternoon or evening.

Unfortunately, given State of Illinois public health guidelines and the current trajectory of COVID-19, we are unable to promise that family and friends will be able to join our graduates on campus, even with vaccinations in progress around the country and in our community. Thus, we ask you to prepare for the possibility that you may have to participate remotely, even as we join you in praying that you can participate in person and waiting patiently to see what God will do.

If we find we cannot invite you to campus in person, we will provide a livestream so that you can follow the proceedings online. Further, we plan to have a professional photographer take a picture of each graduate as he or she receives a diploma, with prints available for purchase.

The Commencement team at will provide further information as soon as it becomes available.  

A Word With the Chaplain

Recently, coaches, Student Wellness staff, Student Government leaders, select faculty members, and the Chaplain’s office staff met to discuss the spiritual vitality of the student body and were encouraged to learn that the spiritual fervor and commitments of students, faculty, and staff are alive and well, in spite of the enormous and negative effects of Covid-restrictions. Faculty, coaches, residence life staff, and student leaders are engaged in mentoring, small group ministries, and ministries of prayer. The Spirit of God is doing a fresh work in our campus community. As evidence of this: 

With those things in mind, we dare not minimize the spiritual challenges students are facing in this very unusual year. Students express feelings of disconnectedness due to social distancing, the spiritual impact of not being able to worship together in-person, and the exhausting nature of having so many Zoom meetings. Bottom line: On one side, God is very much at work in and through the lives of the people at Wheaton College. On the other, all of us at Wheaton College need your prayer and ongoing encouragement. 

Grad School News

Graduate Applications Due in March

Is your student seeking a graduate school that integrates humble leadership, exceptional scholarship, and an ambitious vision—all for Christ and His kingdom? At the Wheaton College Graduate School, discover 19 degree programs ranging from the fields of psychology to Bible and theology, from ministry and leadership to the social sciences.

Whether your student enrolls as an accelerated master’s student or in a traditional graduate program track, they will be mentored by expert faculty, enjoy fellowship with like-minded students, and be prepared to lead, serve, and practice with faithful excellence. Applications for most master’s programs are due in March. Learn more and sign up for online information sessions here.

Center for Vocation and Career

Internships, research experiences, and student teaching are all critical to post-graduate outcomes. And for many students, internship hiring season starts now! Is your student looking? Is he or she ready to apply? We can help!

Learn Together

Learn alongside your Wheaton community by participating in A Time for Everything, a special speaking series that will uplift and encourage your heart and mind. Join us in March and April to hear messages of hope from current Wheaton faculty. More information coming in March. 

How can you pray for Wheaton this month?

With thanks for your involvement and prayers, 

The Wheaton College Parent Engagement team