Parent Newsletter - September, 2021

September 2021 

From the President

Philip G. Ryken President Wheaton College IL

Dear Parents,

We had hoped to begin the new school year mostly COVID-free. But the virus is still with us in DuPage County and across the nation, and we are monitoring daily the care of students who fall ill and taking needed measures to help maintain the well-being of all.

Despite the lingering virus, we began well on August 25 with classes and Academic Convocation—with faculty in full regalia. My Chapel address that day recalled that God “makes beauty out of ashes.” Two days later, the entire campus celebrated “A Day of Renewal” to celebrate the beauty of living, learning, and working in a Christ-centered academic community.

The day began with an early-morning student-led prayer for suffering people in Afghanistan and Haiti. Later at Chapel, students read together portions of the Community Covenant that serves as our campus standard for life together. As they exited Edman Chapel they were greeted by a crowd of cheering faculty and staff holding signs, “We missed you!”

Afternoon lawn festivities on the quad and a campus-wide picnic served as a transition to evening events, including a concert, a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, line-dancing, and a spectacular display of fireworks at McCully Stadium.

I am grateful for your prayerful care for your student and for us in these challenging times, as we live into God’s promise to give us “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken
Philip Ryken

Virtual Parent Town Hall

All parents are invited to join our virtual Parent Town Hall with President Ryken and members of his Senior Administrative Cabinet. You will hear a College update and have the opportunity to ask questions via Slido during the event.

Tuesday, September 14, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. CDT
Watch live at this video link.

Ask questions during the event on Slido, Event Code #380482

If you are unable to watch live, the session will be recorded and made available following the event.

Family Weekend

We hope you will make plans to come to campus for Family Weekend, November 5-6. Check out what’s going on that weekend. There’s something for everyone!

Should the pandemic impact Family Weekend plans, the College will communicate those changes as quickly as possible.

Armerding Concert Hall 825 x 300

Announcing the Year of the Arts, Faith, and Imagination

Last week Dr. Ryken announced that this school year, 2021-2022, we will celebrate all that God has accomplished in and through the arts at Wheaton with the Year of the Arts, Faith, and Imagination. Learn about what that means for campus, and how you can participate, at

Student Health Services

With the sharp increase of COVID-19 cases on campus, Student Health Services (SHS) continues to focus on surveillance testing and symptomatic testing to detect and isolate new COVID-19 cases and contact trace any close contacts. Read about the new COVID-19 protocols and visit the COVID dashboard for updated information on the current COVID-19 data for campus.

In addition to testing for, and managing COVID-19, SHS is maintaining all normal health care services at our primary care clinic, including well and sick care. One physician, two nurse practitioners, and a team of registered nurses are available to care for the varied health care needs that arise for the college students. The SHS website highlights the types of services available.

Another COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine clinic will be sponsored by Amita Health right on campus in Coray Alumni Gym on Sept. 16th (1st dose) and October 7th (2nd dose). Your student can sign-up at this link to be given an appointment time.

Flu shots arrived this week! Students may receive one for $30 (billed to his/her student account) by visiting SHS in person, or scheduling an appointment at 630-752-5072, or visiting one of the several flu vaccine clinics hosted throughout campus this fall.

Edman Chapel rows of seats 825 x 300

Chaplain’s Office

Our office seeks to fulfill its mission of giving leadership to the meeting of the spiritual needs and furthering the spiritual formation of Wheaton students, staff, and faculty in a multitude of ways. Our chapel curriculum this year will be Ephesians on Mondays, a reading from the gospel of John on Wednesdays, and a Psalm on Fridays. Parents are invited to watch Chapel services live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:40am CST.

The College’s year verse for 2021-2022 is Isaiah 61:3 – “The Lord has anointed me to provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” In conjunction with the Conservatory of Music, the Chaplain’s Office is celebrating the Year of Arts, Faith, and Imagination many of our speakers, passages, and themes will be centered around these ideas of beauty, creation, and vision.

Our main four initiatives are focused around spiritual formation, worship arts, discipleship, and human sexuality. We are seeking to serve our campus community well in these areas with our chapel band, small groups, student chaplains, and more. These are challenging subjects but crucial to our spiritual lives as we have covenanted to live together in this community. Please pray for our staff as well as our campus as we desire to be faithful and rooted as oaks of righteousness for the splendor of the Lord.

Student Development – Resources to support your student

Wheaton College offers several resources to support students. Residence Directors (live-in professional staff) and Resident Assistants (student leader on each floor) are some of the first staff members students get to know. If your student mentions any concerns with roommates, academics, emotional care, or adjusting to living away from home, please encourage them connect directly with their residence life staff member for assistance and referrals to additional campus resources. Students also can request support from Student Care Services. This resource is found on the student section of the Wheaton Portal in the C.A.R.E.S area.

Read about Life at Wheaton for a helpful starting point to understand the full range of available resources provided by Student Development.

Parent Notification Policy
Parents sometime ask the question, “When will someone at the College contact me if a concern arises with my student?” The Parent Notification Policy is a good resource to help address this question.  The policy is posted online in the Student Development section of the Student Handbook (page 63) and is a resource to clarify expectations.  If you have follow-up questions, please send an email to

Residence Life room setup

Residence Life

Community relationships are forming despite masking around campus. We have seen the whole student body come to life as they experience community in closer proximity than we were allowed last year. The purpose of the Residence Life department at Wheaton College (RAs, GRAs, ARDs, RDs and Dean) is to create physically and relationally supportive environments where students are challenged to live out the body of Christ and grow in His likeness.

Residence Life sent this document to your student before they arrived on campus and would like you to be aware of this resource as well. Having a roommate, floor mates, and a brother or sister floor can be one of the great joys of your student’s college years.  Friendships, adventures, late night talks, sharing joys and sorrows, meeting people from all over the world are enormous opportunities that can shape your student.  These can also be a point of conflict, misunderstanding and distress.  It is absolutely critical to understand that community, both intimate and extended, is the workshop of your student’s relationship with God.  It is not by chance that Jesus said, “If you love me, love your neighbor.”

It is by design that Campus Living is one of Wheaton’s four pillars of education along with Academic, Co-curricular, and Chapel. For eight months of the year, students are intentionally living with roommates and floormates in all their glory and mess.  There are challenges of communication, expectations, teamwork, reconciliation, conflict management, and the working out of 1 Corinthians 13 within a real-life scenario.  Students are not only building intellectual muscles while they attend Wheaton, they are putting their faith into practice with real people in a real community. That is why we do not simply change housing arrangements when roommate dynamics feel uncomfortable, challenging, or overwhelming. The Residence Life staff is here to walk alongside your student by giving them both support and challenge and help walk them through the practices of the Christian life as it pertains to their living situation. If your student mentions experiencing a glitch with their roommate, please encourage them to utilize this resource, reach out to their res life staff member for guidance, and empower them to have an honest and caring conversation with their roommate.

Center for Vocation and Career - Career Communities

“I’ll start thinking about my future when I’m less busy” is a refrain we hear often in the Center for Vocation and Career. No doubt you’ve heard your student say something similar as they scramble from class, to activities, to rehearsal, to hanging out with friends.

And yet, the job search is just one small step in their much larger vocational journey, which will be much more fruitful for your student if they engage early and thoughtfully. The CVC’s Career Communities, which kick off next week, give students practical steps for moving forward no matter where they are in the process.

Offered at the start of each semester, Career Communities are a chance for your student to engage with like-minded peers as they learn from Wheaton alumni with real world experience. They’ll also build peer accountability, encouragement, and support into their process—after all, everyone needs a team! Fall semester’s groups are comprised of five industry groups, one exploration group, and three racial affinity groups that will help address the unique experiences of those members in the workplace. Encourage your student to sign up via the links in the email they received, or by scanning the QR codes on posters around campus.

The future may be inevitable, but planning for it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Our team in the CVC is excited to partner with your student and give them tools they need today.   

Two female students outside of Edman 825 x 300

Refer a Student

Do you know another student who would thrive at Wheaton? We’d love for you to invite that student to consider Wheaton!

The Wheaton Fund: Excellence and Affordability

Every year, hundreds of parents help make the Wheaton experience possible for our students when they support the Wheaton Fund. Gifts to the Wheaton Fund represent an ongoing investment in the College’s tradition of excellence by investing in Christ-centered faculty and programming and keeping Wheaton affordable for every student.

You can give online today or by phone when a student calls you to explain more about what the Wheaton Fund means to them.

Explore Accelerated Master’s Degrees with Wheaton College Graduate School

Perhaps your student has been prayerfully considering enrolling in one of Wheaton’s 20+ graduate degrees or certificates. Students can discern whether Wheaton’s graduate programs are right for them by scheduling a visit with admissions and our expert faculty mentors.

The Office of Graduate Admissions regularly hosts online faculty webinars, information sessions, and personal visits to help prospective students explore our programs. Your son or daughter can learn about our accelerated M.A. programs, hear from professors, meet admissions counselors, and connect with current graduate students when they sign up for a visit.

Wheaton in Chicago

Encourage your student to consider a semester of Wheaton in Chicago, open to all class years and majors. Your student can meet graduation requirements through on-site classes, grow deeper in their racial and cultural identity development, gain professional experience through an internship that aligns with their vocational interests, and enjoy proximity to the Lake Michigan beach and delicious food – all within the context of Wheaton community and a liberal arts approach to studying and exploring Chicago. Same tuition and financial aid as a semester on campus.  Apply by October 15 for Spring 2022 (final deadline) and Fall 2022 (early action deadline).

How to pray for Wheaton in September

With thanks for your involvement and prayers, 

The Wheaton College Parent Engagement Team

Blanchard with tulips in spring