Wheaton College (Illinois)

Wheaton College is an Evangelical liberal arts college and graduate school in Wheaton, Illinois.[3] It was founded by evangelical abolitionists in 1860.[4] Wheaton College was a stop on the Underground Railroad and graduated one of Illinois' first black college graduates.

Wheaton College
Wheaton College, Illinois seal.svg
MottoChristo et Regno Ejus
Motto in English
For Christ and His Kingdom
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1860; 162 years ago (1860)
Religious affiliation
Academic affiliations
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges

Christian College Consortium
Endowment$502.0 million (2020)[1]
PresidentPhil Ryken
Academic staff
198 full time, 104 part time
Location, ,
United States

41°52′13″N 88°05′55″W / 41.87028°N 88.09861°W / 41.87028; -88.09861Coordinates: 41°52′13″N 88°05′55″W / 41.87028°N 88.09861°W / 41.87028; -88.09861
CampusSuburban, 80 acres (32.4 ha)
ColorsBlue and Orange
Sporting affiliations
Wheaton College, Illinois logo.svg

Wheaton is noted for its "twin traditions of quality academics and deep faith,"[5] according to Time magazine. Wheaton is included in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives. A 2017 article in The Economist described it as one of America's foremost Christian institutions.[6]


Wheaton College was founded in 1860. Its predecessor, the Illinois Institute, had been founded in late 1853 by Wesleyan Methodists as a college and preparatory school. Wheaton's first president, Jonathan Blanchard, was a former president of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and a staunch abolitionist with ties to Oberlin College. Mired in financial trouble and unable to sustain the institution, the Wesleyans looked to Blanchard for new leadership. He took on the role as president in 1860, having suggested several Congregationalist appointees to the board of trustees the previous year.[7] The Wesleyans, similar in spirit and mission to the Congregationalists, were happy to relinquish control of the Illinois Institute.[8] Blanchard officially separated the college from any denominational support and was responsible for its new name, given in honor of trustee and benefactor Warren L. Wheaton, who founded the town of Wheaton after moving to Illinois from New England.

A dogged reformer, Blanchard began his public campaign for abolitionism with the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1836, at the age of twenty-five.[9] Later in his life, after the Civil War, he began a sustained campaign against Freemasonry. This culminated in a national presidential campaign on the American Anti-Masonic Party ticket in 1884.

Blanchard Hall, Wheaton College
Blanchard Hall
Location501 College Ave., Wheaton, Illinois
AreaLess than one acre
Architectural styleClassical Revival, Romanesque
NRHP reference No.79000836
Added to NRHPNovember 14, 1979

Under Blanchard's leadership, the college was a stop on the Underground Railroad.[10] The confirmation came from the letters of Ezra Cook, one of Blanchard's relatives by marriage, who notes that the town and college's anti-slavery beliefs were so widely held that he, along with hundreds of other Wheaton residents, had seen and spoken with many fugitive slaves.[11][12]

Blanchard consistently lobbied for universal co-education and was a strong proponent of reform through strong public education open to all. At this time, Wheaton was the only school in Illinois with a college-level women's program. Also, Wheaton saw its first graduate of color in 1866, when Edward Breathitte Sellers took his degree.[13] Additionally, he is one of the first African-American college graduates in the state of Illinois. In 1882, Charles A. Blanchard succeeded his father as president of the college.

In 1925, J. Oliver Buswell, an outspoken Presbyterian, delivered a series of lectures at Wheaton College. Shortly thereafter, President Charles Blanchard died and Buswell was called to be the third president of Wheaton. Upon his installation in April 1926, he became the nation's youngest college president at age 31. Buswell's tenure was characterized by expanding enrollment (from approximately 400 in 1925 to 1,100 in 1940), a building program, strong academic development, and a boom in the institution's reputation. It was also known for growing divisiveness over faculty scholarship and personality clashes. In 1940, this tension led to the firing of Buswell for being, as two historians of the college put it, "too argumentative in temperament and too intellectual in his approach to Christianity."[14] By the late 1940s, Wheaton was emerging as a standard-bearer of Evangelicalism.[15]

By 1950, enrollment at the college surpassed 1,600, and in the second half of the twentieth century, enrollment growth and more selective admissions accompanied athletic success, additional and improved facilities, and expanded programs.

In 1951, Honey Rock, a camp in Three Lakes, Wisconsin, was purchased by the college.[16]

In 2010, the public phase of The Promise of Wheaton campaign came to a close with $250.7 million raised, an "unprecedented 5-1/2 year campaign figure for Wheaton College".[17]

In 2010, Wheaton College become the first American Associate University of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's Faith and Globalization Initiative. Tony Blair noted that the partnership will "give emerging leaders in the United States and the United Kingdom the opportunity to explore in depth the critical issues of how faith impacts the modern world today through different faith and cultural lenses" and that Wheaton's participation will "greatly enrich the Initiative".[18]

As of 2015 the college continued to retain its Christian "Statement of Faith and Educational Purpose"[15] and expected public statements of its faculty members to conform to it.[19]



LEED Gold rated Meyer Science Center houses classrooms, laboratories, greenhouse and rooftop observatory

Wheaton College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

According to The Princeton Review's "The Best 351 Colleges", "If the integration of faith and learning is what you want out of a college, Wheaton is arguably the best school in the nation with a Christ-based worldview."[20] Students may choose from about 40 majors in many liberal arts disciplines and in the sciences. Some of the most popular in recent years have been business, communications, English, biology, biblical studies, political science, international relations, and psychology. The college is ranked 3rd most LGBTQ-unfriendly campus by The Princeton Review in its 2020 rankings of the 386 American campuses that it surveys.[21][22]

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Wheaton College at 56 out of 265 Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. Wheaton continued to achieve high rankings in several areas of the report:

  • No. 15 in freshmen retention (95.0%) (2009 Report)[23]
  • No. 21 in six-year graduation rate (86%) (2007 Report)
  • No. 25 in SAT/ACT scores (1250–1440) (2007 Report)
  • No. 39 in percentage of freshmen graduating in the top 10 percent of their high-school classes (54%) (2007 Report)

Wheaton College ranked ninth in the nation in the total number of graduates (all fields) who went on to earn doctorates (during the period of 1986–1995) according to Franklin & Marshall College's latest survey, which included more than 900 private colleges and universities.[24]

Forbes magazine ranks Wheaton College 75th in their annual list of 650 best undergraduate institutions and gave Wheaton a financial grade of "A". Forbes also lists Wheaton among the Top 100 ROI Colleges 2014.[25]

Conservatory of MusicEdit

Wheaton College is home to a Conservatory of Music that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The Conservatory offers two professional music degrees: the Bachelor of Music (with emphases in performance, Suzuki pedagogy, composition, history and literature, conducting, collaborative piano, or elective studies) and the Bachelor of Music Education. All of the teaching faculty in the conservatory hold doctorates. There are approximately 200 music majors in the conservatory, with a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. Music majors and liberal arts majors alike perform in the conservatory's six large ensembles: concert choir, jazz ensemble, men's glee club, symphonic band, symphony orchestra, and women's chorale. Graduates include conductor John Nelson, Grammy Award-winning American soprano Sylvia McNair, and Wendy White of the Metropolitan Opera.

Artist SeriesEdit

The Artist Series at Wheaton College, operating under the umbrella of the Conservatory of Music, is a subscription concert series that brings world-class performers to the Wheaton College community. Previous Artist Series performers include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorin Maazel and the Symphonica Toscanini, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Canadian Brass, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards & Band of the Coldstream Guard. The Artist Series frequently partners with Wheaton College Conservatory graduates, including the soprano Sylvia McNair and the conductor John Nelson.

Graduate schoolEdit

The Wheaton College Graduate School was founded in 1937 to provide further theological training and ministry skills. Both the college and graduate school are on an 80-acre campus in Wheaton, Illinois, a 45-minute train ride straight west of downtown Chicago. There are approximately 550 graduate students enrolled, with a 14:1 student/faculty ratio.

The graduate school is composed of six academic departments; Biblical and Theological Studies, Christian Formation & Ministry, Evangelism and Leadership, Intercultural Studies, Psychology, and Teaching. The Graduate School offers 14 Master of Arts programs and 2 doctoral programs, a Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. Programs in the Graduate School are accredited by the American Psychological Association and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Five of the masters programs provide a flexible degree option. The Biblical Studies program is offered as a part-time, evening cohort model, Missional Church Movements and TESOL and Intercultural Studies are offered as a summers-only format, and Evangelism & Leadership the Christian Formation and Ministry – Outdoor and Adventure Ministry concentration are offered in a year-round modular format.

Off-campus studyEdit

Wheaton gives students a number of off-campus study opportunities.

The college sponsors study-abroad programs in Asia, England, France, Germany, Israel, Latin America, and Spain, as well as a summer program in Washington, D.C. Participants in Wheaton-in-England, one of the most popular annual programs, take 2–3 courses in literature while studying in London and St. Anne's College, Oxford.

Many students also participate in the Human Needs and Global Resources program. The HNGR program matches select students with six-month internships in the Third World, including opportunities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Wheaton also sponsors a semester-long, experiential, residential program in Chicago, called Wheaton in Chicago. In Chicago, students complete internships and take advanced interdisciplinary coursework. Founded in 1998, has enrolled students from more than 20 different majors.

In 1935, the Wheaton College Science Station was established in the Black Hills of South Dakota for field instruction in the natural sciences.

In 1951, HoneyRock, the outdoor center for leadership development at Wheaton College, was established in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. HoneyRock is not only a year-round camp for young people but it offers a variety of leadership schools and courses for students. Nearly 3000 people utilize HoneyRock each year.

Due to Wheaton's membership in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Wheaton students may also study at the University of Oxford, the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, Excelsia College in Australia, and Xi'an Foreign Language University in China. The CCCU also sponsors programs in American studies, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, Russian studies, and journalism.


Blanchard Hall houses offices for departments in the Humanities, Social Sciences as well as the offices of the President, the Provost, Vice-Presidents and Academic Affairs.

Wheaton's most recognizable and oldest building is Blanchard Hall, a limestone building built as the main College building in 1853. At the time, the College building was one of only two on campus, the other (called the "boarding hall") being a frame building at the foot of the hill crowned by the two-story building. Jonathan Blanchard had a vision for the expansion of this structure into its present castle-like architecture. The architectural influence is, supposedly, patterned after buildings at the University of Oxford which Blanchard admired on a trip to England in 1843. After four additions (1871, 1873, 1890, 1927) the Main Building was completed in 1927. In this year, under college president J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., the Main Building was renamed Blanchard Hall, to honor Wheaton's first two presidents, Jonathan Blanchard and his son Charles Blanchard.

Blanchard Hall served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.[10]


In 1900 the brick "Industrial Building" was built. From 1917–45 it housed the Wheaton Academy, and from 1945–60 the Graduate School. In 1960 it was renamed Buswell Hall, and in 1980 renamed Schell Hall in honor of Edward R. Schell.

The science departments were housed in Breyer (Chemistry) and Armerding (Biology, Geology, Math, and Physics) halls until the 2010–11 school year when Wheaton's new Meyer Science Center was completed. Armerding Hall was also the home to the Wheaton College Observatory (a feature of the college since the presidency of Charles Blanchard in the late-nineteenth century) which was relocated to the Meyer science Center.

The Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, housed in the Armerding Center for Music and Arts (previously in McAlister Hall and Pierce Memorial Chapel), is an internationally recognized music school and holds the distinction of being the only conservatory within an Evangelical school of higher education. The approximately 200 students within the conservatory focus on a range of fields within music including education, performance, composition, and history. Student recitals, required for graduation with a music degree, are generally held in Pierce Memorial Chapel.


Wheaton College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Thunder are a member of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. Wheaton College also competes with both in Men's and Women's collegiate rowing, lacrosse and club soccer.

The men's basketball team won the first NCAA Small College National Championship in 1958, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan in the finals, 89–65. The Wheaton men's soccer team captured the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship in 1984 and 1997, to go with runner-up finishes in 1999, 2006 and 2014. The women's soccer team won the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Wheaton athletics also competed in basketball at the 1904 Summer Olympics. The 1967–68 women's basketball team finished their season undefeated in 11 games, including a victory over the University of Iowa.[26] Wheaton College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1919 to 1937.

Gil Dodds (MA '48), one-time world record holder for the indoor mile, NCAA cross country champion, and three time Wanamaker Mile champion, was the men's track & field coach at Wheaton in the late 1940s and 1950s.


The school's football team is coached by Mike Swider, who has taken the team to the NCAA Division III Football Championship playoffs nine times.[27][28]

In 2008 Andy Studebaker was selected in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, and he was subsequently signed to the Kansas City Chiefs.[29]


Wheaton College Crew is the official collegiate rowing club of Wheaton College. Wheaton Crew was established in 1989 by a group of students, alumni and donors competing with both men's and women's boats; both crews of which are members of the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) in the Great Lakes Region.[30] The Wheaton College Crew is registered as a club sport affiliated with Wheaton College Thunder Athletics.[31] The club program is currently the highest level of competitive rowing offered at Wheaton College.

The crew team rows on the Fox River from the dock of Fox Valley Christian Action's Riverwoods Campus[32] in St. Charles, Illinois. The Fox is shared with the St. Charles Rowing Club[33] (SCRC) on a residential, no-wake 7 km stretch of river. While no boathouse has been established due to complications with Wheaton College, Wheaton Crew hosts land practices, ergometer training and tryouts in the Chrouser Sports Complex[34] on Wheaton's campus.

Wheaton Crew competes and trains for Head Races in the fall season and 2 km sprints in the spring. Wheaton competes in regattas including the Head of the Hooch, Head of the Charles Regatta and the John Hunter Regatta on Lake Lanier's Olympic Park and the Illinois Collegiate Rowing Invitational in Farmer City, Illinois. It does not compete on Sunday in agreement with Wheaton College and Wheaton College Thunder regulations.

The Wheaton Crew Cheer is a long-standing oral tradition of Wheaton oarsmen at the launch of Wheaton boats at regattas. As a strictly oral tradition this cheer is unable to be written down for any purpose. Memorizing the cheer is known as a rite of passage for Wheaton rowers and is known for connecting current rowers with alumni.

At the transition of captains, both the Men's and Women's captains are given the first flag and oar of Wheaton Crew as a symbol of the passing of power from one generation of Wheaton oarsmen to another. The Golden Cox-Tool was introduced in 2017 as a similar relic for the transitioning of the Head Coxswain.

The 1939 hymn "Victory in Jesus" is sung at the end of every Wheaton Crew racing event following Wheaton College's affiliations as an Evangelical Christian establishment.


The Gymnasium, later renamed Adams Hall, was built in 1898. It was renovated in early 2010 and currently serves as home to the Art Department. Alumni Gymnasium (renamed the Edward A. Coray Alumni Gymnasium in 1968, in honor of Coach Ed Coray's long service), was built during the Edman presidency and paid for by alumni. The cornerstone was laid at homecoming on October 11, 1941. A copper box placed in the cornerstone contained a copy of the Wheaton Record, the Wheaton Daily Journal, a college catalog, a student directory, and a copy of the Homecoming program. Wyngarten Health Center was built in 1958, followed by Centennial Gymnasium in 1959–60, which was extensively renovated and expanded in 2000. It is now known as King Arena and is part of the Chrouser Sports Complex (CSC) and houses the majority of the college's athletic and fitness facilities.

Library and collectionsEdit

The Library, named after college trustee Robert E. Nicholas, opened in January 1952. In 1975 Buswell Memorial Library, named for the college's third president J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., was built adjacent to the Nicholas Library and an interior corridor linked the two, creating the college's main library. The building also contains the Peter Stam Music Library, located downstairs and named in honor of the Conservatory of Music's first head, Peter Stam. Buswell Memorial Library's physical collections contain over one million items, making Buswell the largest library collection of liberal-arts colleges in the state of Illinois.[35] In September 2001, the Marion E. Wade Center, formerly housed in Buswell Library, moved to its new purpose-built home. Established in 1965 by professor of English Clyde S. Kilby, the Wade Center is an extensive research library and museum of the books and papers of seven British writers: C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, and Charles Williams. The Wade Center has memorabilia of the Inklings, including C. S. Lewis' writing desk and a wardrobe from his childhood home constructed by his grandfather widely thought to have inspired the Chronicles of Narnia series (although Westmont College also owns a wardrobe that once belonged to Lewis), Charles Williams's bookcases, J. R. R. Tolkien's writing desk where he wrote the entirety of The Hobbit and worked on The Lord of the Rings, and Pauline Baynes's original map of Narnia.[36]

Buswell Library's special collections also include the archived correspondence, manuscripts, articles, photos, and other papers of Madeleine L'Engle, the Newbery Medal-winning author of A Wrinkle in Time. With items dating as early as 1919, the collection is composed largely of material sent to the college by L'Engle and has been supplemented by the college with books and other supporting materials. The collection is the most comprehensive research center for L'Engle's work.[37]

Campus buildingsEdit

Adams Hall
  • Adams Hall – former gymnasium, houses Art Department, renovated building reopened in January 2009
  • Armerding Hall – former science building (Biology, Math/Computer Science, and Physics); annexed to Breyer Hall; named after the fifth president; in 2017, became dedicated as the new building for the Conservatory of Music
  • Beamer Center – student center (dining hall (Anderson Commons), post office, student activities facilities, etc.)
  • Billy Graham Center – Advancement, evangelism programs, Billy Graham Center Archives, College Archives & Special Collections (division of the college library), Barrows Auditorium, media resources, graduate school admissions and student services, academic departments (Biblical and Theological Studies, Christian Education/Christian Formation and Ministry, Communications, Intercultural Studies, Psychology); named after the famous alumnus
  • Blanchard Hall – President's Office, Provost's Office, Vice President of Finance, accounting, computing services, human resources, purchasing, academic departments (Education, English, History, Philosophy, Sociology/Anthropology); first College building; named after the first two presidents
  • Breyer Hall – former science building (Chemistry and Geology); annexed to Armerding Hall
  • Buswell Memorial Library – main stacks, music library, reference
  • Central Heating and Cooling Plant
  • Chase Service Center – public safety, physical plant (auto shop, lock shop, transportation center, etc.)
  • Edman Memorial Chapel – chapel auditorium and support space, 2009 renovation includes instrumental rehearsal room and instructional space for Conservatory of Music; named after the fourth president
  • Harbor House – executive retreat and conference center
  • Jenks Hall – Arena Theater, ROTC/Military Science
  • Marion E. Wade Center – Museum of CS Lewis and other Christian writers
  • McAlister Hall – Conservatory of Music
  • Memorial Student Center (MSC) – former student center, renovated and reopened in January 2008, houses Business/Economics and Political Science/International Relations; named in honor of students who fought in World War II
  • Meyer Science Center – opened 2010, houses all academic departments formerly housed in Armerding, Breyer, and CSC
  • North Harrison Hall – formerly the Wheaton Christian Grammar School, renovated to house Student Health Services and the wrestling gym
  • Pierce Chapel – Conservatory of Music and Community School of the Arts, recital hall
  • Schell Hall – HoneyRock office, foreign language offices, HNGR office
  • Chrouser Sports Complex (CSC) – Athletics, field house, pool, climbing wall, fitness center, indoor track
  • Student Services Building – bookstore, career services, financial aid, housing/residence life, registrar, student accounts, Student Development, undergraduate admissions
  • Westgate – Alumni Association; formerly the President's Home
  • Wyngarden – Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Global and Experiential Learning office
The Wade Center houses a major research collection of the books and papers of seven British authors

Residence hallsEdit

  • Smith-Traber Hall, on the east side of campus, houses freshman and sophomore men (Traber) and women (Smith)
  • Fischer Hall, on the north side of campus, houses freshman and sophomore men and women.
  • McManis-Evans Hall, overlooking the quad, houses sophomore, junior, and senior men and women
  • Williston Hall, built in the nineteenth century as the first separate residence hall, houses sophomore men and women

Other college-owned housingEdit

  • College Avenue Apartments – Upper class housing near the soccer and football fields
  • College Court Apartments – Upper class housing south of the Beamer Center and west of the French House
  • Fellowship House – Upper class female housing west of Traber Hall
  • French House – Upper class male housing south of the Beamer Center
  • Graham House – Upper class male housing West of the Graham Center for 9 guys, has a history of getting a picture with President Ryken every year.
  • Hearth House – Upper class female housing north of Buswell Library
  • Kay House – Upper class male housing west of Traber Hall
  • Kilby House – Upper class female housing northwest of Edman Chapel
  • Mathetai House – Upper class housing west of Traber Hall
  • Saint & Elliot Apartments – Upper class housing on the east of campus
  • Terrace Apartments – Upper class housing on the far east of campus

Student lifeEdit

LEED certified Memorial Student Center houses the Business and Economics department, the Politics and International Relations department, and the Center for Faith, Politics and Economics

The Memorial Student Center (MSC) was dedicated on June 11, 1951. It was built in memory of over 1,600 former students and graduates who served in World War II, and in honor of those 39 who gave their lives. It housed the Student Union Café, nicknamed "the Stupe" (which has since been moved to the Beamer Center). An early pamphlet described the new building and listed some of the rules for its use, such as No Rook Playing and No Playing of Boogie-Woogie, Jazz, or Otherwise Abusing the Piano. The MSC was remodeled during the Fall semester of 2007 for academic use, and is now home to the Business Economics department, the Political Science and International Relations department, and the Wheaton College Center for Faith, Politics and Economics.

The MSC was remodeled according to the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The MSC was the first building renovated according to these standards and sets higher standards than existing EPA standards. Many of the materials that were used were post-consumer and over 20% of the materials were manufactured within a 500-mile (800 km) radius of the College.[38] The MSC remodeling is part of the current capital campaign, The Promise of Wheaton.

The Dining Hall (now the "Student Services Building") opened January 4, 1953. Today it houses Student Development, Undergraduate Admissions, and the College Bookstore.

Jenks Hall is home to the Arena Theater, which was established in the Fall of 1974 and has staged over 100 full length productions.

The Chrouser Sports Complex (CSC) features an 8,000 square foot weight room, three student recreational gyms, an elevated jogging track, a climbing wall, "smart" classrooms and conference rooms, and a new physiology lab.

In the fall of 2004, the Todd M. Beamer Student Center was completed. Beamer, a Wheaton alumnus, was part of a small group of passengers who stormed hijackers on United Flight 93, bringing down the plane in rural Pennsylvania during the September 11, 2001, attacks, and preventing it from reaching its target. The building that bears his name was a $20+ million dollar project commissioned in order to meet the needs of the growing college community. Along with its spacious and sleek modern design, the Beamer Center features a convenience store known as the "C-Store", the "Stupe" (the name derives from students shortening the previous nickname for the campus Student Union, "Stupid Onion", which in turn is a jocular mispronunciation of Student Union), a bakery café named "Sam's" (named after the former Vice President of Student Development Sam Shellhammer, who retired following the 2007–08 school year after serving Wheaton's campus community for thirty years), several reading rooms and lounges, a recreation/game room, a prayer chapel, an expanded college post office, the offices for several organizations and departments, and several other event rooms. In the fall of 2006, strong rain storms created a flood that destroyed the lower level of the Beamer Center. Wheaton College has since restored the flood-damaged building.

The official student newspaper at Wheaton College is the Wheaton Record,[39] a weekly publication with a circulation of 3400, in existence since 1876. The Record is produced by students, published by the college, and distributed each Friday after chapel free of charge. The Record was the recipient of the 2006 John David Reed General Excellence Award and has received 13 other awards from the Illinois College Press Association, of which it is a member. The Record is also a member of the Associated Collegiate Press.

In addition, Wheaton College has many organizations on campus that range from helping the poor and needy in Chicago to the arts and improvisation.

Juniors and seniors are also eligible to live in one of thirteen campus houses, apartments (five complexes), or off-campus.


The chapel, on the corner of Washington and Franklin streets, was dedicated on November 15, 1925. The building was also used by the college for commencements and other important assemblies. In 1936–37, it was renamed the Orlinda Childs Pierce Memorial Chapel. Neighboring McAlister Hall is home to the Conservatory of Music and houses conservatory faculty offices, several music classrooms, and the practice rooms used daily by conservatory students.

College Church, across Washington Street from the college, is not formally associated with the college, although it has long been informally closely associated with the college.[40][41]

The college's regular chapel services are held in Edman Memorial Chapel, which seats 2,400. It is named for V. Raymond Edman, fourth president of the college. Edman died in 1967 while speaking in chapel.[citation needed] He was preaching on being in the presence of the King, and the recording is available in the Wheaton chapel archives. This chapel/auditorium is also used for many events of Wheaton's performing arts programs. In 2000, an entirely handcrafted organ made by the Casavant Organ Company of Quebec, Canada, was installed.[citation needed]

LGBT prohibitionEdit

Students and employees at Wheaton must sign a Community Covenant that classifies "homosexual behavior" as a form of immorality condemned by scripture which they must avoid. The college is listed among the least hospitable in the US for LGBT students by Campus Pride and The Princeton Review because, among other reasons, the college featured an ex-gay movement speaker in a chapel service.[42]

In 2014 Wheaton hired a gay Christian blogger, Julie Rodgers, as ministry associate who could reach out to LGBT students while being committed to celibacy. Rodgers reports that college officials asked her not to identify herself as gay, and to portray being gay only as a form of "brokenness" rather than something to be celebrated. Disappointed that she felt the college didn't accept a celibate gay person, Rodgers resigned from Wheaton in 2015.[43]


Billy Graham Center

The building housing the Billy Graham Center (BGC), named after one of the college's most well-known graduates, opened in September 1980. The Billy Graham Center itself, as the repository of the evangelist's corporate records, had existed since 1974.

The BGC houses an auditorium, classrooms and several evangelism institutes, a museum of the history of evangelism, the college's Archives and Special Collections, and the Wheaton College Graduate School. It also housed the school radio station, WETN 88.1 FM, until its sale in February 2017.

The Women's Building, renamed Williston Hall in 1930–31 (in honor of longtime Blanchard friend and donor J. P. Williston), was built in 1895. Its construction required the college to borrow $6,000. After seventy-eight years of housing only women, Williston Hall is now a coed dormitory for sophomore students. It opened to men starting in the fall semester of 2009 with the dream that it would become a creative hotspot on campus.

The President's House, or Westgate, formerly owned by college trustee John M. Oury, was presented to President Buswell on the tenth anniversary of his inauguration, April 23, 1936. This served as the home of three of Wheaton's subsequent presidents. It now houses the Office of Alumni Relations.

In 1951, HoneyRock, the outdoor center for leadership development at Wheaton College, was established in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. HoneyRock is not only a year-round camp for young people, but it offers a variety of leadership schools and courses for students. Nearly 3000 people utilize HoneyRock each year. Through HoneyRock the college owns nearly 800 acres (323.7 ha) in Northern Wisconsin.

Activism and controversyEdit

Wheaton College has received criticism in recent years from both conservative and liberal alumni. Wheaton's acceptance of evolutionary biology in the science departments has proved controversial to some. Wheaton College was prominently featured in the 2001 PBS documentary Evolution, which showcased Wheaton professors' acceptance of theistic evolution.[44] On issues of religion and science, the college holds the view that religious teachings about God and modern science are not at odds.

On October 13, 2007, Wheaton College's Stanton L. Jones signed interfaith document "Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You," agreeing that Islam and Christianity can be at peace with each other.[45]

The school's mascot was changed from the Crusaders to the Thunder in 2000, as the image of a mounted Crusader was deemed potentially offensive and reminiscent of a controversial period in Christian history. The change was noted in the national press, and some alumni objected to the change. Other suggestions for a new mascot name that were rejected included the Mastodons — a reference to Perry Mastodon, which is a mastodon skeleton that was excavated nearby and is now on display on the college campus in the brand new science building. While still known as the "Thunder", in 2010 the mascot was officially changed to a mastodon named "Tor Thunder" to integrate the official and unofficial mascots.[46]

Wheaton again appeared in the news when Joshua Hochschild, assistant professor of philosophy, was dismissed in 2004 for becoming Roman Catholic.[47] Wheaton's president said his "personal desire" to retain Hochschild, "a gifted brother in Christ", was outweighed by his duty to employ "faculty who embody the institution's Protestant convictions".[48] In 2008, English professor Kent Gramm resigned after declining to give the college administration details of his pending divorce from his wife of 30 years.[49][50]

In 2011, a group of Wheaton alumni established OneWheaton, with the stated purpose of providing allied support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and similar students and alumni at Wheaton and other colleges.[51][52]

In July 2012, Wheaton College filed a lawsuit alongside The Catholic University of America in the Washington, D.C. District Court, opposing the Health and Human Services Preventative Services mandate. The mandate, which is a regulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would force both institutions to provide access to emergency contraceptive drugs or pay severe fines.[53]

In December 2015 Wheaton College suspended tenured professor of political science Larycia Hawkins, who wrote "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God". In explaining the decision to place Dr. Hawkins on administrative leave the college referred to "significant questions regarding the theological implications" of her comments.[19] The two officially parted ways in February 2016.[54]

In March 2018 Charles Nagy, a former Wheaton College football player, sued the college and seven former teammates citing the school had attempted to cover up a hazing incident by his former teammates. In 2016, Nagy was kidnapped, and beaten by his former teammates, before being left on the baseball field in the middle of the night half-naked. Nagy was admitted into a nearby hospital and had been diagnosed with two labrum tears requiring surgery. Despite the controversy, three of the players identified were allowed to compete in the next football game.[55] Nagy cited in his complaints the college administration was aware of the tradition of hazing on the team, but took no action. Additional controversy began when the college issued a public statement condemning hazing, but hiring a third party investigator to discredit Nagy's account of the incident.[56] Four of the five players have pleaded not guilty to the charges.[57]

Notable alumniEdit

Wheaton is also notable for graduating one of Illinois' first African-American college graduate, Edward Breathitte Sellers, in 1866.[10]


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  42. ^ Vivanco, Leonor (August 31, 2016). "Lists rank Wheaton College among worst schools for LGBTQ students". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
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  55. ^ Stack, Liam; Hauser, Christine (September 19, 2017). "Wheaton College Football Players Charged With Violent Hazing Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  56. ^ Clair, Christy Gutowski, Stacy St. "Former Wheaton College football player sues school, former teammates over hazing incident". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  57. ^ "4 Wheaton College football players plead not guilty in battery case". October 23, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  58. ^ Mene Ukueberuwa. "Remember Todd Beamer of United 93". New York: Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  59. ^ Muir (1998). Wes Craven: the Art of Horror. p.8
  60. ^ "Dr Zac Niringiye". Wheaton, Illinois: Wheaton College. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  61. ^ https://magazine.wheaton.edu/stories/spring-2018-civil-rights-faithful-activist-rev-c-herbert-oliver. Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit