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Wheaton College

Wheaton College is a four-year, private liberal arts college with a student body of approximately 1,600. Wheaton's residential campus is located in Norton, Massachusetts, between Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island.


26 E Main St
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Blue And White

College History


In 1834, Eliza Wheaton Strong, the daughter of Judge Laban Wheaton, died at the age of thirty-nine. Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, the judge's daughter-in-law, persuaded him to memorialize his daughter by founding a female seminary. The family called upon noted women's educator Mary Lyon for assistance in establishing the seminary. Miss Lyon created the first curriculum with the goal that it be equal in quality to those of men's colleges. She also provided the first principal, Eunice Caldwell. Wheaton Female Seminary opened in Norton, Massachusetts on 22 April 1835, with 50 students and three teachers. Mary Lyon and Eunice Caldwell left Wheaton to open Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 (now Mount Holyoke College). Following their departure, Wheaton endured a period of fluctuating enrollment and frequent changes in leadership until 1850, when Caroline Cutler Metcalf was recruited as the new principal. Mrs. Metcalf made the hiring of outstanding faculty her top priority, bringing in educators who encouraged students to discuss ideas rather than to memorize facts. The most notable additions to the faculty were Lucy Larcom, who introduced the study of English Literature and founded the student literary magazine The Rushlight; and Mary Jane Cragin, who used innovative techniques to teach geometry and made mathematics the favorite study of many students. Mrs. Metcalf retired in 1876. A. Ellen Stanton, a teacher of French since 1871, served as principal from 1880 to 1897. She led the Seminary during a difficult time, when it faced competition from increasing numbers of public high schools and colleges granting bachelor's degrees to women. Sunset behind the chapel at Wheaton College.jpg In 1897, at the suggestion of Eliza Baylies Wheaton, the Trustees hired the Reverend Samuel Valentine Cole as the Seminary's first male president. Preparing to seek a charter as a four-year college, Cole began a program of revitalization that included expanding and strengthening the curriculum, increasing the number and quality of the faculty, and adding six new buildings. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted Wheaton a college charter in 1912, and the trustees changed the name of the school to Wheaton College. The Student Government Association was organized to represent the "consensus of opinion of the whole student body", and to encourage individual responsibility, integrity, and self-government. Wheaton received authorization to establish a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1932, twenty years after achieving college status. President Samuel Valentine Cole died suddenly, following a brief illness, in 1925. During his career as Wheaton President, Cole oversaw the expansion of the campus from three to twenty-seven buildings, the growth of enrollment from 50 to 414, and the establishment of an endowment. On the campus, Cole Memorial Chapel is named after him. Its approximate geographical coordinates are: 41� 58' 2.01" N, 71� 11' 3.51" W. The Reverend John Edgar Park, who became president in 1926, continued Cole's building program, and saw the College through the Great Depression, the celebration of its centennial in 1935, and World War II. He retired in 1944, and was succeeded by Dartmouth College Professor of History Alexander Howard Meneely. During his tenure, the Trustees voted to expand the size of the college from 525 to 800-1000 students, and construction of "new campus" began in 1957. President Meneely died in 1961, following a long illness, and was succeeded in 1962 by William C.H. Prentice, a psychology professor and administrator at Swarthmore College. In the early 1960s, Wheaton successfully completed its first endowment campaign. The development of new campus continued, and student enrollment grew to 1,200. Wheaton students and faculty joined in nationwide campus protests against United States actions in Indochina in 1970. In 1975, Wheaton inaugurated its first woman president, Alice Frey Emerson, Dean of Students at the University of Pennsylvania. During her tenure, Wheaton achieved national recognition as a pioneer in the development of a gender-balanced curriculum. Emerson would go on to receive the Valeria Knapp Award from The College Club of Boston in 1987 for establishing the Global Awareness Program at Wheaton College. Wheaton celebrated its Sesquicentennial in 1984/85 with a year-long series of symposia, concerts, dance performances, art and history exhibits, and an endowment and capital campaign. In 1987, the Trustees voted to admit men to Wheaton. The first coeducational class was enrolled in September 1988. Dale Rogers Marshall, Academic Dean at Wellesley College, was inaugurated as Wheaton's sixth president in 1992. She led the college in "The Campaign for Wheaton", to build endowed and current funds for faculty development, student scholarships, and academic programs and facilities. Enrollment growth encouraged the construction of the first new residence halls since 1964 (Gebbie, Keefe and Beard residence halls), the improvement of classroom buildings and the renovation and expansion of the college's arts' facilities. Wheaton's Board of Trustees appointed Ronald A. Crutcher at the seventh president of Wheaton College on March 23, 2004. President Crutcher came to Wheaton from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and professor of music.

College Specialty


Wheaton College provides a transformative liberal arts education for intellectually curious students in a collaborative, academically vibrant residential community that values a diverse world.



Dan Antoniuk, 2003 - San Diego Sockers player Mary Ellen Avery, 1948 - pediatric physician and researcher Elaine Meryl Brown, 1977 - novelist and HBO executive Chris Denorfia, 2002 - San Diego Padres outfielder Diane Farrell, 1977 - Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress from Connecticut Fourth District Jean Fritz, 1937 - Newbery Honor-winning author of children's books Robie Harris, 1962 - children's book author Emily Susan Hartwell, 1883 - Congregational Christian educational missionary in China Debbie Jamgochian, 1974 - amateur golf champion, winner of 2007 Senior Women's French Open and 2007 Women's Western Senior Championship Trish Karter, entrepreneur Catherine Keener, 1983 - Academy Award-nominated actress Nancy Mairs, 1964 - poet and essayist Alexandra Marshall, 1965 - writer Ellen Moran, 1988 - former White House Communications Director, current chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke Esther Newberg, 1963 - literary agent and co-creative director of ICM Prince Shad Al-Sherif Pasha of the Hijaz and Turkey Barbara Richardson, 1971 - New Mexico First Lady Catherine Filene Shouse, 1918 - researcher and philanthropist Lesley Stahl, 1963 - broadcast journalist Callie Thorne, 1991 - actress Amanda Urban, 1968 - literary agent and co-creative director of ICM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck - King of Bhutan Christine Todd Whitman, 1968 - former Governor of New Jersey and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Mimi Alford, 1966 - former White House intern who alleges to have had an affair with President John F. Kennedy



Suburban, Residential