A Family Gives Across Three Generations
Ramona Schacht Schroeder ’52 began her family’s Wheaton legacy in 1948, when her parents and sisters drove her from Kansas to Wheaton as a new student.
“I was a bit overwhelmed,” she says. “The campus was gorgeous. It was not like what I was used to, and the people were very friendly.”
from the heart, for the kingdom
Ramona quickly settled into North Hall Two on the top floor, was greatly impressed by the campus revival of ’49, became engaged to childhood friend Eldon Schroeder ’50 (now deceased) who proposed on front campus, and received a B.A. in music, along with an Illinois teaching certificate.
Her sisters, Janet Schacht Friederichsen ’53, Marilyn Schacht Janssen ’55, and Jean Schacht Stromberg ’60, also attended Wheaton. Three of them, in fact, attended the College during the same year, prompting their mother to return to teaching to help pay the bills. (Tuition then was a princely $1,000.)
And the Wheaton connection didn’t stop there. Eldon and Ramona’s daughters, Sharon Schroeder Anderson ’80 and Susan Schroeder Smith Repanich ’83, eventually went to Wheaton, followed by Sharon’s three daughters—Brittany ’14, Jessica ’11, and Melissa ’10.
So what started all this? Ramona says her family just assumed a Wheaton education back in the post-war years.
“I don’t know that it was ever a question in our house where we would go to college,” she says. “It was always Wheaton, and there was never any discussion about it.”
Brittany is grateful for her Wheaton experiences, mentioning the rich community of friends and mentors and the opportunity for intellectual development, all focused on Christ.
“Going to Wheaton was never something I took for granted,” says Brittany, who studied political science and participated in extracurriculars including Honduras Project. “My sisters and I wouldn’t have been able to attend Wheaton without assistance from the Wheaton Fund.”
Ramona, who gives regularly while attending Homecoming and class reunions when she can, recently was excited to receive her “Loyal Wheaties” mastodon pin and card. Why does this vibrant octogenarian continue to give to the Wheaton Fund?
“I give in appreciation for all I gained during my days at Wheaton and want others to experience what I did,” Ramona says. “It’s a worthy cause helping to educate young people to support Christ and his kingdom.”
Brittany, who now lives and works at a nonprofit in Wheaton and spends extra hours volunteering with New Name, an organization that works with women who have been trafficked, also maintains an active connection with the College as a Wheaton Associate.
“Wheaton was a good training ground for my sisters and me,” Brittany says. “Our parents set a quiet example of generosity and service, reinforced by our time at Wheaton, that made a lasting impression. I want other students to be blessed with the same Wheaton experience, and what better way than to give back?”