Wheaton magazine

Volume 21 // Issue 1
Wheaton magazine // Winter 2018
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Alumni News
A Word With Alumni

A Word with Alumni

RENAE SCHAUER SMITH ’91
President, Wheaton College Alumni Association

WE ASKED. YOU RESPONDED. We are grateful. After serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for several years, I have observed one of the most striking characteristics about Wheaton College: leadership desires to hear alumni voices. In April of this year, the College reached out to our alumni family with a comprehensive survey. Detailed questions were asked in categories ranging from affinity and giving to messaging and programming. 

Respondents included alumni spanning eight decades of graduating classes, various donor statuses, and diverse geographical locations. Over 25,800 surveys were delivered by email with 5,189 of you responding. Is a 20% response rate a surprise? It was to the company that implemented the survey. It is a significantly higher response rate than that of comparable schools. Am I surprised? Not at all. You are Wheaton alumni. 

"Perhaps like me your professors ... encouraged you to grow, achieve, stretch, and see yourself in a different light."

The wealth of data can be analyzed in multiple ways, but the importance of relationships to Wheaton alumni is striking to me. Many familiar faculty and staff were cited as having impact on your life as a student. Perhaps like me, your professors, coaches, conductors, and directors encouraged you to grow, achieve, stretch, and see yourself in a different light. Activities including HoneyRock, Men’s Glee Club, athletics, chapel, and HNGR also helped shape your experience— no doubt, in part, because of the relationships formed in those times of rehearsal, practice, and training. 

We hear your desire for continued relationships with the College and further connections with fellow alumni. Your answers also told us you are eager to invest in Wheaton’s future through promoting the College and mentoring current students. 

There is no question that, within our alumni family, we hold varied views on theological, political, and social issues. We span many decades and pursued diverse majors and activities while students. We have landed in different vocations and careers. But one thing is clear. We care. You care! You feel deeply about the relationships that have been forged during your time on campus. You treasure our Christ-centered liberal arts heritage. You are willing to further connect with alumni and current students. 

Undeniably, Wheaton College alumni regard our alma mater enough to provide feedback and input when asked. As President of the Alumni Association, I appreciate your willingness to lend your voices. 

So, let me be one of the first to say, “Thank you for caring.” 

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