Since their first recorded meeting in 1862, Wheaton alumni have looked for ways to connect with the College.
Early on, alumni planned gatherings for “mutual improvement.” In 1923, Ed Coray ’23 and his classmates planned the first Homecoming, and in 1944, the Alumni Association was formally established. It organized alumni gatherings, honored alumni service, and raised financial support for faculty salaries, research, and facility enhancements on campus.
The Alumni Association’s connection with the College was further formalized in 1987 with a Joint Operating Agreement that allowed Alumni Association leadership to maintain a close working relationship with the College, advising on matters of mutual interest.
Today, the Board of Directors consists of 18 members who represent six graduation decades, all regions of the country, diverse ethnicities and occupations, and different Wheaton experiences. We gather in unity under Christ and in sincere love for Wheaton College. So, what happens at a typical board meeting?
First, there is excitement in the room—we are an enthusiastic group dedicated to the College and its alumni. We always begin our meetings with prayer for the College’s leadership and community. A Trustee representative, a college senior leadership representative, and the executive director of the Alumni Association brief the directors. Then, the floor opens for a robust dialogue. Directors share feedback they have received from alumni on topics including policy, news items, and events. Guests from College departments give presentations, and directors seek to learn how to better tell the College’s story in our own communities. Committee chairs present the current state of their work, and, consistent with our history, committees award financial resources for faculty research, mission projects, and sabbatical time, along with scholarships for current students. We get to know current students, and we admire our fellow alumni who have embodied the motto For Christ and His Kingdom.
We consider ourselves ambassadors to the College from alumni constituencies, and representatives of the College to alumni in our communities. It’s good work, and we are blessed to do it.