1859 Jonathan Blanchard
(right) left his position as president of Knox College in Galesburg,
Illinois to lead the struggling Illinois Institute, founded in Wheaton,
Illinois by the Wesleyans in 1854. This able administrator was known
widely as a staunch abolitionist and crusader for social reform. When
Warren L. Wheaton gave a parcel of land to the Institute, Blanchard
proposed to have the school renamed Wheaton College. It was his desire
that the new college commit itself to a combination of intellectual
growth and Christian faith. Touched almost at once by the Civil War,
the College said farewell to some sixty-seven enlistees, not all of
Albert Blanchard (left)succeeded his father as president and
served in this position for 43 years, from 1882 to 1925. A graduate of
the Class of 1870, Charles continued to uphold his alma mater's commitment
to liberal arts education undergirded with classical studies and a distinctively
Christian emphasis. He commended to his students hard work, frugality,
and compassion and the virtues of patience, self-denial, and courage.
Student enrollment increased, and, in a spurt of growth at the close of
the century, new facilities were added to the campus, including an observatory,
a ladies' dormitory (Williston Hall), a modern gymnasium (Adams Hall),
and an "Industrial Building" (later the Academy and now Schell
Hall). Charles' funeral service was held in the recently finished chapel
( Pierce Memorial Chapel).
Charles' death in 1925, Wheaton's Board of Trustees elected Rev.
James Oliver Buswell (right) to fill the presidency. A pastor
and former army chaplain during the first World War, Buswell was a force
that kept Wheaton from embracing the liberal theology popular at that
time. During his 14 years in office (1926-1940), Wheaton received academic
accreditation, upgraded library services, added a substantial number of
Ph.D.s to the teaching staff, and launched its first graduate courses.
Six literary societies provided training and social activities for many
students who went on to national prominence in several professions, morning
chapel was a daily experience for students and faculty, and a strong athletics
program brought renown to both college and community.
Raymond Edman (left)(Ph.D., Clark University), associate professor
of political science at Wheaton, was named fourth president of the College,
serving from 1940 to 1965. Popular with students and colleagues alike,
Edman charted Wheaton's course through the World War II years. The Alumni
Gymnasium was one of the first of many building projects that would characterize
the era of expansion over which he presided. The Alumni Association, which
today serves some 31,000 alumni around the world, was formed in 1944.
Following the war years,the campus experienced a building boom that lasted
more than a decade and saw the completion of a library, dining hall, student
center, science facilities, dorms, a second gymnasium, and a stunning
chapel-auditorium. Wheaton celebrated its 100th year anniversary during
Edman's presidency, and its reputation for excellence grew to international
a student at Wheaton in the late 30s and early 40s,
Hudson T. Armerding (right)(Ph.D., University of
Chicago) served as assistant to President Edman. In 1965, he was elected
to succeed him. In the years between, he served as a Naval officer in
the Pacific, completed graduate studies at the University of Chicago,
became ordained to the Christian ministry, and taught history. Returning
to his alma mater at a time of national unrest, Armerding helped Wheaton
remain committed to intellectual integrity and anchored in historic Christian
orthodoxy. The College's strong emphasis today on the integration of faith
and learning crystallized during the Armerding years. His era also saw
the establishment of special collections in the College's library and
archives, the emergence of international out-reach programs, and the appearance
of yet another major campus landmark, the Billy Graham Center.
Richard Chase (left) (Ph.D., Cornell University) came to Wheaton
College in 1982 after serving twelve years as president of Biola. He reinforced
Wheaton's commitment to its biblical foundations and oversaw a period
of significant growth relating to endowment, buildings, and academic programs.
He continually endeavored to attract to the College gifted students who
could profit from its rigorous academic objectives and religious underpinnings,
and he dedicated much of his eleven-year term to furnishing and providing
funding for the administrative structures and procedures that would make
the achievement of that goal possible. The College, higher education in
general, and numerous national, state, and local organizations benefitted
from Chase's visionary leadership.
Litfin (right)(Ph.D., Purdue University; Ph.D., Oxford
University) was inaugurated as Wheaton's seventh president in
1993. Widely published, Dr. Litfin had divided his career between
the church and the academic world, serving 10 years as a pastor
and 14 years as a professor. He thus brings to the office a unique
combination of academic, pastoral, and administrative skills that
serve Wheaton College well.