One of the most well-known problems our school faces is the constant confusion between our Wheaton College here in Massachusetts and the Wheaton College in Illinois. Our Wheaton is a non-denominational liberal arts school that embraces students and faculty of all religions and cultures while the other one is a Christian and far more conservative school.
President Hanno has discussed some of the various circumstances that have arisen as a result of the confusion as well as emphasized what really sets both institutions apart.
Our school has taken many steps in recent years to help eliminate the unnecessary confusion. In the past, President Hanno reached out to other institutions such as Trinity College and Washington University who face similar problems. There are at least 30 other Trinity Colleges in the world, as well as a wide variety of schools named after Washington. Wheaton’s recent rebranding was not only to refresh the school’s appearance, but also to create a new wordmark that helps set it apart from the other Wheaton. For example, in the new wordmark, “Massachusetts” is featured right under the words “Wheaton College.”
There have been several instances in the past of students showing up to the Office of Admission claiming to have an appointment when the office had no record of one, only to realize that they were at the completely wrong Wheaton College. According to President Hanno, three years ago, one student applied here by mistake and didn’t realize it was the wrong college until she received her acceptance letter. Ironically, she discovered her love for our Wheaton and decided to enroll.
Over the past few years, there have also been several negative incidents involving Wheaton College, Illinois. This includes the firing of a professor for wearing a hijab, as well as an incident in which five football players faced felony charges for hazing by way of kidnapping and beating up another player. The latter resulted in an individual calling the wrong Wheaton and angrily demanding “how [we] could let those players do that kind of stuff!” only to receive the confused answer of, “…we don’t have a football team?”
Fox News even did a story on our Wheaton when the school first offered the refugee scholarship, but the network mistakenly put in footage of the Wheaton College in Illinois.
Despite the confusion, President Hanno said that even when “there is negative news, we can use that as an opportunity to say ‘that’s not us.’” Above all, he wants to ensure that this Wheaton College is known as a one-of-a-kind institution — one that respects the values of everyone and that provides an all-inclusive academic experience.