Wheaton Welcomes President-Elect Dennis Hanno

The Wheaton community congregated in the Chapel Tuesday afternoon to welcome Wheaton’s President-Elect, Dennis Hanno.

President Crutcher opened the ceremony, recalling his own Presidential Welcome. He emphasized his pride for Wheaton’s “warm, welcoming, and friendly” community.

Nancy Pearlstine Conger, the chair of the Presidential Search expressed her excitement for Dennis Hanno to take office. The Presidential Search Committee was seeking a candidate who valued leadership, shared governance with faculty, and exuded personal warmth. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted for Dennis Hanno.

“We knew he was the best fit for Wheaton to lead us forward,” she said. Pearlstine Conger is looking forward to his contributions. “This is an exciting moment for the Wheaton community,” she said.

Tom Hollister, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, then acknowledged the difficulties liberal arts colleges are currently facing. “Higher education has been rocked by economic and pedagogical issues, as well as questions of value and worth,” he said. He believes that Hanno’s leadership will help Wheaton navigate these issues. Hanno’s background in accounting and business will certainly be useful in addressing financial issues.

Hanno began his speech by thanking the Search Committee for their diligent efforts, and stressed that they were “an amazing group to work with.” Not at all shy, Hanno joked with the crowd. “Obviously I think they made the right choice,” said Hanno.

Throughout his speech Hanno expressed the need for a collective vision for Wheaton’s future, one that involved the ideas of faculty, students and administration. “I have a lot of ideas but I’m sure you have a lot of ideas as well,” he said. He was excited to build on existing strengths and valued the fact that Wheaton is such a student centered place, both in the curriculum and what takes place on campus.

Hanno expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome he received from Wheaton students. “The welcome I received on social media has been amazing,” he said. “My phone is usually in my blazer pocket and it vibrates when I receive tweets. I thought I was having a heart attack!”

Hanno will take office on July 15. “Wheaton is a place I’m really looking forward to calling home,” Hanno said.