Dennis Hanno has been named the eighth president of Wheaton College, according to an email sent out to students and staff at 10 a.m. by Thomas Hollister, the chair of the Wheaton College Board of Trustees.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to lead one of the true gems of higher education in the U.S.,” Hanno said in a video provided by wheatoncollege.com’s “Presidential Transition” site, which launched today.
Hanno will be leaving his current position as Provost and Senior Vice President at Babson College to become Wheaton’s next president. His background is different from that of his predecessor, Ronald Crutcher, as he has degrees in business administration, accounting and management, as opposed to Crutcher’s experience with music.
Hanno is also a Professor of Accounting at Babson.
The choice of an academic with a background in business and accounting as Wheaton’s new president is almost certainly a nod to the school’s increased focus on business education, an initiative that began with the Business and Management major unveiled by the college in 2013.
Hanno is very popular at Babson, in large part due to his previous position as Undergraduate Dean at the college. He was the subject of a Facebook and Twitter campaign called #prezHANNO, in which Babson students and alumni lobbied for his selection as Babson’s next president during that college’s own presidential search. The campaign was joined by over 1,800 alumni and students. Babson has approximately 2,000 current students.
Hanno is also notable for the work he has done in Africa as Executive Director of the Babson-Rwanda Entrepreneurship Center, a project that seeks to spread entrepreneurship throughout Africa. His experience with study abroad, which includes taking 10 to 15 students abroad every summer, fits in well with the commitment that Wheaton has made to internationalize its campus over the past several years.
The Presidential Transition site provides short “Perspectives on Dennis Hanno”, written by colleagues and members of the Presidential Search Committee.
Len Schlesinger, Baker Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School and president emeritus of Babson College, who worked with Hanno throughout his tenure, called him “simply one of the most genuinely engaged academic leaders I have ever known.”