Should I talk about President-Elect Hanno?
You’ve probably read the interviews, you probably listened to him speak last week. You’ve read the torrent of praise from Babson’s end, you’ve seen the tweets-a-plenty active social media presence. If you’re reading this letter, you have almost certainly read our coverage in the Wire. So, do I talk about President-Elect Hanno after all of that?
Sure. I’ll give it a shot.
After the monumental announcement that Wheaton elected a new president, a few people have asked me about what I think about him as a fit. I have a pretty short answer to that:
I don’t know, but Hanno has given me plenty of reasons to be excited to find out.
I’m not trying to be cute so much as I’m trying to be honest. I think that a much more appropriate question is: “What does President Hanno need to do to be successful at Wheaton College?” That’s a question Jordana Joy, our Commentary Editor, tackled beautifully on WheatonWire.com this week. In my opinion, Hanno has absolutely aced it so far – he has been polite, open, and intelligent in his Wheaton appearances. I’d love to sit down with him and talk about his experiences at Babson, what he plans to bring to the table at Wheaton and how his experiences with the former will influence his decisions with the latter. Part of the reason I feel that way, of course, is because President Hanno has been effectively fascinating so far. In short, after this week, one thing I’m pretty sure about is that President-Elect Hanno is a nice guy.
There’s a lot more to the job than what someone close to me called “butterflies and rainbow phase,” though. There’s the job itself. There are the administrative duties, the public and the private decision-making. There are the decisions regarding staff, funding, and major college initiatives. Some people have criticized the choice of President-Elect Hanno because he has a background more rooted in academia than business, and that the college should have gone toward the latter to help bolster Wheaton’s financial position. But overall, those suggestions are speculative at best. Like any leader, President-Elect Hanno will be as effective as the leadership he surrounds himself with. To already write him off, then, seems as reductive as proclaiming him an effective president. We will have to wait and see.
Still, I think that there is so, so much to be excited about with this hire. The students and staff at Babson seem to love Hanno, he has a phenomenal resume, and, yes, he seems like a genuine guy with an infectious charisma. All of those things are important. Though he does not have presidential experience, he has leadership experience. He is a financially-focused mind with a Notre Dame degree and a penchant for promoting entrepreneurial growth at the college level, coming at the perfect time considering Wheaton’s new business program. He is globally-minded, which should serve as a boon for Wheaton’s already far-reaching study abroad initiative.
He looks quite good with a Wheaton hat on, too.
So, let me be the one millionth (it seems) person to welcome President-Elect Hanno to Wheaton College. Though I graduate in a few months, I look forward to keeping an eye on your work, and I hope you enjoy all that the Wheaton community has to offer.