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Wheaton College names new president

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  February 24, 2014 10:32 AM

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Wheaton College announced it has picked Dennis Hanno to be its next president.

Hanno, provost and senior vice president at Babson College, will be the eight president in Wheaton’s 180-year history when he officially takes over on July 15, officials said.

“Dennis is not only equipped to ensure a successful future for Wheaton, he embodies the values on which this school was built,” said a statement from Thomas J. Hollister, chair of Norton-based school’s trustee board which voted unanimously Saturday to appoint Hanno.

“So much of Dennis’ work speaks to the values, integrated coursework, and experiential learning that make Wheaton graduates uniquely qualified to enter the 21st century workforce,” he added.

Hanno, 58, said he was “extremely honored” to be chosen lead liberal arts and sciences college, where about 1,600 students are enrolled.

“Throughout my career, I have focused on the importance of diversity, a student-centered approach, and broadening the scope of what students study – from the arts and humanities to the social sciences and the sciences,” said Hanno. “Wheaton College is grounded in values that have inspired my life’s work, and I see tremendous possibilities ahead for this vibrant seat of higher learning.”

Wheaton’s current president, Ronald Crutcher, has announced that he plans to step down in June after 10 years leading the college.

Since 2006, Hanno has held several senior leadership positions at Babson College, helping to increase the focus on liberal arts learning and to integrate entrepreneurial though and socially responsible management into the curriculum there.

He also founded and has led education and development programs in Africa, including the Babson-Rwanda Entrepreneurship Center in Rwanda and the Babson Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy, which works in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Rwanda.

Hanno worked previously as an accounting professor at Boston College and then the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The Glenfield, N.Y. native earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s in accounting from Western New England College and a doctorate in management from UMass Amherst.

Harvard Business School professor and former president of Babson, Leonard A. Schlesinger, applauded Wheaton for selecting his former colleague.

“He is simply one of the most genuinely engaged academic leaders I have ever known. He knows everybody around the college and everything that is going on; is equally comfortable at a faculty curriculum meeting, a student athletic or social event, a budgeting session or with community leaders on one of his regular Africa trips with students, staff and alumni,” he said in a statement.

"The Wheaton College community has made an inspired choice," added Schlesinger. "Working along with Dennis the college will reach heights and aspirations it has yet to imagine.”

Babson President Kerry Healey thanked Hanno for his work there, congratulated him on his new job and wished him success.

"During his years at Babson, Dennis has been an outstanding leader, teacher, mentor and friend to so many of our students, staff, faculty and alumni," she wrote to the campus community.

"Dennis has left an indelible mark on Babson by living our mission to educate entrepreneurial leaders who create social and economic value everywhere," she added. "Whether on campus or in Rwanda—in class, as dean and as provost—Dennis never missed an opportunity to connect learning with life experience. He inspired our students and community members to look at the world differently, and to take action to change it for the better."

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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