Wheaton College Is Heartbeat of Its Town

Article excerpt

Byline: David R. Kazak Daily Herald Staff Writer

Editor's note: Each day for the last 100 days of the 1900s, the Daily Herald is taking a snapshot look at one of our institutions - places that have played a key role in bringing us to the dawn of a new century.

Few institutions can lay a similar claim to the overwhelming influence Wheaton College has on its namesake town.

"Throughout its history, the college set the moral climate for the community," said David Maas, who for the past 30 years has taught history at the college.

After all, the first classes at Wheaton College, originally called the Illinois Institute by its Wesleyan Methodist founders, were held in 1853 - six years before the original settlers incorporated the city of Wheaton.

The college, formed to train ministers and teachers, has grown into an internationally acclaimed school, touted as one of the country's top 50 liberal arts schools by the National Review's College Guide.

According to the school's alumni association Wheaton College has produced 43 presidents of colleges, universities and seminaries, 500 attorneys, 1,000 physicians, 1,500 business executives and 2,500 teachers and professors.

The first Illinois Supreme Court justice from DuPage County, Louis Rathje, is a Wheaton College grad. …