The pride and importance of Wheaton College’s relations with their alumni is evident in its annual Homecoming weekend. This year students were recruited by Office Coordinator for the Provost Erin McCord to interview alumni revisiting their alma mater. Hailing from various departments such as anthropology, sociology, and english, students set out to capture the stories and memories of alumni from years reaching as far back as 1988.
Student interviewers, according to McCord’s email, committed to a minimum of two, two-hour time slots Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6. Saperstein told the Record that interviews were held in offices within the Center for Vocation and Career. There were in total nine students who interviewed 18 alumni, according to an email interview with history professor and Dean of Curriculum and Advising, Sarah Miglio.
Both Miglio and associate professor of English Tiffany Kriner coordinated the project. Kriner serves as Faculty Core Book Coordinator, both Miglio and Kriner work together in planning Core Curriculum Book events.
“Dr. Kriner and I thought it would be fitting to create an opportunity for alumni to share their portions of their spiritual autobiography as we read Augustine’s spiritual autobiography, ‘Confessions,’” stated Miglio. In this spirit of autobiography, junior Bethany Litteral, a secondary education and English double major, told the Record that this project captures “stories of [graduated] Wheaton students and how the Lord has used Wheaton to craft their journeys.”
When asked in an email interview about the purpose of the project, Miglio explained an ongoing “interest in oral history and the value of collecting people’s stories for the benefit of future generations.” In her response, Miglio also wrote that she and Kriner “wanted to find a way to help preserve the social history of Wheaton College as represented in the lives of individual graduates of the college.”
According to Litteral, the interviews were archived so that researchers can listen to audio recordings of the interviews. Alumni were not chosen based on accolades or measurable merit. According to Saperstein, alumni received emails and could volunteer to be interviewed. Because of the low number of alumni who volunteered, interviewers like Saperstein also recruited alumni in Lower Beamer and the Wheaton College bookstore.
Litteral talked about the privilege of interviewing an alumna who had returned to Wheaton for her 30th reunion. She had spent most of her time after graduation working at an academy in Nairobi, Kenya. Litteral said she was excited to have made the connection because she is currently applying to be a student teacher at the same academy.
In reference to the project of collecting alumni’s stories, Litteral said, “It’s really cool to see that just like God is doing amazing works now, he was doing amazing works in the years before, and I know he’s going to do amazing works through Wheaton after.”
Managing Editor Brooke MacArthur contributed to reporting.