Perfect Order Must be Maintained

Students and visitors using the Wheaton College gymnasium (now called Adams Hall) in the early nineteenth century were required to sign a card with the following stipulations:

1) The Gymnasium is for the benefit of students of Wheaton College and others.

2) It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. of each school day in the Fall, Winter and Spring terms, and at such other times as may be arranged.

3) The fee for students will be $1.00 per term: for non students, $2.00 per term. If paid for the year in advance, for students, $2.50: for non students, $5.00.

4) Baths will be accessible during the hours when the Gymnasium is open. Members using them will furnish their own soap and towels.

5) The dress will be, for men, dark blue sweater with orange W on breast; grey trousers, black Gymnasium shoes and belt: for women, dark blue blouse waist and Turkish trousers trimmed in orange; black stockings and shoes. The suit must be used when in class work.

6) No persons will be allowed to practice except as assigned by the Director, and perfect order must be maintained in the building. Tobacco may not be used in buildings or on College grounds.

Young men perform gymnastics in the Wheaton College gymnasium, early 1900s.

Freedom to Flourish

What is the connection between economic freedom and poverty?

Thirty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Seth W. Norton is currently the Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Professor of Political Economy and former Director of the Wheaton Center for Faith, Politics & Economics. Professor Norton has taught at Wheaton since 1995 and was featured in the Autumn 2010 issue.

Seth W. Norton
Seth W. Norton

Poverty rates are customarily measured as the proportion of a country whose income is beneath a low absolute level such as one or two dollars a day. Poverty can alternatively be measured in non-pecuniary terms, such as the percentage of the population that survives infancy, or the percentage of the population that has access to basic life-sustaining benefits like safe water.

Economic freedom exists where there are consistent institutions and policies in place to ensure a voluntary exchange coordinated by markets with free entry and freedom to compete, as well as a protection of persons and their property.

The last two decades have seen a promising decline in poverty levels. The average population living on $1 a day fell dramatically from 32 percent of the world’s population in 1980 to 16.5 percent in 2004. Similarly, infant survival and life expectancy are on the rise.

While much of the non-industrialized world has flourished in this period, the good news has to be tempered with a grim exception–sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the non-industrialized nations of the world have become economically freer, while economic freedom in Africa has stagnated or even declined during the last quarter century. Understanding this exception requires exploring the connection between the world’s poverty and economic freedom. Simply stated, for non-industrialized nations, economic freedom reduces poverty.

Countries that are not economically free have about 30 percent of their population living on $1 a day and nearly 60 percent living on $2 a day, while countries that are economically free have less than 8 percent living on $1 a day and 39 percent living on $2 a day. About 74 percent of the population has access to good water in countries that are not free, while almost 100 percent of the population has access to good water in most economically free countries.

The various measures of poverty all point in the same direction–more economic freedom means lower poverty rates. Some might question whether lower levels of poverty are in fact the cause of economic freedom, rather than the result of this freedom. This interpretation is plausible, but not likely. Further statistical analysis shows that increases in economic freedom lower poverty rates regardless of the measure of poverty, even after accounting for other factors such as geography and the levels of urbanization in a country.

Studying links between economic freedom and world poverty is fascinating yet depressing, given the ties between poverty and human suffering, frailty, and depravity. If so many people would benefit from free economies, why do we not observe more economic freedom around the world?


Dr. Seth W. Norton has made research contributions in the fields of government regulation, franchising, telecommunications, and world poverty. He studied the links between economic institutions and poverty; public policies toward business and the economy; as well as government regulation, property rights, and the role of culture in framing economic institutions. From 1996 to 2008, he was also head wrestling coach at Wheaton.

Exalt Christ, not Wheaton College

Guests invited to speak in the Wheaton College chapel during the 1940s were given a card  with the following instructions sometime before their scheduled message:

Unidentified speaker leads worship in Pierce Chapel, 1944.

You will be speaking to young MEN and WOMEN who are COLLEGE STUDENTS, from 45 different states and 20 foreign countries.

We will appreciate it if you will:

Feel at home with us.

Preach the Lord Jesus — and seek to point students to deeper truths of the Word.

Exalt Christ, not Wheaton College.

Avoid controversial subjects.

Be sparing in your use of humorous stories.

You will have approximately 20 minutes for your message.

Close your message on time (within 2 or 3 minutes after the red light goes on).

Close your message with prayer.

Come again.

Chapel begins at 10:30am, closes at 11am.

When God Moves

25 years ago this week the Wheaton College Revival of 1995 transpired on campus. The following historical account was transcribed from the Wheaton College Alumni Magazine, Spring 1995.

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by Dr. Stephen B. Kellough ’70, Chaplain

Our Lord has poured out his love in a dramatic way.

Throughout the history of Wheaton College, God has chosen to he present and active in this place. There have been times of spiritual awakening, and during the week of March 19-24, we received another special visitation of God.

It would be incorrect to say that it all began at 7:30 P.M. on Sunday, March 19, in Pierce Chapel at the weekly meeting of the World Christian Fellowship. There had been a significant stirring of the Spirit in the lives of individuals and in groups on campus several weeks before that, throughout the semester, and well before that.

But something unique and important happened on that Sunday evening when James Hahn and Brandi Maguire, students from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, described a recent “revival” on their campus. Following their presentation, the microphones were open for students to share their burdens and confess their sins.

Confessions were heard throughout the night. There were tears and there were smiles. There was crying and there was singing. People confessed their sins to God and to each other, and there was healing. It was biblical. It was Christian, It was orderly. It was sincere. It honored out Lord. Finally, at 6:00 A.M., we adjourned the meeting, with students still in line who had waited hours to speak.

We reconvened on Monday in Pierce Chapel with about 900 students and adjourned at 2:00 A.M. with 400 students listening to the last confession. Still, many were unable to reach the microphone. Tuesday’s meeting was held at the College Church, a larger facility which accommodated the 1,350 people who arrived at 9:30 P.M. Because lines still remained at the microphones at 2:00 AM., another meeting was set for 9:30 P.M. on Wednesday.

College Church of Wheaton

That night a capacity crowd of about 1,500 assembled. The program included worship and testimony along with some specific instruction and direction concerning the biblical method of dealing with temptation and sin. The group was addressed by President Duane Litfin, and Professors Lyle Dorsett and Tim Beougher. The confessional stage of the week’s meetings ended at 2:00 A.M.

The final plenary session was held on Thursday evening at 9:30 P.M. at the College Church, the largest assembly of the week with many faculty, staff, and members of the community attending. The theme of the evening was praise and testimony. It was a dynamic celebration.

The challenge was issued to move on to new levels of commitment to loving and serving God. The closing moments included an invitation for people who were sensing the call of God to Christian ministry to come forward for a prayer of dedication. Many knelt at the front of the sanctuary to commit themselves to bringing the gospel to the world.

Is this something that has been humanly contrived or manufactured? The personal sharing within the body of Christ here at Wheaton College has been spiritually sensitive and biblically grounded. The depth and breadth of the confession, repentance, and reconciliation point to a divine initiative. Every factor seems to confirm that we are experiencing an authentic work of the Sovereign Lord.

As President Litfin has said, “God has prompted a wonderful surge of conviction and confession sin, genuine repentance and forgiveness, and the restoration of broken hearts and relationships.

“Our challenge now is to see the results of this renewal tilled into the soil of our lives. Our desire is to move from this mountain top to a new plateau of obedience and fellowship with the Lord, and renewed relationships with one another.”

We trust that this incredible movement of God’s Spirit will continue on our campus and beyond. We believe that what we have seen here at Wheaton is only a small piece of what God is doing worldwide.

The Allure of the Little Old Lady

An advertisement for power tools might feature burly men in a noisy workshop. An ad for luxurious perfume might feature sultry film actresses or pop divas posing in exotic locales. But what if the product is an annuity contract? Naturally, the advertisement will display a kindly-visaged matron in her rocking chair, serenely contemplating her sunset days.

The following ads, placed by Wheaton College in Moody Magazine throughout the 1950s, unashamedly brandish the heartwarming images of genteel elderly women, wondering exactly where they might securely, Christ-honoringly allocate their monies.

If these precious, irresistible old dears can trust Wheaton College with their funds, surely you can too!

Camp Wecolldac

HoneyRock in Three Lakes, WI, has long served Wheaton College as both a recreational getaway for staff and faculty as well as an educational facility for students. Lesser known in the annals of history is Camp Wecolldac (Wheaton College day camp), which operated from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Whereas HoneyRock accommodates visitors in furnished cabins and other comfortable facilities, Wecolldac’s activities, designed for much younger adventurers, mostly occurred during daylight hours, with an occasional overnight stay at a forest preserve. Bob Dresser, Classroom Technology Support and former Wecolldac attendee, fondly recalls his participation in the the program from 1961-63:

Because I had working parents, my mom enrolled me for all the summer sessions for two years. I recall she got special permission since I was under age my first year (age 8?)

When I think of my time at Camp Wecolldac I first think of Coach Pooley (as we campers called him) – otherwise known as “Big Jim” to the staff. James Pooley was the camp director and man in charge of all the daily activities. He spent each day with us and was directly involved with the kids – organizing games, leading the craft sessions, leading in prayer and lunch time. Of course, he had helpers in the form of “counselors” who were college students.

James Pooley, Assistant Coach at Wheaton Academy, 1962.

Coach was a big, tall man (over 6’ 6”) – but he was never intimidating. He was kind, fun loving, and very tolerant of us wild kids. I remember he enjoyed telling us “war” stories and he teased a lot !

The Camp was organized into two week sessions and met Mon–Fri, 9am to 5pm or so. At the end of the two weeks, an optional overnight camp-out was held at White Pines State Park in Oregon, IL. There were maybe three or four sessions in the summer overall. And it was a boys only camp – maybe about 40 – 50 kids. I think a girls camp was also running elsewhere.

A typical day started with a bus ride to North Central’s pool for swim lessons. I hated the water (over my head) and was not a happy swim student. The counselors would often just throw me in – to at least get me wet. I think next we climbed in the bus and would head to some county forest preserve for lunch and activities. Rocky Glenn, McDowell Woods, Wayne Woods, etc. We brought our own bag lunches, but the camp provided “bug juice” – lemonade, etc. After lunch followed activities/crafts on the picnic tables. I still have some of my bracelet weavings! Just when the boys were getting antsy there would be game time, Capture the Flag, football and other outdoor games that would wear you out. I also recall free time, or time to explore the parks we were visiting, wading in creeks, climbing trees, whatever came up. Then the long bus ride back to Centennial Gym. I recall some of the songs the whole bus would be singing: “B-I-N-G-O,” “Ants are Marching 2×2,” “This Little Light of Mine,” etc. Sometimes the bus would be rather late, and parents’ cars would be all lined up in the parking lot, waiting to pick up their kids after a long, fun day at Camp Wecolldac.

This diorama, probably displayed in the Memorial Student Center, advertises HoneyRock and Wecolldac, 1954.

I don’t recall if the overnight campout at White Pines was Friday or Saturday. There were shared pup tents, nighttime bonfire, group sing, serious “capture the flag” games in twilight, morning breakfast with “egg-in–the–hole” and, of course, bug juice. I also vividly remember when a certain (not Coach Pooley, who was probably leading an early morning hike) counselor’s tent stakes were loosened at midnight, such that his tent caved in. It really got fun the next morning when that counselor grabbed the prime suspect by his ankles and slowly descended him – head first – into the pit of the outhouse (no modern bathrooms at that time) – until the stake puller cried “Uncle” and “I’m sorry!” Most of the whole group witnessed the trial and punishment.

A Tale of Two Towers

At first glance, Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, share few points of commonality; but a closer examination reveals otherwise.

Wheaton College (est. 1860) and Fermilab (est. 1967) were intentionally situated on the largely undeveloped prairie about thirty miles west of Chicago for convenient access by cross-country traffic.

Both institutions employed talented veterans of the classified Manhattan Project, which eventually ended WW II. Dr. Robert Rathbun Wilson (1914-2000), Fermilab’s first director and guiding visionary, served as the head of R (Research) Division at Los Alamos, New Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb.” Similarly, Dr. Roger Voskuyl (1910-2005), professor of Chemistry at Wheaton College and later president of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, served as a group leader for the top-secret mission.

Wilson Hall at Fermilab

Administrative and academic activities for both campuses revolve around iconic loci featured on signage and letterhead. Fermilab’s Wilson Hall, aesthetically influenced by the gifted architect Robert R. Wilson, dominates the landscape at sixteen stories. The upward sweep of its outer walls, somewhat resembling praying hands, purposely evokes the Beauvais Cathedral in France, the most daring Gothic undertaking of the 13th-century.

Blanchard Hall

Wheaton College’s neo-Gothic main building, Blanchard Hall, recalls structures admired by founder and first president Jonathan Blanchard during a European journey.

While Jonathan Blanchard was a rock-ribbed Yankee who protected escaped slaves via the Underground Railroad, Robert Wilson was a proud descendant of abolitionist John G. Fee, founder of Berea College, a school for blacks and whites in pre-Civil War Kentucky. Wilson also actively recruited people of color to work at Fermilab during the Civil Rights Movement.

Fermilab’s staggeringly complex machinery, particularly DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment), is extensively networked beneath the farmland of Batavia, while the sandstone blocks used to construct Blanchard Hall were cut from a quarry in Batavia.

Both institutions boast pretty good cafeterias.

A herd of buffalo, brought by Wilson to recall his beloved childhood home in Wyoming, graze the high grasses on a ranch at Fermilab, while a gaggle of haughty geese strut freely through the manicured acreage of Wheaton College.

Fermilab educates students, scientists and engineers from all over the world. Likewise, globally minded Wheaton College prepares international missionaries, teachers, pastors  and other workers, fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

As Dr. Leon Lederman, the Nobel Prize winning second director of Fermilab, observes, the U.S.  Department of Energy research facility investigates with perpetual wonder and perplexity the subatomic conundrums posed by “inner space, outer space, and the time before time.” Exploring multidimensionality from a literary vantage, Wheaton College displays a wardrobe owned by British author C.S. Lewis, which modeled the magical doorway into Narnia. In addition, the Christian liberal arts college archives the papers of Madeleine L’Engle, who wrote A Wrinkle in Time, about a perilous trek through the centuries. In fact, her award-winning science fantasies were inspired by papers published by theoretical physicists Albert Einstein, Max Planck and Niels Bohr.

And despite the efforts of the finest minds and the most sophisticated instrumentality, the comprehensive “theory of everything,” the invisible energy field that holds the universe intact, remains frustratingly elusive. “The universe is the answer,” laments Lederman in The God Particle (1993), “but damned if we know the question.”

If one imagines an anthropomorphized Wilson Hall crying out the plaintive inquiries of a puzzled quantum physicist to the starry cosmos, then Blanchard Hall, standing only ten miles away, simply responds to that plea with Hebrews 1:3, “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

Red Grange: The Life and Legacy of the NFL’s First Superstar by Chris Willis

In an age of superstar athletes, Harold “Red” Grange (1903-1991) stands among the greatest, embodying the spirit of honest sportsmanship and American achievement. Chris Willis’ Red Grange: The Life and Legacy of the NFL’s First Superstar (2019) chronicles the rise of the humble football player from his first job delivering ice blocks in Wheaton, Illinois, to performing immortal exploits on the gridiron, to his brief acting career in Hollywood, and finally his role as the esteemed elder statesman for the National Football League.  

Consulting an array of resources, including the Red Grange Papers (SC-20) at Special Collections, Buswell Library, Wheaton College, Willis offers a fresh perspective on the beloved coach, broadcaster, pitchman, Hall of Famer and ambassador.

Chris Willis is head of the research library for NFL Films. His books included The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr (2010); Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions (2012); and The Inside Story of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers (2014). He was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 for his work on the HBO documentary The Game of Their Lives: Pro Football’s Wonder Years and won an Emmy in 2016 for his work on HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans.

Leighton Ford at Wheaton College

Dr. Leighton Ford is President of Leighton Ford Ministries, preparing younger leaders to spread the gospel of Christ to a needy world. From 1955 until 1985 he served as Associate Evangelist and later Vice President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  Ford’s ties with Billy remained strong throughout the decades.

Leighton Ford, 1951

Not only were they eventual brothers-in-law, but the renowned evangelist, preaching at a 1949 Youth for Christ rally in Chatham, Ontario, suggested to young Leighton that he consider attending Wheaton College near Chicago instead of Knox College in Toronto. Persuaded, Leighton packed his bags and headed south to the Land of Lincoln. Biographer Norman B. Rohrer relates a few episodes from Leighton Ford: A Life Surprised (1981):

The gray Oldsmobile was loaded for the trip that would take Leighton to Illinois, farther from home than he had ever traveled. Mrs. Ford insisted on going along and further embarrassed her son by renting an apartment near the campus to keep an eye on him…All who entered with Leighton in 1949 signed a pledge of total abstinence from tobacco, liquor, and movie-going. Mrs. Ford, watching from her post off-campus, found the movie ban curious. Her austere conservatism could match anybody’s, but she had not struck movies off her list of permissibles. She tugged occasionally on the apron strings from her watchtower while Leighton tried to keep her clinging presence a secret.

Wheaton [College] was a daily serendipity for the young preacher. His room was only a few blocks from the international headquarters of Youth for Christ where his heroes came and went. Gil Dodds, world champion indoor miler, was Wheaton’s track coach; a school friend named Bill Davies was the brother of internationally famous basketball star Bob Davies, who had embraced the Christian faith.

Leighton Ford preaching in Wheaton College chapel

Many thought that Leighton had copied Billy Graham’s style of preaching. The similarities were explainable: both were tall (Leighton nearly an inch taller than Billy) and thin (Leighton runs ten pounds lighter than his brother-in-law but is an inch broader in the shoulders). Both have the same vocal characteristics. Both have expansive gesticulation, a commanding voice, an urgency of theme. And both were caught up in the fervor of the new Youth for Christ movement that demanded such a flamboyant style.

In 1951 Leighton became a candidate for student body president during his senior year. He persuaded a reluctant Sam Befus to manage his campaign and the stage was set. For buttons blossomed. His campaign slogan was: “There’s a Ford in your future.” Posters showed a boy and a girl — the girl poised for a kiss, the boy admiring instead a passing Ford car. It was the wrong poster for conservative Wheatonites in the early fifties.

Leighton’s nimble mind was a seedbed for the postulations of such professors as Merrill Tenney, Arthur Holmes, Kenneth Kantzer and Clarence Hale….Leighton was qualified to enter upon his college major of philosophy. He proved it by graduating with the highest score on his comprehensive examinations of all other students in Wheaton’s 92-year history.

Leighton Ford is the author of several books, including Sandy: A Heart for God, chronicling the unexpected death of his son. His autobiography, A Life of Listening: Discerning God’s Voice and Discerning Our Own, was released by InterVarsity Press in 2019.

Dr. George “Bud” Williams, Leader, Friend and Gentleman

Like any good soldier, Dr. George “Bud” Williams (1942-2019) performed all assigned tasks with exactitude and energy. He studied at Penn State and was accepted (but did not attend) Yale University. Excelling in gymnastics, he served as Instructor in Physical Education and Coach at West Point Military Academy. He commanded an ROTC battalion, and taught various aspects of health and athletics at Wheaton College, stressing the necessity for nutrition, hygiene and spiritual renewal.

In addition to his academic responsibilities, Bud acted as president of the Christian Society for Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, and served on the board of Christian Camping International (SC-55), envisioning the digitization of its archived documents for the benefit of international missions research. He particularly relished his visits to Honey Rock Camp, where he subsequently established the Vanguard program, developing Wheaton College student leadership amid the unpredictability of outdoor activities. He describes the purpose of Vanguard in a 1975 manual:

Vanguard is essentially a series of personal and group initiative tests that require the person to think creatively and rationally, often under the pressure of time and circumstances. Through many of the tasks the individual or group is presented with problems that they must solve, from dividing and cooking food, setting up camp, navigating a map and compass through dense forest, to performing service projects, and many other such challenges.

Above all else, Bud loved his Savior.

Flashing  a gleaming smile and quick blue eyes, intense but approachable, he radiated a warmth that netted generations of loyal friends among staff, faculty and students; but underneath the kindly demeanor lay a driving desire to improve himself and those with whom he interacted.

Bud was committed to the formation of a hardy but sensitive moral character stabilized and nourished by the Spirit of God, and constantly sought resources that would inculcate this principle to his classes, indoors or out. He knew that when the man or woman securely rooted in Christ passed from the scene, a lingering force of integrity, a wide-ranging, life-giving testimony should remain, ever attracting a fallen humanity to the risen Savior.

Bud has passed, but his influence echoes with the resonance of morning reveille through the hearts of those he taught and loved.