Amanda Morris | News Editor
Anonymous donors gave $1 million to the Human Needs and Global Resources program in October, a portion of a projected sum to the program of $4 million. Provost Stanton Jones said that through this gift, the goal of the donors is to deepen and anchor the excellence of the Human Needs and Global Resources program “in perpetuity.”
Wheaton expects to receive the full $4 million sum within the next three years.
Acceptance of the gift will bring changes not only to certain aspects of the program, but also to the way its name is referenced. Jones said, “Part of the stipulation of the pledge is that we use the full designation of the program and not its abbreviation of HNGR in order to emphasize that our program is about much more than hunger.” Jones said that the abbreviation will most likely be eliminated from the course catalog, and other changes might include the way that the program is introduced over the phone.
“The anonymous donors have long appreciated the Human Needs and Global Resources program as a model way to expose and educate Wheaton students to the profound needs of the world around us, as exemplifying the applicability of a liberal arts education to addressing these needs and as underscoring the opportunities that we have to understand and address the problems of the world from a distinctively and holistically Christian perspective,” Jones said in an email.
In an announcement to the faculty several weeks ago, the Provost shared that the gift will recognize and further build the Human Needs and Global Resources program “as a center of excellence in academic rigor, intercultural engagement, whole-person learning and mutual sharing among the global church.” The announcement also explained that through this gift, a greater number of students and faculty will engage with the program’s central themes, the program’s activities will be strengthened and expanded, and the program’s contributions across campus and beyond will be broadened. Through these actions, the gift will also advance the efforts of the college to globalize a Wheaton education.
Jones said that monies from the pledge will also fund the addition of an endowed chair that will increase faculty support for the program.
Furthermore, Jones said the money will provide “initial funding for collaborative faculty-student research opportunities, a sabbatical program allowing faculty to pursue immersive teaching experiences internationally and for a Visiting Global Scholars Program to bring international scholars to campus.”
Laura Yoder, director of Human Needs and Global Resources, said that the essence of the Human Needs and Global Resources program is a focus on direct and personal engagement with many issues, such as poverty, suffering and injustice. Yoder explained that people learn about these issues through forming “reciprocal” relationships with those who experience these hardships as a reality in their daily lives, and also by recognizing that these individuals are neighbors. “Christ-followers experience the life transformation that flows from personal relationship; humbly receiving and giving with our neighbors also transforms us, and by extension influences our faith communities wherever we find ourselves in the world,” Yoder said in an email. “We anticipate that this new gift will foster greater concern for and life-transforming learning about issues of global poverty and justice across campus, in providing new opportunities to learn from direct engagement with people and local organizations in the Majority World.”
Among the variety of new additions that the pledge will bring, Yoder highlighted the component of increased faculty and collaborative student-faculty research. Yoder explained that research can be very useful to local organizations as they plan and conduct programs. “This is an important contribution that the academic world can make to local organizations, which may not have designated staff for this purpose,” Yoder said. For students, by conducting field work with local organizations, they are directed to research the topics of greatest priority to a certain situation. Furthermore, faculty who have specific areas of expertise can examine or address problems that relate to critical human need. “Conducting research alongside organizations in the Majority World will enable students and faculty to learn from people with deep understanding of their contexts and also provide opportunities to learn new methods and to practice new applications for research,” Yoder said.
Jones said that Wheaton is “thrilled” to receive the recent gift and larger sum.