Leading Innovation & Inspiring Change
Joyce Pettoruto Butler '73
"This is a time when we can influence the infrastructure from within and make changes to better the lives of children and families."
"As we plan for the future, we are building upon a century of innovative thinking about children and families rooted in the inspired vision of Lucy Wheelock."
- Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President of Wheelock College
Wheelock College's institutional mission to improve the lives of children and families is grounded in Lucy Wheelock's life commitment to serve the public good through education. A bold thinker, idealist, and activist in an age of great social reform movements, she saw children's early education as a new and innovative route to improving society and devoted herself to "the better education of those who are to shape it"—her kindergarten teachers.
The education she gave to future teachers was innovative and principled. She taught them the most advanced early education theories of the time but also incorporated aspects of social work into their learning, sending them into Boston's immigrant neighborhoods and settlement houses to learn by serving mothers and whole families as well as individual children. She insisted her students should have a strong sense of ethics and civic responsibility and should be knowledgeable, engaged citizens of the world. They had to be if they were to be what she called "world changers."
Wheelock College remains at the forefront of early childhood education, and at the center of its leadership is a continuing commitment to innovation in education and service. From helping to develop the teacher training component of Head Start, the nation's unprecedented movement in early childhood care and education and a lasting entity of the War on Poverty; to establishing Wheelock Family Theatre, a landmark regional theater recognized for its inclusive programs for the underserved; to introducing the first child life program in the U.S., Wheelock has continued to pursue new ideas in order to better educate students who will serve and shape society.
Today, as nearly 125 years ago, Wheelock is preparing and graduating world changers. We know that if our students are to be leaders in their fields, we must continue to be forward-thinking in educating them. We will do that through the Campaign for Wheelock, rededicating our energies to the College's founding vision and values and its spirit of innovation.