David J. Chard Inaugurated as Wheelock's 14th President

April 21, 2017

Dr. ChardEvent Theme is Salute to Service

Wheelock College today celebrated the inauguration of Dr. David J. Chard as its 14th President with a daylong series of events designed to highlight the value and importance of service.

"Today is about Wheelock College, a very special place built on a cornerstone of service," said Dr. Chard after he was presented with a medallion signifying his taking the office of President.

Leading up to the Inauguration, the Wheelock community performed a total of 1,900 hours of community service in honor of Dr. Chard, including book and clothing drives, park cleanups, reading to preschoolers, serving meals, charity walks, and more.

Dr. Chard became Wheelock College's 14th President on July 1, 2016. He was previously Dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he created a strategic vision focused on undergraduate and graduate programs built on evidence-based practices. He is the author of numerous instructional programs on early literacy, language arts, and mathematics spanning K-12 education and has been a classroom teacher in California, Michigan, and as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa. Read Dr. Chard's full biography.

Inauguration Day began with a Symposium, titled "Service as an Act of Social Justice," that was composed of three panel discussions. In the first session, "Service as an Act of Social Justice: In Our Practice and Aspirations," a panel of current Wheelock students and alumni discussed what brought them to Wheelock and their views on the link between service and social justice.

Panelist Jazmin Wallace '18, who is majoring in Elementary Education and Math/Science for Teaching, said she was drawn to Wheelock because of its mission to improve the lives of children and families and was completely won over after her first visit to campus. "You see how [the mission] lives in every person on this campus," she said. "You can just see the passion, empathy, and service everywhere."

President Chard with Board Chair Kate TaylorWallace stressed that service is not about just helping other people. "You can't have service without social justice," she said. "It won't benefit anyone....We need to continue to emphasize that we're working with people, not helping them."

Panelist Tam Emerson '12, Director of the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program at the Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis College, said her Wheelock education was transformative because she learned how to channel her passions into positive action. "What I appreciate most about Wheelock is the focus on how do you take what you're learning today and go out and do something with it," she said. Emerson, who spent two years at a City Year Boston Corps member, said it is important for Wheelock to prepare students for the tough realities they will face in the social sector jobs that many of them will take on after graduation. "How are we critically training our teachers to be ready for the classrooms they're going to go into so they don't go running out a year later?" she said.

After the Symposium, the community gathered for a special Celebratory Lunch featuring food from around the region. Then, Wheelock held a Salute to Community Service, featuring a student a cappella and dance performance by the Grace Notes and Xclusive Dance Team, along with a slideshow illustrating service work done by the community.

President Chard with studentsAt the formal Inaugural Ceremony, held in Wheelock Family Theatre, honored guest speakers from the Greater Boston community included Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, Brookline Town Selectman Benjamin Franco, and City of Boston Chief of Education Turahn Dorsey. Delegate speakers from higher education were Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College, and Sr. Janet Eisner, President of Emmanuel College. Reflections were offered by two people close to Dr. Chard: Yolette Garcia, Assistant Dean for External Affairs and Outreach, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development at Southern Methodist University, and Edward J. Kame'enui, Dean-Knight Professor of Education and Co-Director of the Center on Teaching and Learning at University of Oregon. Dr. Chard's daughter, Cecelia Chard, read a poem she wrote for the occasion.

"I came to Wheelock because [its mission of] improving the lives of children and families resonated with me and my career," Dr. Chard told the Inaugural crowd. "I hope you find in today's festivities a renewed inspiration for your own service."

See the Formal Inauguration Program (pdf)

See the Inaugural Symposium Program (pdf)


Grace NotesInauguration Symposium: Service as an Act of Social Justice
Brookline Campus, 43 Hawes Street - 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

  • Opening Remarks
  • Session 1: Service as an Act of Social Justice: In Our Practice and Aspirations
  • Session 2: Interdisciplinary Power: How the Arts and Sciences Disciplines Impact the Professions
  • Session 3: Meeting the Global Challenge of Children with Disabilities
  • Closing Remarks

All-Community Celebratory Luncheon
Dining Commons, Campus Center - Noon - 2:00 pm

Salute to Community Service
Wolf Room, Campus Center - 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Inaugural Ceremony
Wheelock Family Theatre - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Opening Night: Charlotte's Web
Wheelock Family Theatre, 7:30 pm

inspire a world of good

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