In 2006, a group of Dartmouth undergraduates founded the Dartmouth Apologia to articulate thoughtful Christian perspectives in the academic community and promote respectful dialogue on life's big questions. Mentored from the beginning by faculty of faith, Apologia has maintained a high standard of both intellectual rigor and Christian orthodoxy under its ecumenical student leadership, received multiple accolades from the College, and helped to launch a national movement of Christian campus journals, the Augustine Collective. In 2009, students, faculty and alumni founded the Wheelock Society to expand the conversation taking place in Apologia's pages and further the ways the Christian community could serve the College. To gather a larger community of supporters, the Society hosted its first Wheelock Conference in 2010.
In the years since, the pilot project has flourished into an organization that supports the lives of students and cultivates rich conversation and mentorship in forming lives that are coherent, abundant, and Christ-centered. In 2011, Dartmouth’s acting president, Carol Folt, affirmed the importance of the Wheelock Society’s mission and approach in her opening remarks at the second annual Wheelock Conference: "Faith and reason are fundamental to what we each bring to the table, so discovering the way to do this well and with respect is essential to the life of our campus."
The conference, restyled in 2023 as the Wheelock Weekend, has become a yearly highlight for the student Christian community on campus and an important gathering point for the broader community. Over the years, hundreds of alumni have traveled back to campus to speak on faith and vocation. The Dartmouth Apologia journal has published more than 30 issues, tackling questions ranging from the historicity of the resurrection to the perceived conflict between faith and science. The Wheelock Society has sponsored more than two dozen seminars taught by faculty and community members through the Waterman Institute, which became a college-sponsored student group called Vox Veritatis in 2022. This student group is also Dartmouth’s Veritas Forum and Thomistic Institute affiliate, acting as a crossroads for intellectual discourse surrounding faith, values, and meaning on campus.
In 2015, the Wheelock Society purchased the Wheelock House, the historic home of the College’s founder, to serve as a home for Christian intellectualism on campus and a welcoming environment for spiritual exploration. The house was approved for renovations in 2019, ground was broken in 2021, and in 2022 the residences opened to 24 undergraduate students. When Eleazar Wheelock founded the College 250 years ago, he envisioned a place where students from diverse backgrounds could grow in their Christian faith while they pursued the highest reaches of humane and scientific learning. With the Wheelock House, we are creating a hub for all of this activity and an incubator for new student-led initiatives while establishing a visible outreach to campus, a place for believers and seekers to explore life’s big questions, and a permanent home for our community of Christian alumni. The final phase of renovations, the opening of public spaces, is scheduled to finish in late 2023.
As the Wheelock Society approaches its 15th anniversary, we reflect on and renew our mission of serving students and alumni as they seek integrated lives of faith, reason, vocation, and service. With student mentorship, annual conferences, Wheelock House visits, regional community connections, virtual seminars, and speaking opportunities on campus, there have never been more ways for alumni to engage with the Dartmouth Christian community. By God’s grace and the gracious support of our donors, the Wheelock Society is reviving Eleazar Wheelock’s vision for Dartmouth within the very walls he built.