Wheaton College is a private Evangelical Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois. It was founded by evangelical abolitionists in 1860. Wheaton College was a stop on the Underground Railroad and graduated one of Illinois' first black college graduates. Wheaton College was founded in 1860. Its predecessor, the Illinois Institute, had been founded in late 1853 by Wesleyan Methodists as a college and preparatory school. Wheaton's first president, Jonathan Blanchard, was a former president of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and a staunch abolitionist with ties to Oberlin College. Mired in financial trouble and unable to sustain the institution, the Wesleyans looked to Blanchard for new leadership. He took on the role as president in 1860, having suggested several Congregationalist appointees to the board of trustees the previous year. The Wesleyans, similar in spirit and mission to the Congregationalists, were happy to relinquish control of the Illinois Institute. Blanchard officially separated the college from any denominational support and was responsible for its new name, given in honor of trustee and benefactor Warren L. Wheaton, who founded the town of Wheaton after moving to Illinois from New England. More information...

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