Wheaton College removes Hastert's name from center titled in his honor
Wheaton College announced Sunday it is removing the name of former U.S. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert from its Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy named in his honor.
The decision comes three days after Hastert, a Yorkville resident and 1964 graduate of the college, was indicted by federal authorities on charges alleging he lied to investigators and violated bank laws to hide payments he was making to keep secret allegations of misconduct dating back to his days as a high school teacher and wrestling coach.
On Friday, the college announced Hastert had stepped down from the center's board of advisers.
"In light of the charges and allegations that have emerged, the college has redesignated the Center as the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy at this time," according to a statement released by college officials Sunday. "The Center will continue in its mission 'to advance the training of Wheaton College students and the greater community in the understanding of market economies, representative democracies, limited government, and the redeeming effects of the Christian worldview on the practice of business, government and politics.'"
In a statement Saturday, the college said it respects Hastert's public service record and the "due process being afforded him pursuant to the charges that have been filed against him."
In 2007, Hastert donated his congressional papers to Wheaton College in preparation for his retirement. The college's Special Collections department spent the past eight months processing Hastert's congressional papers for public viewing.
The creation of the Hastert center involved a $5 million renovation of the Memorial Student Center.
Hastert, 73, played an active role in raising funds to get the center off the ground. He joined a list of other notable Wheaton College alumni with school buildings bearing their names, including the Rev. Billy Graham (Billy Graham Center); and Todd Beamer, who died when his plane crashed in Pennsylvania during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (Todd Beamer Center).