Wheaton College is a private liberal arts college in Norton, Mass. (Courtesy of Keith Nordstrom/Wheaton College)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Fencing is pleased to welcome Wheaton College, the highly ranked private liberal arts college in Norton, Mass., as the 45th school with an NCAA fencing program.
The Division III Lyons are slated to begin NCAA fencing competition in time for the 2024-25 season.
"We are beyond thrilled to welcome Wheaton College, which joins MIT and Wellesley as New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) members with fencing programs," says USA Fencing CEO Phil Andrews. "But the work is not done. Our team at USA Fencing is committed to supporting Wheaton, in whatever way the college wants, as the Lyons search for their first Head Fencing Coach and begin recruiting young people to study and fence at this wonderful institution in Norton.”
Andrews acknowledges that welcoming Wheaton required the collaboration of visionary leaders at the college as well as the tireless efforts of the Western Fencing Coalition, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Northwestern fencing head coach Zach Moss and UC San Diego fencing head coach Juan Ignacio Calderon.
Gavin Viano, Wheaton’s Associate Vice President for Athletics & Strategic Programs, says his institution is thrilled to make men’s fencing and women’s fencing its 24th and 25th varsity athletic programs.
"We would like to thank both USA Fencing as well as several intercollegiate coaches for sharing their expertise with us as we worked towards today's announcement,” he says. “Simply put, our partnership with USA Fencing was integral in taking this opportunity from vision to reality. We are looking forward to beginning the search process for our inaugural head coach and the College is honored for the opportunity to begin welcoming fencing student-athletes from across the nation and from around the globe to our Massachusetts campus in the months and years to come."
Through a partnership with USA Fencing, Wheaton is the recipient of a range of support and guidance that will allow the Lyons to begin their quest to grow a formidable fencing program immediately.
Wheaton is the first college to add an NCAA fencing program since Denison University in the 2019-20 season. But if all goes according to plan, this growth trend will continue.
"Our commitment to the growth of NCAA fencing is not done,” Andrews says. “Working with leaders from the NCAA and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, we're in active talks with other fine institutions across the country about adding fencing programs to their varsity sports lineup. Growth in the competitive landscape for collegiate fencing is good news for anyone who loves this great sport."
Wheaton College will join this impressive lineup of colleges and universities with NCAA fencing programs:
City College of New York (women’s only)
Cleveland State University
Cornell University (women’s only)
Denison University (women’s only)
Fairleigh Dickinson University (women’s only)
Johns Hopkins University
Long Island University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New York University
Northwestern University (women’s only)
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Sacred Heart University
St Johns University
Stevens Institute of Technology
Temple University (women’s only)
Tufts University (women’s only)
United States Air Force Academy
University of California, San Diego
University of Detroit, Mercy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of the Incarnate Word
Wagner College (women's only now; will add a men's team in 2023-24 season)
Wayne State University
Wellesley College (women’s only)