|Wheeling College (1954-1987)|
Wheeling Jesuit College (1987–1996)
Wheeling Jesuit University (1996-2019)
|Motto||Luceat Lux Vestra (Latin)|
Motto in English
|Let your light shine|
|Endowment||US $16.1 million|
|President||Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo|
|77 full-time |
|Students||1,289 (Fall 2016)|
|Campus||65 acres (26.3 ha)|
|Colors||Red Black Gold|
|Athletics||NCAA Division II - MEC|
|Sports||21 varsity sports teams|
(11 men's and 10 women's)
|Mascot||Iggy the Cardinal|
Wheeling University (WU, formerly Wheeling Jesuit University prior to the Society of Jesus revoking affiliation) is a private Roman Catholic university in Wheeling, West Virginia. It was founded as Wheeling College in 1954 by the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits) and was a Jesuit institution until 2019 when it declared financial exigency and placed its president and vice president on administrative leave.  Wheeling University competes in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association as a member of the Mountain East Conference.
- 1 History
- 2 Admissions and rankings
- 3 Academics
- 4 Mount de Chantal Conservatory of Music
- 5 Athletics
- 6 Campus life
- 7 People
- 8 Sponsored programs
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The seeds of Wheeling University's founding were planted as early as the 19th century. Richard Whelan, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling, lobbied the Society of Jesus to establish a university in the growing city. Over a century later, Whelan's original vision came to fruition. After a donor, Sara Tracy, left her estate to the diocese, it purchased land for a Jesuit college from Mt. De Chantal Visitation Academy.
Wheeling College was founded through a partnership of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston with the Maryland Society of Jesus. Ground was broken on November 24, 1953, and the college was officially incorporated on September 25, 1954. It opened to students on September 26, 1955. The establishment of the college required $2.75 million in start-up costs. Overcoming the difficulties of temporary facilities and a faculty of twelve Jesuit priests and four lay professors, the school grew considerably.
For the 1987–1988 school year, the university became Wheeling Jesuit College, and in July 1996, gained university status.
In 2012, university leadership was accused by the federal government of misappropriating NASA grant money received for sponsored programs. Wheeling Jesuit settled with the federal government in 2015, paying $2.3 million in restitution.
In March 2013, the university announced the selection of Fr. James Fleming as its tenth president. Fleming took office effective July 1, 2013. Fleming resigned from the presidency on January 3, 2017.
In 2019, the school eliminated majors in history, theology, philosophy, literature and engineering, and cut 20 of the university’s full-time faculty members.
Prior to 2019, the Jesuit community was active in the process of education at Wheeling. In addition, the Jesuits were involved in many other academic works, such as the Appalachian Institute on campus. Members of Wheeling's Jesuit Community reside at Whelan Hall, dedicated in 1955. The Jesuit community and tradition for critical thinking were reflected in the school's curriculum and mission. Wheeling Jesuit University was a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
In April 2019, as part of a broader restructuring of its academic programs, the university announced the elimination of its programs in theology and philosophy that are key to its identity as a Jesuit institution. The Jesuits in turn decided to end their academic affiliation with the university at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, while continuing to provide "an ongoing Jesuit presence" through its campus ministry and other programs. Two months later, Monsignor Kevin Quirk resigned form his position as chair of the university's board of trustees after The Washington Post published details from confidential report alleging that one of his former colleagues was guilty of sexual abuse and financial impropriety. In July, the university formally dropped "Jesuit" from its name and became Wheeling University.
- Very Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J., 1954-1959
- Rev. William F. Troy, S.J., 1959-1966
- Rev. Frank R. Haig, S.J., 1966-1972
- Rev. Charles L. Currie Jr., S.J., 1972-1982
- Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J., 1982-2000
- Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J., 2000-2003
- Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., 2003-2006
- James F. Birge, Ph.D. (interim), 2006-2007
- Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J., 2007-2009
- J. Davitt McAteer (acting), 2009–2010
- Sr. Francis Marie Thrailkill (interim), 2010 
- Richard A. Beyer – 2011-2013
- Rev. James J. Fleming, S.J., 2013-2017
- Debra M. Townsley, Ph.D., 2017-2018
- Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr., D.M.A., 2018–present
Admissions and rankings
According to the Wheeling University's page on the U-CAN Network, the average high school GPA of the freshman class is 3.5 The school is given a selectivity score of 81 out of 100 by the Princeton Review. In 1997, WJU was named as the fourth-best educational value in the southeast, and the 15th-best college in the region. In addition, the school is ranked as the 18th best master's university in the South by U.S. News and World Report. The 2009 Forbes magazine ranking placed WJU as 180 of 600 colleges, a marked improvement from their No. 437 rank in 2008. Forbes ranked the university as the 79th best value in America. The university is ranked among the John Templeton Foundation's Colleges that Encourage Character Development.
In honor of former professor Fr. Stephen J. Laut, S.J., the university offers the Laut Honors Program. Throughout each school year, members of the program meet to discuss and study material related to that year's theme. At the conclusion of a student's sophomore year, students who have successfully completed the Laut program are invited to join the Ignatian Honors Seminar, a more rigorous program for which only six juniors and six seniors are selected.
Wheeling encourages all students to become actively involved in research in their desired fields. In many fields, seniors are required to complete a thesis or capstone project. In addition, students are actively encouraged to participate in the annual Student Research and Scholarship Symposium, in which students present research done over the past academic year.
- Business Administration
- Exercise Science
- Respiratory Care
- Criminal Justice
Wheeling University's Center for Professional and Graduate Studies offers five graduate programs, a Master of Business Administration; Master of Accountancy; Master of Science in Nursing; Master of Science in Organizational Leadership; and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
The Center for Professional and Graduate Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Development (BOLD) and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL). These are adult education programs that meet once a week in the evening.
Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Appalachian Institute
The Appalachian Institute at Wheeling University focuses on issues such as Appalachian health, hope, education, economic development, and coal impoundment, and has conducted research and produced exhibits regarding this issues.
In 2010, the university hosted the Ignatian Solidarity Network Spring Teach-In, which focused on issues of environmental sustainability and stewardship. In September 2010, the Appalachian Institute held its second annual Appalachian Film Festival.
Institute for the Study of Capitalism and Morality
As a result of a donation from BB&T, in 2006 the university became home to the Institute for the Study of Capitalism and Morality. According to its website, the Institute desires to study the roles of capitalism in a free society. The institute also promotes research and essay competitions, forums and debates, and a lecture series. Lecturers for the 2007–2008 school year included Thomas Woods and Doug Bandow. In 2011, the ISCM welcomed former BB&T CEO John A. Allison IV to campus.
Named for the school's former president Rev. Fr. Thomas S. Acker, S.J., the center was built in 2002. It is home to classrooms and labs.
The oldest academic building on campus, Donahue Hall was constructed in 1955 and was renovated in 1988. Donahue holds faculty offices, labs, and classrooms. The hall is connected to the Acker Science Center via the "Acker bridge."
Mount de Chantal Conservatory of Music
The adjacent former girl's academy, Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy ceased operations in August 2010 and the Sisters of the Visitation who ran the school since its inception moved to the monastery at Georgetown Visitation Academy in Washington, DC. Wishing to see the Mount's legacy continued, the sisters gifted a large sum of money to establish and fund a Conservatory of Music at the university.
Thus the Mount de Chantal Conservatory of Music came to be in the lower floor of the university's CET building. The Conservatory features a recital hall, practice rooms, a parlor for students and visitors, and a gallery displaying art, antiques and archival materials from Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy. Each year, one incoming female freshman receives a $10,000 Mount de Chantal Scholarship, renewable annually, through the Mount de Chantal Fine Arts Education Fund.
In the Fall of 2013, Wheeling University expanded its physical therapy doctoral program into downtown Wheeling, WV where it offers a free physical therapy clinic. The physical therapy program will relocate back to campus starting in the Fall 2019 semester.
Wheeling currently supports 16 NCAA Division II sports, including: Women's volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track & field, men's and women's basketball, women's lacrosse, softball, baseball, and football. The Cardinals also have D1A men's rugby program.
The university's home indoor athletic events for volleyball and basketball are held in WJU's McDonough Center. WJU's soccer and women's lacrosse teams play on the turfed Bishop Schmitt Field. The Cardinals baseball and softball teams call the J.B. Chambers Complex located off campus located along I-470 as their home fields.
Wheeling competes in NCAA Division II as part of the Mountain East Conference (MEC) as one of the four-year conference's founding members. Prior to the MEC, the Cardinals played in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) from 1957 to 2013.
The university has seven residence halls under its jurisdiction.
- Campion – Housing for male freshman and upperclassmen students with 1 floor for female students
- McHugh – Housing for male freshman students
- Ignatius – Upgraded co-ed housing for upperclass students, featuring an "Ace Floor" for approved, academically achieved students with around-the-clock quiet hours
- Kirby – Upgraded housing for female students, occasionally freshmen
- Sara Tracy – Housing for female freshman students
- Steenrod – Apartment housing for graduate students, off the main campus but on university-owned property across Washington Avenue.
Student organizations and publications
The Student Government Association offices are located in Swint Hall. The Student Government Association is the elected voice of WU students. The Wheeling SGA consists of two branches: the Executive Board ("E-Board") and the Student Senate. The E-Board consists of a President and Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Student Advocate, Social Affairs Representative, Academic Affairs Representative, and Academic Affairs Representative. The Student Senate is composed of at-large representatives, class officers, and a commuter representative.
Wheeling University students are given an array of opportunities for campus involvement. Student Government and the Campus Activities Board plan activities each year, in addition to those already put on by clubs. While many of the clubs are service-oriented in nature, there are also political, artistic, and major-related organizations.
- Appalachian Experience Club
- Campus Activities Board
- Criminal Justice Club
- HESS (Help Enrich Someone Special) Mentoring
- International Student Club
- Philosophy Club (Sense and Nonsense)
- Student Leaders Across Campus
- Student Nurses Association
- Theatre Guild
Each spring Wheeling's International Student club sponsors a festival celebrating the cultural diversity of WU. The activities included samples of ethnic food as well as music and demonstrations from students' native countries.
"Last Blast" is held at the end of every school year. The events include a concert, a formal dance, a carnival held outside of Donahue Hall, and a raft race down Wheeling Creek. Some of the artists at past Last Blast concerts include Andy Grammer and Punchline.
Jesuit Idol is an annual talent competition modeled after American Idol and held every spring semester. Contestants sing before a live audience and a panel of judges, and are eliminated in a series of themed rounds. The winner is awarded a cash prize. The event is streamed online.
- John Beilein, (1975), head coach, Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team
- Lionel Cartwright, (1982), country musician
- John N. Ellem, member, West Virginia House of Delegates
- John Gage (labor leader), (1968), president of the American Federation of Government Employees, member of the AFL-CIO executive committee
- Neil Holloway, head coach, Ocean City Nor'easters
- John M. Maris, M.D., (1983), chief of Division of Oncology and Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- Anthony F. Migliaccio, Jr., risk management and security expert, director of security for the 2004 Summer Olympics
- Michael Mulligan (businessman), former MapQuest CEO
- Tim Murphy, (1974), U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 18th District
- Jeanne Neff, former president, The Sage Colleges
- John F. Noonan, former president, Bloomfield College
- George Novacky, (1968), assistant department chair and senior lecturer in computer science, University of Pittsburgh.
- John G. Panagiotou, (1990), Greek Orthodox theologian
- Kathleen Hawk Sawyer (1972), director, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 1992–2003
- Erikka Lynn Storch, (1996), member, West Virginia House of Delegates
- Jason H. Wilson, (MBA), Ohio state senator
- James T Smith, (1964), Baltimore County, Maryland, county executive
- Tara Wilson, 2000, Miss West Virginia USA
- JT Woodruff (attended, did not graduate), lead singer of Hawthorne Heights
- John B. Yasinsky, (1961), former OMNOVA Solutions CEO
- Ricky Yahn, (2007), assistant coach, Cornell Big Red men's basketball team
- Christina Richey, (2004), cross-divisional program officer, NASA Headquarters; deputy program scientist, OSIRIS-REx mission
- Remy Munasifi, (2002), stand-up comedian, parody musician, and video artist best known as GoRemy
- Haywood Highsmith, (2018), Philadelphia 76ers player
Notable faculty and staff
- J. Donald Freeze, S.J., former philosophy professor and academic vice president of Georgetown University
- Msgr. Alfred Jolson, S.J., former business professor and Bishop of Reykjavík 
- Jim O'Brien, former head basketball coach, current Indiana Pacers coach
- Judson Shaver, former religious studies professor, current president of Marymount Manhattan College
- Fr. Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J., professor of theology, author, Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic, Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala, and The Sacred Vision: Native American Religion and Its Practice Today.
- Edward W. Younkins, professor of accountancy and business administration, author
Challenger Learning Center
The Challenger Learning Center  at WJU is one of 43 such centers worldwide. It offers several educational programs to middle and high school students. One of the more notable is a Space Shuttle simulation.
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