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Update from the President

May 1

Dear Wheeling University Community,

As we continue to social distance and follow stay at home orders, I’m reminded of what life was like before we all wore masks, stopped shaking hands and ordered everything from Amazon. The Coronavirus has changed all our lives.

Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generation” comes to mind right now. His book captured what many of our parents and grandparents often talked about when we gathered for family dinners. They would tell stories about the ‘tough times’ they lived through – immigrating to a new land, the soup lines during The Great Depression, gas ration stamps during World War II and watching family members battle polio. That generation witnessed and overcame tremendous challenges. And through their experiences, they made our world better and stronger.

For today’s generation, COVID-19 maybe the greatest challenge we have faced in our lifetime. Prior to this pandemic, we took for granted the simple things – having coffee with a classmate, talking to faculty in their offices, eating together in the Benedum Room and watching the Cardinal sports teams. As we move forward, I think we will not only appreciate the simple things more, but we will be stronger personally and as a community.

Why stronger? Because, much like our parents and grandparents, we are facing adversity and are discovering new and innovative ways to find solutions. In this difficult time, the silver lining is, while the Coronavirus has forced us to be apart, we are not allowing our physical separation to keep us from working together.

Many questions have arisen recently about the upcoming academic year. To begin preparing for the Fall semester, I have appointed a COVID-19 Reopening Committee, which includes employees from various University departments. The Taskforce will look at every aspect of campus operation to develop the best procedures for the campus to adhere to Gov. Jim Justice’s West Virginia Strong: The Comeback – his plan to restart Mountain State businesses.

Moving forward may require new and innovative approaches to how we support campus operations. The safety of our students and employees will remain the top priority and this will guide us in all that we do. I am confident that working together we will find a clear path forward that upholds the Wheeling University mission and educational traditions, and at the same time, provides a safe environment for everyone.

I am pleased to announce that Wheeling University has received federal funding from the Department of Education as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Services (CARES) Act in the amount of $383,326. The University will receive these funds via the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The funds will be distributed in accordance with the Department of Education guidelines in the form of cash grants to provide students with financial assistance for needs stemming from COVID-19-related disruption of campus operations, including cost of attendance expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. To be eligible for funding, Wheeling University students must meet the federal guidelines.  Additionally, a student will not be eligible if they were enrolled in programs that were exclusively online before COVID-19 closures. To apply, students must complete an application no later than May 8, 2020. Recently, I appointed a CARES Act Committee that will work collaboratively to review student applications and make funding recommendations.  The Committee consists of faculty, coaches, financial aid and other University administrators.  It is my sincere hope that these funds will provide help in a timely, meaningful way to each student and their families. 

As we continue to adjust to the new normal the Coronavirus has brought to all our lives, please remember Wheeling University’s greatest asset is you – our faculty, staff, students and alumni. I thank you once again for your dedication to our University. Whether here on campus or at home, each of you has stepped up to keep our institution moving forward. You have made Wheeling University stronger and I know you will continue to help us in this next phase – finding the best course of action as we plan for the Fall semester.

Thank you for taking care of yourself, and each other – no matter where you are. Together, we will make it through this pandemic, and together we will make our University stronger.

With gratitude,

Ginny R. Favede

President, Wheeling University