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Update from the President

Dear Wheeling University Community, 

Tuesday’s announcement from the Higher Learning Commission to remove the probation sanction at Wheeling University is the culmination of three years of hard work by our faculty, staff, the Board of Trustees, and alumni. I immediately brought together our employees to share this wonderful news and express my gratitude to everyone. Together, we took on this challenge and addressed the concerns of the HLC. It was a herculean effort by this entire campus and that hard work paid off! Now, we can move forward and continue our work to educate men and women to excel professionally, become leaders in their communities, and be individuals who serve others. Lifting this sanction allows the University to start new programs, while we continue to assess student outcomes, maintain finances, increase enrollment, and retain students. We have made great strides in all these areas, but remaining vigilant is key. Once again, I thank this Cardinal Family for your dedication to OUR University! 

The plan we now have in place for enrollment is reaping rewards as we are seeing increases in applications for our Fall 2023 class. To date, applications are up 13.8 percent – an increase of more than 200 applications over this same time a year ago. In fact, applications and deposits from international students continue to rise as well. As part of our comprehensive plan, we recruit students, as well as their parents. A new feature for parents, The Future Cardinal Family Connection, provides useful information to help them navigate the college admissions process. Our consultants are working with the admissions staff to implement new outreach programs/tools that help us focus on which students are likely to enroll and we have developed more marketing/digital campaigns. Our admissions team and coaches are also working in tandem to contact each person once they express interest and follow up on a regular basis. We are thrilled with how our numbers are trending. 

WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling is once again the home of the Mountain East Basketball Tournament this week. Both of our Cardinal teams made the tournament, and our men’s squad played Glenville on Wednesday evening. They battled hard but lost. Coach Richardson’s squad played without injured Senior John Korte.  I want to congratulate John who joined the 1,000-point club recently and became the 49th men’s player to score 1,000 points or more during his career with the Cardinals. John reached this milestone at Fairmont State on February 15th. The Cardinal Women matched up with Charleston on Thursday afternoon and also suffered a heartbreaking loss. I congratulate the players and the coaches on their seasons. 

Since arriving in October of 2019, I have made it a priority to make upgrades to the facilities at Wheeling University. Since 2019, we transformed the Benedum Room, paved the roads, fixed roofs, refurbished the Chapel’s cross, and painted just about everything! I am excited to announce our next project – resurfacing the outdoor track. For some time, we have been working on a plan to do this project at a reasonable price. Early cost estimates came in at more than $1 million, and I am happy to share with you we are able to reduce that cost by more than half to $500,000. What is even more exciting is that we have a donor who has committed $250,000 towards this project. The University will need to match the final amount. When I learned about this gift, I contacted Mark Swiger, the program’s first coach, to seek his input on whether this goal is attainable. Without hesitation, Mark offered to help. He and I have turned our attention to developing a plan to raise the final $250,000. I know that alumni have made gifts in the past toward resurfacing the track, and those gifts will be committed toward the goal. I look forward to announcing more details soon on how our alumni and friends can get involved and help. 

I talk often about how our students live our mission to serve others in this community. I received an email this week from Lauren Thomas, development director for the American Heart Association in the Ohio Valley, who ‘wanted to brag’ about one of our students – Senior Batson Sheets. The organization hosted its annual Heart Ball last Saturday, and Batson volunteered to help. He spent Friday evening assisting with set up and then returned on Saturday to lend a hand during the event. Lauren said the organization appreciated his time and energy. I had no idea that Batson had offered to help at this event – he did this without seeking notoriety or accolades. This is just one example of how our students make an impact in our community. Thank you, Batson for your service. 

Spring break starts today and many of our students are heading to sporting competitions or home to relax before the final weeks of the semester. No matter the destination, I wish those leaving campus for a break, safe travels. 

With appreciation, 

Ginny R. Favede 
President, Wheeling University