September 4, 2020
Update from the President
Dear Wheeling University Community,
Since the onset, this pandemic has tested our resolve. It has been unpredictable and continues to remind us that we are on its timeline, not ours. Through it all, this campus community has shown its determination, while meeting challenges with solutions – as well as grace!
During a ‘normal’ time, it might not be particularly remarkable to say thank you to our students, faculty and staff for the tremendous job everyone has done two weeks into the semester. This Cardinal family has been following our Return to Campus Plan, and I am proud of your efforts to help mitigate the spread of this virus. We must remain vigilant and not become complacent. The health and safety of everyone depends on all of us following our protocols. Equally important is the need continue doing what is best for the health and safety of all.
While we often talk about what has been lost due to the Coronavirus, I am thrilled to tell you what we’ve added around campus in recent weeks. Students and staff can now enjoy outdoor and indoor gathering areas – spaces that follow our social distance guidelines. This week, we opened the Ratt to give students a place watch TV, eat and gather since the closure of the residence hall lounges due to the pandemic. Outside of Donahue Hall, we’ve placed tables with beautiful, new cardinal red umbrellas – another place for students to gather outside and faculty to hold classes. Students and staff are elated to have the patio area outside the Benedum Room open. It was home to a rousing and well-attended Bingo night Thursday. Since its completion last week, B-Room diners can be found enjoying their meals in this area. The view of our beautiful campus from the deck is captivating. I look forward to the day we are able to have our alumni and parents enjoy it as much as we are. This week also saw the addition of Adirondack chairs with a desk feature, which were placed on Donahue lawn. There is one more social area yet to be upgraded – the Library Plaza – where new tables, chairs and umbrellas will soon be placed. These outside areas not only provide additional options for dining, meeting and socializing, they allow our community to gather in small groups without violating our Return to Campus Plan.
From the onset, I have invested great effort into communication with all of you. The trials of COVID-19 have made communication more important than ever. I’ve enjoyed the open dialog with all of you. This week, Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Student Services and I held the first Virtual Presidential Town Hall with students on Thursday evening. While I would love the opportunity to meet with the students in-person, the Virtual Town Hall afforded us the chance to have a discussion and at the same time follow the ban on large gatherings. Though we had our student leaders in the audience, students from across campus asked questions via email and chat, which we addressed. I believe in open dialog and ongoing conversations with the students, so we can answer their questions openly and address any concerns in a timely manner. The Town Halls will be held each Wednesday at 6 p.m.
As of today, I share that Wheeling University’s campus is COVID free. The two students who initially tested positive, have returned from their 10 days of quarantine.
I am pleased to share with you, this week, Wheeling University partnered with Wheeling Hospital to provide members of the hospital’s staff the opportunity to participate in our Healthcare Leadership Academy. The Academy will assist the hospital in creating a highly reliable, performance-based managerial culture. Upon completion of the Academy coursework, each Wheeling Hospital participant will receive a certificate of completion. This is a wonderful opportunity for our University to provide educational training that will benefit Wheeling Hospital employees. I am thrilled that our two entities forged this collaboration.
The true Cardinal spirit has shone through since the onset of this pandemic. Together — faculty, staff and students — we’ve lifted each other up, supported one another by our words and actions, and found solutions when issues arose. We are lucky to call this wonderful campus our home away from home. While none of use knows what the future holds, we continue to confidently look ahead. As always, we appreciate your prayers.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University