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Update from the President

Dear University Community,  

Fall has arrived in all its glory and our campus and the surrounding hills are bursting with a vibrant array of colors! The one thing the Coronavirus could not deprive us of is a beautiful Ohio Valley Fall. It is easy right now to get caught up in class, work, and practice. Please do not let the colors of this wonderful season go unnoticed – take time this weekend to pause, look around, and appreciate the stunning landscape.  

We were blessed to have the Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, on campus Tuesday, October 12 to celebrate the Mass of Holy Spirit. While COVID-19 limited the number of people who could gather in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph for the Mass, the event was live streamed so students, faculty, and employees could gather in groups in the Ratt, Troy Theater, the 24-Hour Lounge, Erickson Alumni Center, the Recital Hall, and the McDonough Center to participate with Bishop Brennan. A special thank you to Andrew Woodley for his expertise to live stream the Mass, and Fr. Hadi Sasmita for coordinating all the details. We are grateful to the Bishop and the members of the Jesuit Community for celebrating such a special Mass with our community. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a Jesuit school tradition, in which the community gathers to thank God for the gifts of creation and salvation and to seek the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit during the academic year. 

Additionally, Bishop Brennan will present during the 50 Year Club’s fourth online lecture scheduled for Thursday, October 22 at noon. Working together with the Jesuit Community and the Appalachian Institute, the lectures celebrate the 45th anniversary of the pastoral letter, “This Land is Home to Me. Thursday’s lecture will focus on the pastoral letter as a Witness to the World. Joining Bishop Brennan for this discussion will be Dr. Joseph Laker, Professor Emeritus of History at Wheeling University. The Bishop will reflect on this pastoral letter and its connection to the social mission of the Church in Appalachia in concert with Pope Francis.Dr. Lakerwill offer insights into 1975, the signing year of the pastoral letter, and his first year as a faculty member of Wheeling College, as well as the college’s regional and international outreach at the time. I look forward to this final lecture and encourage all members of the 50 Year Club to join us next Thursday for what I know will be an insightful discussion. Details are emailed separately.  

Last week, was the start of surveillance COVID-19 testing on campus. During the first two weeks, 150 students, faculty, and staff were tested. As a reminder, testing will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday in the Troy Theater. Those selected will receive an email from Student Services on Friday with detailed instructions. Testing will continue each Wednesday until Thanksgiving break.   

I am pleased to welcome Larry Palmer as our new Director of Public Safety. He brings to Wheeling University more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement. Most recently, Larry served as Sheriff of Brooke County, West Virginia. Prior to that, he was the Director of Campus Safety and Security at Bethany College. Also joining us is Dr. Dave Tomanio, Interim Director of Human Resources, and Mark Jastorff, Interim Vice President of Advancement. 

National Physical Therapy Month is an annual designation observed in October. For almost 40 years, physical therapy has been celebrated by official proclamation. And since 1992, October is the month for honoring physical therapists and the important role they play in healing people in pain. The Wheeling University Physical Therapy Program continues to use this month to raise awareness about the benefits of physical therapy and to undertake service projects in our community.  

Please note that the Performance Gym in the McDonough Center closed at 8 a.m. today and will remain closed until 8 a.m. Monday so that repairs can be made to the floor. No one will be permitted to use the gym during this time. I apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.  

Also, be aware there will be a scheduled AEP power outage that will affect three buildings –Campion/McHugh, Donahue, and Ignatius — tomorrow morning, Saturday, October 17. The outage will take place from approximately 8 to 10 a.m. and will impact all electric service, including elevators, in these three buildings.   

Today began what will be bi-monthly meetings with the Student Government Association. Understanding the students remains our priority, and I want to have the opportunity to hear directly their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This morning they shared their disappointment in not having had the opportunity to have their Luceat Program, as well as the Leadership Training for all students in leadership roles due to COVID restrictions and the staggered move-in process we employed for safety reasons. I will be working with Fr. Hadi, Fr. McCouch, and Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Student Services, to ensure we adequately address these issues. I cannot put into words the joy in my heart to hear from these young students their longing for Women’s Prayer group, Luceats, and the Mother Jones House. I look forward to spending time with the students to ensure their voices are heard and they are empowered to advocate for their student body.  

We have been able to create a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff, and work daily to maintain their safety. While much uncertainty still remains, we remain committed to our COVID-19 plan which embraces the need for flexibility with an eye for continuity. The success of our plan depends upon the core strength of community support for one another and a desire to focus on the greater good. Everyone’s success and safety are interconnected.  

With Gratitude,  

Ginny R. Favede 
President, Wheeling University