October 23, 2020
Update from the President
Dear University Community,
We are heading into the homestretch of the Fall semester with just four and a half weeks remaining until students return home for Thanksgiving. I know what a challenging semester this has been for everyone, but I am so very proud of our students, faculty, and staff – you have done everything we have asked so that Wheeling University could keep providing in-person educational instruction. I attribute this success to each of you, and the remarkable job you have done to follow our Return to Campus Plan. Yes, we have had positive cases, however the preventative measures this community has taken is keeping our numbers low.
However, I am nervous because we are seeing Coronavirus cases trending upward locally and nationally. While all results from last week’s surveillance tests have come back negative, we continue to monitor our daily routines and access to PPE. Additional free-standing sanitizing stations have been placed at the main entrance of all residence halls, all entrances to Acker Science Center, on Acker Bridge, CET third-floor entrance, and the second-floor hallway of Swint. I caution students, faculty, and staff – please do not become complacent. Keep wearing your mask, washing your hands, and practice social distancing. If you need a mask or a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, contact Student Services and they will provide those to you.
With flu season approaching and COVID-19 cases on the rise, it is important for everyone to get a flu shot this year. The University will be offering flu shots to students and employees on campus in the upcoming weeks. Getting a vaccine protects you and those around you from getting the flu. Flu and COVID-19 symptoms are similar, making it harder to distinguish between the two viruses and both can result in serious illness.
Wheeling University will offer a ‘Wintermester’ from December 12 to January 10, 2021. The Winter term gives students the flexibility to take courses from home during the Christmas break and get ahead on their classwork. We will offer a variety of courses during this term including Business 161 – Start Up a Business: Design & Planning, Psychology 161 – Psychology of Coaching, and Engineering Science 464 – Alternative Energy Sources. In all, 27 courses will be offered during the winter term. Students can find the full list of courses, as well as register for courses, in Academus. Pricing is the same discounted format as our Summer of Purpose.
Our recruitment efforts are not being hampered due to limitations caused by the Coronavirus. I am thrilled to report that we have more than 300 undergraduate applications for Fall 2021 compared to 211 at the same time last year. With few high schools allowing in-person Admission visits, our team is doing virtual college fairs and high school visits in cities and schools around the country right from the office. Additionally, we hosted our first virtual open house last month and will hold another event on November 17. I thank everyone involved for the innovative ways we are recruiting future Cardinals.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in observance, I encourage all members of the University to wear purple next week to draw attention and show support, to this very serious problem in our society. To increase awareness, Student Services and the Counseling Center have a display in Acker Science Center, which offers handouts and other resources for students and employees.
The 50 Year Club Lecture Series concluded Thursday. This series offered four wonderful lectures highlighting the 45th anniversary of the pastoral letter, “This Land is Home to Me.” I thank all those who presented and took part in the lectures, as well as the leadership of the 50 Year Club, the Jesuit Community, and the Appalachian Institute for organizing these insightful online presentations. Due to the overwhelming success, the virtual lecture series will be continued.
Next Thursday, is the day when buildings will be switched from air conditioning to heat. Unfortunately, our building HVAC systems are set up to operate in one mode or the other. With the temperatures forecasted to drop, it is time to turn the heat on. I understand there will still be some warm days, and I encourage you to use small fans when necessary. I ask for your patience and thank you for your understanding.
At the request of our students – yes, we heard you – new gear has been added to our ‘campus shop’ inside Starbucks. You can now purchase Wheeling University shorts, sweatpants, and keychain lanyards.
We are working on details to host a formal Doctor of Physical Therapy Commencement and Hooding Ceremony in a virtual format. Unfortunately, restrictions caused by the pandemic will not allow for the University to hold an in-person ceremony this year. I know how much our students, their families, and the University look forward to the celebration each year, but out of an abundance of caution, we must hold this event virtually. I will share more details when they become available.
Some reminders for everyone!
First, I would like to remind the campus community of some recent office moves. The University’s Health Center and the Admissions Department are both located on the second floor of Swint Hall and the Registrar’s Office is now in Acker Science Center 204.
Finally, to ensure all communications regarding COVID-19 are centralized and accurate, it is critical that all information is sent to the Office of the President so that it can be handled appropriately by our Chief Information Officer, Kelly Klubert. If you have information in this regard, please email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I ask that no emails go to faculty, staff, or student listservs without first clearing them through Kelly.
Today, I hope you will join me in celebrating the birthday of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, who is believed to have been born on this day in 1491. St. Ignatius remains a presence on our campus – through the residence hall named in his honor and in our continuous grounding in the Ignatian tradition.
Once again, I want to end this week by expressing my appreciation and admiration for the way this community has adapted to the challenges created by the pandemic. Thanks for all that you are doing for our students, for each other, and for the University. While much has changed in the past seven months, the sense of community, commitment to learning, and caring for one another, has remained the same. Let us all continue to pray for all those impacted by the Coronavirus and ask that God keep us all safe and healthy.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University