Update from the President
January 15, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
The Spring semester is here, and it is lovely to see our students attending classes, walking around campus, and competing in sports. The Return to Campus Testing went well as expected. I am amazed at how quickly we have adapted to such measures. I recognize our students will endure almost anything in order to return to their beloved university, to their friends, classes, and teams. Currently, we are waiting on COVID-19 test results for about 20 students and employees. Although we have had several positive cases, Andrew Lewis, Vice President of Student Services, and his team were prepared and acted quickly to conduct contact tracing. Those who needed to be quarantined are in quarantine.
Now that we seem to have our campus well situated, we are officially opening up our dining facilities, including the B-Room, the RATT, and Starbucks. We ask that students, faculty, and staff continue to socially distance in each of the facilities. Aladdin, Wheeling’s food service provider, has graciously agreed to convert all carried over mean plan swipes to Flex dollars, which will significantly benefit our students.
I am pleased to announce a new partnership between Wheeling University and WorkForce West Virginia. Wheeling University is now a training provider with WorkForce West Virginia. This state government agency, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, oversees a network of workforce development services designed to provide West Virginia’s residents with valuable education opportunities leading to new jobs and careers with local and regional employers. As a training provider through WorkForce West Virginia, Wheeling University connects and helps displaced, and unemployed workers gain high-performance education and skills needed by businesses and organizations. Wheeling University stands out as a WorkForce training provider by offering such sought-after courses and certificates in Construction Management, Healthcare Management, Sales and Salesforce Training, Geographic Information Systems, Integrated Marketing Management, Tourism, and Hospitality Management, Pastoral Ministry, Medical Terminology, and IT coding, Analytics and Database Management. Workforce programs help students quickly gain critical skills that lead to high-paying jobs in essential and emerging industries. I find great pride in faculty who continually develop new innovative ways to prepare students to enter the workforce.
Monday will be a different kind of Martin Luther King Day. Due to the annual march’s cancellation because of the pandemic, Fr. Hadi Sasmita, S.J., who serves as the Co-Chair of the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee along with Co-Chair Ron Scott, Jr., YWCA Cultural Diversity Director, members of the Wheeling community and Wheeling University staff, and students have worked diligently to put together a digital program that will celebrate the life and legacy of King. The virtual compilation of video presentations from the lay and religious community will honor one of history’s most influential leaders with readings, prayer, and reflection and call to honor Martin King Jr.’s challenge to live in truth and love and justice. You can watch the video starting Sunday on the University’s YouTube channel and the MLK Committee’s Facebook page. Additionally, Coach Mike Llanas, who serves as a committee member, has partnered with Belmont College to share a Martin Luther King display housed in the McDonough Center for students and staff. Though we can’t gather in person, we were determined to bring our communities together and create a space for celebration and reflection. Additionally, Wheeling University athletes are supporting the Unity pledge, which was inspired by the challenges of COVID-19 and the social injustice that our country has experienced. The patch serves as a visual representation of the pledge with three different skin tone hands, holding one another’s wrist inside a circle with the words “United As One.”
It has been a true joy to see the return of our students. We have all fallen into a good routine, and I am confident we will continue to keep one another safe and healthy by following COVID guidelines. Earlier today, I had the good fortune of joining the Student Government Association members for our bi-weekly coffee meetings. We worked on defining their goals and plans for the Spring semester, including Leadership Training featuring Wheeling Councilwoman and WJU Alum Rosemary Ketchum, Homecoming Week, a Mr. and Miss Wheeling competition based on volunteer hours, and a student-run newspaper. Regardless of the pandemic, I believe there is a bright future ahead, and we have a great deal to look forward to in 2021. Let us use the lessons and skills we learned this past year to advance our University to greater heights.
Please keep Wheeling University and our students, faculty, and staff in your prayers as we get the semester underway. Thank you for your continued generosity and support of this amazing university.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University