Update from the President
Dear Wheeling Community,
This week I shared the news with employees, students, parents, and alumni of our change in status by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) from “accredited” to “accredited – on probation.” To be clear, the University remains fully accredited. This probationary period allows us an opportunity to address the concerns raised by the HLC and work quickly and decisively to have the sanction lifted. Joshua 1:9 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Our Catholic mission calls us to reflect on our work and continuously seek ways to enhance our programs. Former First Lady Michele Obama’s words come to mind – “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.” This is our time to be strong AND powerful — lifting each other up while we work together to make our University better.
Wheeling’s Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) launched last year to provide transformative leadership training to managers at Wheeling Hospital will continue with a cohort this Spring and another in the Fall. Ten Wheeling Hospital employees attended the Academy on our campus last the Fall, where they broadened and strengthened their leadership skills. Additionally, those participating in the HLA learned to increase personal and professional performance, act as a team to optimize organizational efficiency, responsiveness, and accountability, and work together to continually improve patient care at the hospital.
Our student-athletes continue to excel in Spring sports. Senior Volleyball libero, Audrey Francis, broke the Mountain East Conference career digs record during the March 6 match at Notre Dame. Congratulations to Audrey on this remarkable achievement, and I wish the Lady Cards much luck in their MEC Tournament Game tonight against West Virginia State. You can watch the Lady Cards online at 7:30 p.m. this evening. I would also like to congratulate Rugby Coach Mike Geibel whose team posted two wins over Alderson Broaddus last week. On Friday, he held a kick-off dinner where he handed out the squad’s new uniforms. Coach Giebel understands the rich history Rugby has with our alumni, and he is working hand-in-hand with this group on a special fundraising effort – which I will share in greater detail soon. I hope the team continues its winning streak tomorrow when they play Franciscan University here on Bishop Schmitt Field.
Alumni, don’t forget to register for the All-School Virtual Reunion scheduled for April 16-18. Be one of the first 500 alumni to register and receive a commemorative Wheeling University pint glass to toast our alumni award recipients and the Classes of 70 & 71! To register, send your name, preferred mailing, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, take a moment and email us your fondest memory of your time at Wheeling. Your memories will be collected and placed in a memory book that will be viewable on the University website. Visit the website for more details. I look forward to seeing everyone at the reunion!
Recently, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice relaxed indoor dining restrictions as long as social distancing can be maintained. The Governor also increased the number allowed at gatherings for social purposes to 100 people. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control released new guidance for fully vaccinated people. Our COVID-19 Committee will review these recent changes and consult the local health department before determining whether the University can increase the Benedum Room seating capacity and relax any other protocols based on the latest CDC guidance.
On Monday, I received a link to “The Gentlemen of Maryland,” a video that offers a historical glimpse into the Maryland Province’s Jesuits. Our own Fr. Jim O’Brien, S.J. and Fr. Ron Anton, S.J. ’70 are featured in this wonderful production. Fr. O’Brien offered a poignant observation on how the Society of Jesus can keep its spiritual vision alive at a Jesuit Institution with fewer Jesuits. He said, “One of the pieces that will make this happen is the discernment that Pope Francis makes so clear … It’s a time when people may say “what a fearful time … but what an opportunity!”
What a powerful message that certainly applies to the happenings of the past week. We should follow his advice — practice discernment, ask God for guidance, and not view the path that lies ahead with fear but welcome it as an opportunity to grow.
With prayer and gratitude,
Ginny R. Favede, President