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Five Alumni to Receive Awards During Wheeling University’s Virtual Reunion

WHEELING, W.Va., April 5, 2021 – Five alumni will be recognized for contributions made to their profession, society or to Wheeling University during the 2021 Virtual All-School Reunion set for April 16-18. 

“On Friday, April 16, alumni from across the country will gather online to honor this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumni, Lewis, Magis and O’Brien awards. Following the cancellation of last year’s reunion, the Alumni Council and the University made a pledge to host an event this year. I look forward to toasting these five individuals when we gather virtually,” said Ginny R. Favede, president of Wheeling University. 

President Favede will bestow the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards, which are given annually by the University to individuals for their contributions at work and in service to others, during the Friday night virtual celebration. 

The St. Ignatius Loyola Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a graduate who exemplifies the Jesuit ideals of extraordinary competence and personal compassion in one’s chosen profession. This year’s recipient is Tom Bechtel, class of 1973, former recreation director in Wheeling, for his dedication to the city and the youth in community. His long, faithful service exemplifies the Jesuit ideals of extraordinary competence and personal compassion in his chosen field. He is a shining example of the ideals for which alumni of Wheeling have long been known. 

The Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Kathleen Carrigan Hill, class of 1984. The award recognizes a graduate who embodies the ideals of Ignatian spirituality and someone who is living a life committed to serving others. Carrigan Hill has dedicated her professional life to helping children and families in need. She currently serves as the liaison between Child Welfare and Juvenile Probation for Allegheny County, Pa. Her service to the children in the county is evident in a training program she helped develop to ensure that children receiving services from Child Welfare and Juvenile Probation do not fall through the cracks. She coordinates with Juvenile Court, caseworkers and 

probation officers to handle conflicts and ensure a smooth delivery of services to these children and their families. 

The Alumni Council will present the Rev. Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Award, the highest honor presented by the alumni association, to a founding member of the 50 Year Club, Walter “Al” Reed, class of 1960.The award recognizes extraordinary service, contribution and dedication to Wheeling University in the spirit of one of the university’s founding Jesuits, Fr. Lewis. His research laid the groundwork for the creation Club which was established 10 years ago. Reed created the induction ceremony that is used each year to recognize the 50th anniversary classes and induct them into the 50 Year Club. In addition, Reed works tirelessly with fellow Senior Ambassadors to provide financial support to his alma mater. 

The 2021 Magis Award will be given to Edward Shahady, M.D., class of 1960.This award recognizes individuals who act in the Ignatian spirit of Magis – of doing more and giving more to others. It is given in light of an individual’s hidden, faithful service to the University and its people. Dr. Shahady is described by this friends and classmates a being a true ‘person for others.’ A dedicated physician who remains active in his profession, he has given of his ‘time, talent and treasure’ serving as an outspoken advocate for Wheeling University in efforts of fundraising, alumni relations and service on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Shahady is a co-founder of the 50 Year Club and his idea for Senior Ambassador program, which is composed of alumni from the first 15 classes, has help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the University. 

The Rev. James O’Brien, S.J. Award, which recognizes young alumni who manifest a growing competence and personal compassion in ones chosen field, and who exhibit strength and promise in areas reflecting the mission. This year, Jonathan Proto, Ph.D., class of 2008, will receive the honor. He is a Principal Scientist at Sanofi, a global biopharmaceutical company. Dr. Proto’s laboratory, located just outside of Boston, endeavors to develop effective treatments for neurological diseases with a high unmet medical need, including progressive multiple sclerosis, dementia, and ALS. Proto lives out the University mission through volunteering, mentoring, and fundraising for human disease research and patient advocacy groups. 

The University has a number of events planned for the 2021 Virtual All-School Reunion. Friday evening the classes of 1970 and 1971, who will be celebrating their Golden Anniversary, will be honored. Due to the pandemic, last year’s reunion was cancelled, and the class of 1970 was not recognized. 

To date, more than 200 alumni of all ages have registered for the 2021 reunion. For more information or to register, visit