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Wheeling University Launches New Honor Society to Recognize First-Generation College Students

Wheeling, W.Va., Nov. 17 – Wheeling University is proud to announce the formation of its newest honor society, Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha), which recognizes the academic achievements of first-generation college students. With the establishment of Tri-Alpha, Wheeling becomes the first private institution in West Virginia to form a chapter, and it is one of only three in the state.

Tri-Alpha was founded in 2018 at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and today, more than 200 chapters exist on college and university campuses nationwide. The organization is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of first-generation college students, who often face unique challenges on their path to higher education.

“Wheeling University was founded on the principle of access and opportunity for all students, regardless of their background,” said President Ginny R. Favede, herself a first-generation college graduate. “The establishment of Tri-Alpha is a testament to our commitment to supporting and honoring first-generation students, who are essential to the diversity and vibrancy of our campus community.”

To qualify for induction into Tri-Alpha, students must have earned at least 48 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree, achieved an overall grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, and have neither parent, step-parent, nor legal guardian who has completed a bachelor’s degree. Faculty and staff can also qualify for induction if they meet the definition of a first-generation student and are willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.

“Tri-Alpha is more than just an honor society,” said Favede “It is a community of scholars and leaders who are committed to supporting each other and making a difference in the world. We are excited to welcome our first cohort of inductees in April 2024 and look forward to celebrating their many successes.”

The establishment of Tri-Alpha is a significant milestone for Wheeling University, as it reflects the institution’s deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Tri-Alpha will serve as a valuable resource for first-generation students, providing them with academic support, mentorship opportunities, and a sense of belonging.

In addition to its academic mission, Tri-Alpha is also committed to promoting social change. The organization recognizes that first-generation college students often face significant barriers to success, both in and out of the classroom. Tri-Alpha members are committed to dismantling these barriers and creating a more equitable educational system for all.

The establishment of Tri-Alpha at Wheeling University is a positive step forward for the institution and for the state of West Virginia as a whole. Wheeling’s Tri-Alpha chapter will play a vital role in recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of first-generation college students while also working to create a more equitable and inclusive educational system for all.

Wheeling proudly remains the only campus-based Catholic institution of higher education in West Virginia. According to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), Wheeling University is one of only 12 diocesan-sponsored universities in the United States. In addition to Wheeling, those other institutions include; Carroll College, Catholic Distance University, Donnelly College, Gannon University, Loras College, Mount St. Mary’s, Seton Hill University, St. Ambrose University, St. Thomas University, Thomas More University, University of Dallas, and the University of St. Thomas (M.N.).

PHOTO CAPTION: Wheeling’s newest honor society, Alpha Alpha Alpha, will honor and recognize the achievements of first generation college students. Wheeling’s chapter is one of only three in the state. Shown are four first generation students who attend Wheeling and may be eligible for induction in Alpha Alpha Alpha. From left are: Chyla Miller, Matthew Taiwo, Wyatt Rossiter and Ryleigh Peters.