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Wheeling University May Update

Dear Wheeling University Community,

The 66th Wheeling University Commencement Ceremony was held on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Alumna Jennifer Hornyak, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, offered inspiring words to graduates and her personal memories of Wheeling University. Valedictorian Natalie Stoner challenged her classmates to live the mission and to be leaders. David Hendrickson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, extended words of wisdom to the graduates. During the ceremony, Dr. Kristine Grubler, Clinical Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, was given the Rev. Edward Gannon Outstanding Teaching Award. The commencement ceremony was preceded by a beautiful Baccalaureate Mass officiated by the Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, on Friday evening in Troy Theater.


Summer classes have begun and planning for the next academic year is ongoing.

Dr. Zahra Mohebbi, Business Department Chair, and Dr. Mohammad Hadadzadeh, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, attended a meeting from the STaR Division (Science, Technology, and Research) of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The focus was research development across West Virginia universities.

A trilogy of books on freedom and flourishing written by Dr. Ed Younkins, Professor of Business, has been reviewed by Winton Bates of You can read the entire review by clicking this link.


Admissions representatives have attended multiple high school award ceremonies to present incoming Wheeling University students with their scholarship awards.

The Admissions Office continues to process applications daily. An orientation day was held on Saturday, May 18, for students attending in Fall 2024. While the Admissions Office works to process applications, the Financial Aid Office is sending out aid packages and assisting families with their FAFSA forms.  


Alumni Weekend is less than a month away. Please make your reservations by MONDAY, JUNE 17. The entire schedule of events and online registration forms can be found by CLICKING HERE.

During the Alumni Recognition and Awards Dinner, the University will bestow three awards. The St. Ignatius Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates who exemplify the ideals of extraordinary competence and personal compassion in their chosen field, will be given to John (Goose) Giese, class of 1974. The Rev. James O’Brien Award, which honors young graduates, will be awarded to Valerie (Grimes) Piko, class of 2009. The Rev. Clifford Lewis Award, given to a group or person for their service to the University, will be presented to The Friends of Wheeling Rugby alumni group.


Prior to the start of Alumni Weekend, the Athletic Department will host a Golf Scramble benefitting our student-athletes. The scramble will start at 1 p.m., Thursday, June 20, at the Wheeling Country Club. The cost is $400 a foursome or $100 per golfer. The cost includes cocktails and dinner following the scramble. Click this link to make your reservations.If you arenota golfer and would like to support our student-athletes, please consider becoming a sponsor. To learn more about the scramble or sponsorship opportunities, contact Sports Information Director Zack Zeigler at or 304-243-2012.

During finals week, the campus community recognized the Men’s Rugby Team on its National Championship at the Collegiate Rugby Championship National 7’s. Our community gathered at Bishop Schmitt Field where Coach Mike Geibel and his players unveiled the National Championship trophy. We offer a special thanks to the Ziegenfelder Company for providing everyone who attended the pep rally with free popsicles. 

In May, Wheeling University added Women’s Acrobatics & Tumbling to its sports programs. Alexis Kelly was hired as the program’s first head coach. Coach Kelly served as an Assistant Coach at Emmanuel University for the 2023-2024 season. Additionally, Ken Pape was hired as the head coach of the new Women’s Rugby program. Coach Pape most recently served as Head Women’s Rugby Coach at Lander University. 

The Mountain East Conference announced postseason honors. Wheeling University baseball player, Braden Killens, earned Honorable Mention All-MEC honors. Additionally, four Track and Field athletes were crowned champions at the MEC meet in May. Capturing individual titles were: JayLynn McClarren, Women’s Javelin; Ka’niya McGowan, 100-Meter Dash; Joshua Boehm, 400-Meter; and Moses Koroma, 400-Meter Hurdles.


This summer, Sunday Masses will be held at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Members of the greater Wheeling community are welcome to celebrate Mass in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph. As a reminder, there are no daily Masses in the Summer.


The physical plant staff and housekeeping staff are preparing for Fall 2024. Residence halls are being cleaned and painted. Also, several academic classrooms and offices are moving to Acker Science Center and Donahue Hall.


The Student Affairs Office is teaming up with the Admissions Office to plan the New Student Orientation scheduled for June 10, 2024. The orientation will offer informational sessions about financial aid, student housing, and IT for both parents and students. 

The Wheeling University Activities and Event Office hosted the City of Wheeling Comprehensive Plan Meeting on Thursday, May 23, in Troy Theater. The City of Wheeling is currently working with business and community leaders to develop a new 10-year strategic plan. The meeting brought together people for discussions about how to continue Wheeling’s resurgence into the next decade. The University is pleased to be an integral part of this planning group. 

As we begin Memorial Day weekend, please note campus offices are closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day. During this long weekend, may each of us take time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I hope everyone will take time this weekend to reflect and honor those who served and those who continue to serve our great nation.

Once again, let me extend my heartfelt thanks for your support of Wheeling University.


Dianna M. Vargo, Ed.D.

Chief Operations Officer