Apply Visit Deposit Give

Latest News

Wheeling University to Recognize Alumni During Annual Reunion in June

WHEELING, W.Va., June 3 – Wheeling University will recognize alumni for their achievements in business and in service to the institution during its annual Alumni Recognition and Awards Dinner in June.

The awards will be presented as part of the University’s annual Alumni Weekend, a time when alumni return to campus to celebrate with classmates and reconnect with their alma mater. The Alumni Recognition and Awards Dinner is at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 21, inside Troy Theater.

“The University community looks forward to welcoming alumni back to campus to reconnect with their friends, classmates and faculty,” said University Chief Operations Officer Dianna Vargo, Ed.D. “We are excited to present these awards and to thank our graduates for the impact they are making at our university and in their communities.”

Wheeling University presents the St. Ignatius Distinguished Alumni Award to a graduate who exemplifies the ideals of extraordinary competence and personal compassion in their chosen field. John ‘Goose’ Giese, class of 1974, will the receive the award this year for his outstanding career in business. After graduating, Giese began his career as a teacher at a Wheeling area Catholic elementary school, where he excelled both in the classroom and as a basketball coach. He went onto a successful career as a salesman. Giese honed his business talents, which ultimately earned him the position of National Sales Director for John Middleton, Inc., and later he became the vice president of Sales for STG, an international company headquartered in Denmark. Following retirement, Giese opened his own business and is now the CEO of Goose Enterprises, which operates Goose’s Montecristo Lounge in Limerick, Pennsylvania.

The Rev. Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Award is the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association. It honors extraordinary service and dedication to Wheeling University in the spirit of Father Lewis. This year, the Lewis Award will be given to a group of men, The Friends of Wheeling Rugby, for their support and promotion of the University’s rugby team. This organizational group is made up of Bill Barrett, Mark Fagert, Michael Gormley, Patrick McGrane, Jim Osborne, William Prunka, Tom Roddy, and Jonathan Triandafilou. Since 2021, the Friends of Wheeling Rugby has raised more than $50,000 to help the program. The group also keeps rugby alumni connected by hosting events at games and sending out updates about the current team.

The final award to be given is the Rev. James O’Brien, S.J. Award which recognizes young alumni who manifest a growing competence in their chosen field and whose personal life reflects Wheeling’s mission of ‘education men and women for life, leadership and service.’ This year’s O’Brien Award will be presented to Valerie (Grimes) Piko, class of 2009. Piko lives a life of service in her professional life. She is the Program Development Manager at the Regional Development Partnership (RED) in Wheeling, where she has merged her commitment to community service with her profession.

Wheeling University’s Alumni Weekend kicks off on Friday, June 21, and ends on Sunday, June 23. The weekend is filled with events and activities that celebrate graduates and the University. Highlighting this year’s reunion is the induction of class of 1974 into the 50 Year Club. The classes of 1959, 1964 and 1999 will be honored. The event is open to all alumni. To learn more about Alumni Weekend or to make reservations, go to or email