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Wheeling University to Remember Former President During Mass on Thursday

WHEELING, W.Va., March 4 – Wheeling University will celebrate the life of former president Rev. Frank Haig, S.J. during a memorial Mass at 12:10 p.m., Thursday, March 14 in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph. Fr. Haig, who passed away on February 28 at the age of 95, was the third president of Wheeling University.

He served as leader of then Wheeling College from July 1966 to August 1972. Prior to serving as president at Wheeling, he was a member of the physics department at the University. He most recently was professor emeritus of physics at Loyola University Maryland.

The memorial Mass is open to all Wheeling students, faculty and alumni, said Dr. Dianna Vargo, interim chief operations officer at Wheeling University.

Fr. Haig had a long and storied career in higher education.

During his tenure at Wheeling, Fr. Haig established the first Faculty Council, providing faculty a formal channel with which to interact with the administration, and he approved the “open university” concept that allowed students to explore topics not covered in the college’s curriculum. Fr. Haig also recognized the importance of forming connections with people, businesses and other institutions in the Wheeling area, and accepted the challenges of creating these bonds. His leadership built many bridges that have served the college well during ensuing years.

Following his presidency at Wheeling, Fr. Haig moved to Baltimore, Md., to be a visiting fellow in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Physics. He joined the department of physics, engineering and computer science at Loyola College in Baltimore in 1972, and served as department chair during the 1980-81 academic year. In 1981, he became the president of Le Moyne College and served in that role until 1987, after which he rejoined the physics department at Loyola Baltimore.

Fr. Haig was born Sept. 11, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pa. Immediately after graduating from Lower Merion Senior High School, he entered the Jesuit order at Wernersville, Pa. He earned an A.B. from Woodstock College in Woodstock, Md., in 1952; a Ph.L. from Bellarmine College in Plattsburgh, N.Y., in 1953; and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Catholic University in 1959. He also earned an S.T.L. from Woodstock in 1961, the year he was ordained. Fr. Haig was the brother of Alexander M. Haig, who was a cabinet member in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.