What’s the plan at Wheeling U? | News, Sports, Jobs
On Thursday May 27th, I attended the West Virginia Black Bears baseball game against the Frederick (Md.) Keys. Before the first pitch, a father, with his five very wise boys, sat in the row in front of my wife and I.
As expected from whoever kissed Blarney’s Stone twice, we struck up a conversation. The gentleman indicated that he graduated from the University of Virginia with a doctorate. in Theology from the Catholic University. He is professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmittsburg, Maryland.
When asked and answered that I was a graduate of Wheeling (University), his reaction was immediate and emphatic: “They are no longer Jesuits.
What a public disgrace.
It has been two years now that “The problems” emerged. It may be true that this administration did not create the crash. However, this administration did nothing to my knowledge to develop a meaningful plan to restore the glamor and pride that once existed with the small Jesuit mixed liberal arts college on the banks of the Ohio River.
During this period, I have seen a barrage of e-mail epistles from the school principal – I refrain from using the nickname college president – that report variations of the virus, touting the thrill of slippery and slippery kickball and the “peddling” of beautification benches for a campus owned by Diocesan Real Estate Inc. and not by the original intended beneficiary.
For comparison, let’s look at the survival success of Sweet Briar College. On the verge of closing, the elders have come together to save the school. Rather than shutting down, they are now running full-page color photo ads for their engineering program in Washingtonian Magazine.
My alma mater is involved in two major litigation proceedings, each tainted with misconduct. The school was placed on probation. These – along with the return of the Jesuits – must be the focus of this administration’s efforts, not slipping and sliding off the kickball.
My alma mater did not engage its alumni with a meaningful purpose during this time of decline. This is not the time for the Zoom reunion of the elders, with souvenir pint glasses. It is time to organize an alumni convention in person if the institution – as it was founded – is to be restored.
Alumni would be a primary source for the institution’s restoration and future success. Have they forgotten that these individuals are the brightest and the best… because they were educated by the Jesuits!
It is clear that the former students have been abandoned in this area of transition. The last alumni directory bears the publication date of 2008.
There are several very fundamental questions that will reveal whether the institution – as it was intended – will be restored.
– What is the plan for the rapid return of Jesuit affiliation and the revival of a university-quality liberal arts education program?
– What is the number of inherited admissions – ie sons and daughters, nieces and nephews – from alumni?
– What is the balance owing on the endowment loan? What are the means and the repayment schedule of the loan?
– What percentage of alumni donate to the existing program?
– What is the average size of these donations?
– What is the plan for soliciting and obtaining corporate, philanthropic and research grants?
– Are you commercializing the research / services that the university can provide?
The answers to these fundamental questions will reveal a lot.
A former official of the institution – not a Jesuit – mentioned that there was something to be gained by “growth” local hospital nurses. No, nice sir, we grow fruits and vegetables; you educate individuals – in the Jesuit tradition – for a lifelong vocation in the service of others. Isn’t this the founding principle of the institution?
Recently, I had the pleasant experience of hosting the traveling men’s golf team for 18 holes and a sport pub style meal after the game. These gentlemen, under the leadership of their coach Joe Key, were gracious ambassadors of the institution. My heart aches for these students due to the limited, unaffiliated educational program behind them. These people deserve so much more, so much better. This administration is simply not delivering!
I will regard the education I received at Wheeling, then a Jesuit college, as a blessing. My experiences have been many and varied; my long-lasting and deeply cherished friendships. What is happening now is unfortunately an embarrassment.
William Francois Xavier Becker
Wheeling Jesuit College, Class of 1972