University Seal
Origins of WJU
Campus Map
Historical List of University Personnel
Historical Milestones



Officially incorporated as Wheeling College on September 25, 1954, WJU is the youngest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S., and the first and only Catholic institute of higher education in West Virginia.

While Wheeling Jesuit University has been serving the needs of its constituencies for the past 58 years, the roots of our commitment and friendship with this region reach back to the 19th Century in the mission of the Catholic Church and, in particular, the Society of Jesus.

Having arrived in Maryland in 1634, the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order known for it schools and scholarship, was approached in 1846 by Bishop Richard Whelan who desired to establish a college in the Wheeling Diocese. A century later, through the generosity of Sara Tracy, the Diocese was able to act on Bishop Whelan's vision and purchase 60 acres of land from the Sisters of the Visitation, who operated the Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy until its closure in 2010.

With the land secured, Archbishop John J. Swint of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese requested and received assistance from the Maryland Province Jesuits. Archbishop Swint formally proposed Wheeling College on May 27, 1953, and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Most Reverend John Baptist Janssens, approved the request on July 4, 1953.

Rev. Clifford M. Lewis, S.J., the first Jesuit to reside in Wheeling, arrived in February 1953 as the "Educational Representative of the Maryland Province." Fr. Lewis, an educator, author, lecturer, historian and archeologist, also was largely responsible for raising the money to supplement Archbishop Swint's original benefaction to the college. The first faculty member, Fr. Lewis also served as archivist, as special assistant to the first four presidents, and as the first director of public relations, alumni relations and development. Fr. Lewis was first and foremost a "great simple man" who said "yes" to the call of God and dreamed of a campus that would, in his own words, "provide independent enlightenment to tomorrow's problems."

The groundbreaking ceremony occurred November 24, 1953, and construction of Swint Hall, Donahue Hall and Whelan Hall began a few months later. These initial three buildings grew from Sara Tracy's legacy left to Bishop Donahue. A Jesuit organizing committee set up a temporary college center in the former St. Michael's rectory and church on Edgington Lane. Reverend Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J., became the first President.


12th President - Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr.
Presidency: August 2018 - Present

Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr., D.M.A., became the 12th president of Wheeling Jesuit University in August 2018. He joins Wheeling Jesuit with a diverse background in higher education that spans more than 20 years. Most recently, Dr. Mihalyo served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Rockford University in Rockford, Illinois.

Dr. Mihalyo’s appointment returns him to the Ohio Valley. Prior to Rockford, Dr. Mihalyo was the president of the Kentucky-based Appalachian College Association as well as the president, chancellor, and provost at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. He also served as the vice president for academic affairs and as a faculty member at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.

Dr. Mihalyo also has familial ties to the University. His sister, Kimberly Mihalyo Abdalah, is a member of the class of 1995 and a member of the WJU Athletic Hall of Fame. Kimberly’s husband, Dr. Marvin Abdalah, M.D., is a member of the class of 1994 and a member of the WJU Athletic Hall of Fame. Dr. Mihalyo’s niece, Molly Metcalf, is also a member of the class of 2017.

Dr. Mihalyo earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in piano performance, from Duquesne University, and he holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from West Virginia University.

Past Presidents
Very Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J.
Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J.
Rev. William F. Troy, S.J.
Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J.
Rev. Frank R. Haig, S.J.
Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J.
Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J.
Richard A. Beyer
Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J.
Rev. James J. Fleming, S.J.
Dr. Debra Townsley
Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr.




Presidents Board of Directors - Chairs
1954-1959 Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J. 1971-1976 Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J
1959-1966 Rev. William F. Troy, S.J. 1976-1979 Thomas J. Whyte
1966-1972 Rev. Frank R. Haig, S.J. 1979-1980 Dr. Forrest Kirkpatrick
1972-1982 Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J. 1980-1982 Gill B. Frederick
1982-2000 Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J. 1982-1993 Donald H. Hofreuter, M.D.
2000-2003 Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J. 1993-1994 Philip C. Kirby (Interim)
2003-2006 Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. 1994-2000 Philip C. Kirby
2006-2007 Dr. James Birge (Interim) 2000-2003 Thomas Marchlen, Esq.
2007-2009 Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J. 2003-2008 Col. Carol A. Yarnall, USAF (Ret)
2009-2010 J. Davitt McAteer (Acting) 2008-2009 William G. Fisher, CPA
2010  Sr. Francis Marie Thrailkill (Interim) 2009-2013 Margaret "Mimie" Helm
2011-2013 Richard A. Beyer 2013-2015 Christopher Helmrath
2013-2017 Rev. James J. Fleming, S.J. 2015-2017 William Bresnahan, Esq.
2017-2018 Dr. Debra Townsley 2017-        Rev. Msgr. Kevin Quirk, J.C.D., '89
2018-        Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr.

Academic Deans Board of Trustees - Chairmen
1954-1959 Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J. 1971-1976 Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J
1955-1959 Rev. William F. Troy, S.J. 1954-1959 Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J.
1959-1961 Rev. Philip A. McGreevy, S.J. 1959-1966 Rev. William F. Troy, S.J.
1961-1963 Rev. John J. Schneider, S.J. 1966-1970 Rev. Frank R. Haig, S.J.
1963-1964 Rev. James F. Muldowney, S.J. 1970-1973 Rev. Hugh E. Dunn, S.J.
1964-1970 Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J. 1973-1976 Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J.
1970-1975 Dr. Thomas G. Wack 1976-1978 Rev. Thomas F. Gleeson, S.J.
1975-1977 Rev. John D. Cuddigan, S.J. 1978-1979 Rev. William B. Neenan, S.J.
1977-1980 Dr. Daniel A. Felicetti 1979-1983 Rev. Albert H. Jenemann, S.J.
1980-1986 Dr. Jeanne Kammer Neff 1983-1986 Rev. William C. McInnes, S.J.
1986-1987 Dr. Betty F. Thacker 1986-1990 Rev. James F. Salmon, S.J.
1987-1990 Dr. John J. McDonald 1990-2001 Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J.
1990-1997 Dr. Normand J. Paulhus 2001-2004 Rev. Joseph J. Hayden, S.J.
1997-1998 Dr. Richard C. Hirst 2004-2008 Rev. Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.
1998-1999 Dr. Debra B. Hull 2008-20??  Rev. Gerard Stockhausen, S.J.
1999-2005 Dr. Julianne Maher  
2005-2010 Dr. Letha Zook  
2010-2013 Dr. Stephen D. Stahl  
2014-2017 Dr. Robert J. Phillips
2018-        Jacquelyn Madry-Taylor

Registrars Head Librarians
1955-1959 Raymond E. Cawthorne 1954-1963 Josephine Savaro
1959-1962 John R. 1963-2001 Eileen Carpino
1962-1963 Rev. John J. Schneider, S.J. (Acting) 2001-2006 Barbi G. Lehn
1963-1964 Joseph G. Burns 2006-        Kelly L. Mummert
1964-1967 Charles E. Fye  
1967-1972 Thomas P. McCarthy  
1972-1996 Katherine L. McCready  
1996-2003 Brent A. Koerber  
2003         Misti M. Michael (Acting)  
2004-2009 Chad R. Carter  
2009-2011 Rick West  
2011-2015 Joy R. Cronin  
2015-        Wilson Turner



Year Event
1954 Founded by Bishop Swint of the Diocese of Wheeling and the Jesuit Fathers of the Maryland Province.
Certificate of Incorporation: September 25th.
1955 Chartered by the state of West Virginia.
Men and women admitted to first freshman class.
1959 First graduating class.
1962 Initial accreditation as a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
Inaugurated intercollegiate basketball, Wheeling College Cardinals.
1970 First lay Academic Dean.
1975 Adult Education Program/Evening Division established.
First clinical science programs approved.
1976 Bachelor of Science in Nursing program approved.
1978 Graduate business courses added; MBA program begun.
1981 Laut scholarship program begun.First competitive scholarship given by the College.
1983 English Language Institute begun.
1984 Master of Religious Education program started.
On December 15th, the first Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Hodges in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph.
1985 Bishop Francis B. Schulte dedicated the Chapel of Mary and Joseph on September 15th.
1988 Word "Jesuit" is added to make College name Wheeling Jesuit College.
1989 Physical Therapy program approved.
First Capital Campaign Complete: A Force for Excellence. Achieved: $10,000,000
1990 Federal funding approved through NASA for Classroom of the Future and the National Technology Transfer Center.
1993 Master programs established in Nursing Administration, Physical Therapy, and Commercialization and Technology Transfer.
Alma Grace McDonough Health and Recreation Center completed.
1994 New Mission Statement adopted by Board of Directors.
Completion of Ignatius Hall.
Completion of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies.
Center for Educational Technologies Dedicated.
1995 Completion of the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center.
1995 Federal funding approved by the National Institute of Justice for Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization.
1996 Name changed to Wheeling Jesuit University.
1997 Completion of running track, grandstand, press box, and field lighting.
Total renovation of Swint Hall completed.
Dedication of the Robert C. Byrd, National Technology Transfer Center and naming of the Erma Ora Byrd, Center for Educational Technologies.
1998 Dedication and naming of the Troy Theater for the second president, Father William F. Troy, S.J.
1999 Student Center in Swint Hall named for William and Alyce Cafaro.
Dedication of the outdoor athletic complex: James LaRosa softball and soccer field, the Bill Van Horne Grandstand, and the Mrs. Lenore Joseph Press Box.
Lantz Farm in Jacksonburg, West Virginia, for a retreat and nature preserve gifted to Wheeling Jesuit University.
2000 Philip and Evelyn Kirby Hall and John and Mary McShain Admissions Center Dedicated.
Phase II grandstands completed.
Steenrod Graduate Housing completed.
2001 Inauguration of Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J., Ph.D., sixth president of Wheeling Jesuit University.
2002 Dedication of the Thomas S. Acker, S.J., Science Center and the expansion of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies.
2003 Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., named seventh president of Wheeling Jesuit University.
2004 Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Wheeling Jesuit University.
2005 Accelerated Certification for Teaching Program established.
Community Alert Online initiated.
2006 Dedication of Hawk Auditorium.
2007 Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J., installed as eighth president of Wheeling Jesuit University
Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Program established.
2008 University's Charleston Center opens.
2011 Richard Allen Beyer named ninth and first lay president of Wheeling Jesuit University

Rev. James Fleming S.J. named tenth president of Wheeling Jesuit University
Mount de Chantal Conservatory of Music opens
Groundbreaking for the renovation of Bishop Schmitt Field

2014 Bishop Schmitt Field is dedicated
Cardinal Commons Housing complex opens on Washington Avenue
2016 Partnership in education announced between the University and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
2017 The Declaration of Shared Purpose is formalized for Wheeling Jesuit University with the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and the Jesuit Community at Wheeling Jesuit University.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston pays off the long-term debt of the university.
2018 Wheeling Jesuit announces the appointment of Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo, Jr. as its 12th President.