WHEELING, W.Va., May 23, 2017 - Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) today announced that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, through the generosity of Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, has acted to help stabilize the financial operations of the University.
As West Virginia's only Catholic institution of higher learning, Wheeling Jesuit University has a special responsibility to offer a Jesuit education in the state and the region. In recent years, WJU, like many small universities, both public and private, has experienced a series of financial challenges. Earlier this year, WJU's Trustees appealed to the Diocese to take action to help secure its long-term future and lower its operating costs.
Specifically, the University was challenged by its long-term debt, and determined that the annual payments were more than it could sustain. Bishop Bransfield and the Diocese responded by redeeming WJU's bonds.
In exchange for the bond redemption, the Diocese will purchase all of the University's property, which it originally gifted to the University in 1952. This action will allow the University's administration to focus on strengthening operations and building a sustainable financial model. The property will be leased back to the University at a nominal rate. The Diocese will have no ongoing responsibility for the operation of the University.
This commitment will enable WJU to modify its cost structure with the goal of achieving a balanced budget. Under the leadership of President Dr. Debra Townsley, the University will now embark on a new strategy to reimagine, realign, and renew the future of Jesuit education that began with the support of the Diocese more than 60 years ago.
“We are ever grateful for the generosity of the Diocese and Bishop Bransfield to strengthen the future of Wheeling Jesuit University,” said Dr. Townsley. “WJU is an academic community that truly lives its mission of life, leadership and service while providing a high quality, affordable education for students in West Virginia and around the world.”