History of WU Troy Theater Restoration


William Francis Troy was born on April 8, 1920, in Reading, Pennsylvania, and entered the Society of Jesus on August 14, 1937 at the age of 17. After receiving a Bachelors degree from Georgetown University, he attended Woodstock College where he earned a Master of Arts in teaching. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in Woodstock, Maryland, on June 18, 1950. His first post as Jesuit was at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. where he served as headmaster.

Father Troy came to Wheeling in 1955, beginning his dedicated involvement to the community. That year, he served as the first dean of faculty at Wheeling College. Then, in 1959, he became the second president of the College and served until 1966. Troy quickly gained the reputation of a being direct and informal man. He would join students in sing-alongs and games of charades; he would drive himself around campus in a noisy, rusted-out maintenance truck; and he encouraged students to drop by his office to converse with him on a regular basis.

During his time as president of the College, Father Troy oversaw the building of the first two dormitories (McHugh and Sara Tracy), and, later, three small student residences. Under his leadership, the College first received accreditation without reservation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities, summer school classes were first begun, and the construction of the gymnasium was completed. Shortly before his departure from the College, Tory also announced a $5 million expansion program, intended to provide funds for a library, campus center, theater, and two additional residence halls. Perhaps Troy's most significant contribution to the College may have been his dedication to liberal arts objectives within a very strong collegial setting.

While residing in the Wheeling area, he also served as president of the Wheeling Area Conference on Community Development and Oglebay Institute. Additionally, he was on the board of the Iroquois Council of Boy Scouts, United Fund, and Community Chest of Wheeling.

On the state level, he was the vice-president of the West Virginia Association of Colleges and University Presidents and of the West Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. Fr. Troy was also a sportsman and served as the President of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Wheeling Area Conference.

Troy left Wheeling in 1966 to work in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Jesuit order’s regional headquarters. At the Baltimore headquarters, he directed the career preparations and graduate studies of 300 to 400 young Jesuits.

Troy passed away on November 14, 1967 at the Gonzaga Villa in Cape May, New Jersey. He was 47 years old at the time of his death. He was remembered by his successor, Fr. Frank R. Haig, S.J., who said, "I suppose one could say Fr. Troy was first of all a priest, a religious leader, who felt his job was to advance the development of Wheeling. Most of all, he was considerate, kind and gentle. We will miss him." 

Information compiled from:

  • The Wheeling Intelligencer, November 15, 1967
  • "Wheeling Jesuit University Presidential Inauguration" by Paul Orr 
  • Wheeling Jesuit University Website (www.wju.edu)