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History of WJU


Wheeling Jesuit University (then Wheeling College) was founded in partnership between the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Society of Jesus of the Maryland Province in 1954. Wheeling Jesuit, the youngest of the nation's 28 Jesuit institutions, incorporated as Wheeling College on Sept. 25, 1954. Workers laid the cornerstone for Donahue Hall on Nov. 21, 1954. The College, staffed by 12 Jesuits and four lay professors, opened its doors to the first class of 90 freshmen on Sept. 26, 1955. Formal dedication ceremonies for Wheeling College were held on October 23, 1955 with more than 2,000 people in attendance. Archbishop John J. Swint turned over the deed to all college properties and buildings to the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on February 11, 1957. Wheeling Jesuit University is the only Catholic institution of higher learning in West Virginia, and has a special educational focus to seek and find God in all, in chapel and classroom, in liturgy and laboratory.

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