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PAGE 2  50 YEAR CLUB NEWSLETTER                        VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2

        Message from our President Father Jim Fleming

We are happy to have the WJU 50 Year Club members back on campus for alumni weekend! It is an honor for me
to be included in your yearly celebration. I am particularly interested in watching the entertainment Friday night.
Thanks to the Senior Ambassadors who have contributed over $500,000 to Drive 365 this year.

The Catholic Jesuit mission of the University has, I propose to you, never been stronger or clearer. The mission is
present in what our students and faculty do, the University’s way of proceeding, and who our graduates become.
Our students are known for their willingness to involve themselves in community service activities, the extent to
which they engage in research with faculty, and their regular practice of intellectually informed serious conversa-
tions about important topics in a moral context. Although it may go without saying, it is the culture on campus cre-
ated by our dedicated faculty that establishes this way of proceeding. Wheeling Jesuit continues to provide an ex-
cellent educational experience to students who would otherwise not be able to afford it. None of this is news, I’m
sure, to our alumni…and that’s the point – our alumni who graduated from classes that cross over two millennia
are the best evidence of the success of the University’s Catholic Jesuit mission.

There is nothing more gratifying than to hear that we have – year after year – the highest graduation rate in West
Virginia. (in the top 15% of the country). The four-year undergraduate liberal arts and sciences experience is sec-
ond to none. The ability of our graduates to be accepted into medical school is impressive. The University has the
capacity to generate hundreds of healthcare professionals: physical therapists, nurses, athletic trainers, etc. Our
graduates are women and men of conscience, competence, and compassion.

The time in which liberal arts private universities with small endowments can go it alone has passed. The key to
sustainability is strategic partnerships. Many of these partnerships are natural and already exist. Others need to be
established, including partnerships with local businesses, other educational institutions, social service groups,
health providers, and the Catholic Church here in West Virginia. In the past year we established a Business Advi-
sory Council designed to advance the undergraduate and graduate education of students by engaging in conversa-
tions with administrators and faculty about emerging issues in various fields of practice, career development oppor-
tunities, innovative curricular and co-curricular programming. We have also established a groundbreaking new pro-
gram called “Jesuit STRONG” that will give high-achieving, urban youth, who might not have the opportunity oth-
erwise, an affordable way to receive a Catholic Jesuit education at WJU. The program is inspired by the success of
the Cristo Rey High Schools - a network of 30 Catholic prep schools across the U.S., that provide a private educa-
tion to more than 10,000 under represented urban youth each year. Our expanding partnership with Wheeling Hos-
pital is a symbiotic one and will yield results that neither institution can achieve on its own. This partnership builds
on our strengths and will add multiple options to our academic programs. Our partnership with the Catholic Dio-
cese of Wheeling-Charleston was integral to the establishment of the University and is just as important to our cur-
rent success. The two institutions – the Diocese and the University – share a common mission in a shared place.

Through the insights and many stories shared by our alumni – especially those from the first 15 years – I have
come to understand the importance of being a mission focused institution open to multiple forms of partnerships
that grow from and grow our greatest strengths.
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