Wheeling Jesuit University Sees Largest Incoming Class

Photo Provided Students gather Friday at Wheeling Jesuit University for the New Cardinal Days Celebration. Activities included an opening convocation.

Wheeling Jesuit University’s new president welcomed Friday the largest freshman class in the university’s history.

“Today is a most exciting day for all of us at Wheeling Jesuit University,” said Michael P. Mihalyo Jr. “We had the great pleasure of welcoming more than 350 new students to campus. The entering class of 2018 is made up of students from 25 states and 15 countries — representing a diverse cross section of students from across the country and the world.”

Sean Doyle, vice president of enrollment and marketing, said the university’s new approach accounted for a 73 percent increase in overall enrollment for the incoming fall semester.

“Our team made a concerted effort to personally communicate that every WJU student receives incredible support to succeed inside and outside of the classroom and that their instruction, rooted in the 500-year Jesuit education tradition, is focused on academic excellence, as well as personal and spiritual growth,” said Doyle. “Our incoming class has an average GPA of 3.4 and average ACT score of 22 — reinforcing Wheeling Jesuit University’s strong commitment to recruit talented students who will excel at our university.”

Doyle said he believes the creation of the Fr. Clifford Lewis S.J. Scholars Program for commuters was a factor in his team’s recruiting success by tripling the number of WJU’s commuter population. The program provides students from 12 counties in three states the opportunity to commute to Wheeling Jesuit for $8,250 a year.

“The Lewis scholars program reinforces the university’s mission set forth when the school was founded by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Society of Jesus in 1954 — to provide students in Appalachia an affordable way to experience a Catholic, Jesuit education,” Doyle said.

Two academic programs, simulation technology and game design and exercise science, also are contributing factors in the jump in enrollment this fall.

In its second year, the exercise science program has seen an influx of students prompting an expansion and renovation of the department’s lab.

The launch of the Cardinal Football program, which welcomed more than 70 student-athletes, also has enthused the campus in anticipation of the team’s first home game Sept. 8, Doyle said.

“There is substantial excitement on campus and in the community surrounding the addition of the WJU football team this fall,” he said. “Head Coach Zach Bruney and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting a team of fine young men from across the region and the country to play in the inaugural season.”

Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States offering more than 30 undergraduate programs of study and five graduate degrees.