Fleming Installed As New WJU President

WHEELING – Leading by example – and following the example being set by Pope Francis – is the key to success, Wheeling Jesuit University’s new president said during his induction mass Saturday.

The Rev. James Fleming made his remarks after being installed as the university’s 10th president during the ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Fleming officially took over the position July 1, replacing Richard Beyer. He previously served as executive vice president for the university, a position in which he oversaw university operations, worked on strategic leadership and program development and developed a strategic plan and master plan with new university initiatives.

Fleming told those assembled – which included university officials, faculty and his family – he was motivated by recent comments made by Pope Francis. Those comments called for the Catholic community to “refocus” on a number of topics. Fleming said while specific comments Francis has made on social issues have gained most of the attention, there is more to be learned.

“They’ve paid attention to certain parts, but they’ve missed a big part,” he said.

That part is a renewed focus on caring for the poor and helping those in need, Fleming said, and by committing to that focus, the church and university community will thrive.

“We are meant to do great things, ask important questions, dream big dreams,” he said. “We will push onward to higher goals.”

The induction mass was presided over by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and featured representatives from churches throughout the state. Also on hand was the Rev. Michael Sheeran of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, who acknowledged Fleming will have his work cut out for him.

“You are assuming the role at a challenging time for our church, our country and the university,” he said. “I challenge you to lead … and sustain the Catholic and Jesuit ideals.”

Wheeling Jesuit University Board of Trustees Member Christopher Helmrath thanked Fleming for taking the role, and reminded him to lead and live by the university motto.

“Let your light shine,” he told Fleming.