W.Va. Governor Justice Urges Support for Wheeling University

WHEELING — Governor Jim Justice issued a brief letter to the W.Va. Higher Education Policy Commision, asking the body’s support in ensuring Wheeling University’s survival through the school year.

In a letter sent to WVHEPC interim chancellor Sarah Tucker, Justice said he was happy to see that the Catholic Diocese of West Virginia was taking steps to stabilize the fiscally-challenged institution. Most recently, the diocese made a donation of $2 million on Aug. 2 to stabilize the university’s finances while it sought out additional funding sources. Justice said he had directed his staff to work with university Board Chair Ginny Favede and its management team to evaluate the university’s future and ensure that students can finish their degrees.

“I encourage you and your staff to do everything in your power to ensure that Wheeling University opens on schedule this year and is able to remain in operation for the sake of their students and the community they serve,” Justice wrote to Tucker, asking her to advise him on any future developments as they unfold. Wheeling University, until recently known as Wheeling Jesuit University, declared a state of ‘fiscal exigency’ in March, with then-president Michael Mihalyo citing a growing gap between dwindling enrollment and academic and athletic costs, as well as operational expenses.

Mihalyo, as well as Senior Vice President Joseph Petrella was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 2.

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