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Solid Leadership at Wheeling U

Editor, News-Register:

We wish to offer a response to the letter of our fellow alumnus and friend, William Becker, that was published in the June 24 edition of the paper.

Part of his message, both by implication and factual description, serves a useful purpose in laying out the great frustration, even anger, of many if not most of Wheeling University’s thousands of graduates. He right claims that, “our alma mater has not engaged its alumni with a meaningful purpose during this period of decline.” He’s right. It’s past time for the university to recognize the enormous potential of its alumni.

But Becker is seriously off base and out of touch with the realities of Wheeling University’s situation and the current challenges its administration is trying to address. For instance, (Becker) claims he hasn’t seen “the plans for the prompt return of the Jesuit affiliation.” Perhaps he should convey his concern to the newly appointed Jesuit Provincial or to the “owner” of the university, Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The Jesuit Provincial has not indicated his long-term plan, if any, to enhance the Jesuit presence at the university. But in authorizing a continuation of the current three-Jesuit team at Wheeling, he seems to approve of their present role at the university.

President Favede has frequently referred to the Jesuits’ “support” of the university. Recently she has taken a significant step toward “the revival of a university-quality liberal arts educational curriculum.” At her specific suggestion, one of the three Jesuits in situ will offer a three-credit course on Catholic Social Thought this coming semester.

Nearly all presidents of small liberal arts colleges and universities find themselves dealing with the many current problems bedeviling higher education. President Favede also faces a daunting set of challenges. Her situation is made more complex by the fact that two of her most important constituents, Bishop Brennan and the Jesuit Provincial, have their own sets of issues to address. Nevertheless, Bishop Brennan and the Jesuit Provincial continue to voice confidence and support for and in President Favede. Visible to all who take a close look at our struggling university is evidence that the president’s critical first responsibility is being met: Under her leadership, the university is not only surviving, but it is also slowly growing.

John Egan McAteer

Wheeling College, Class of 1961

Daniel Haller

Wheeling College, Class of 1961

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