History of WU


  • Aug. 13 - The NASA Teacher Resource Center opened.


  • Wheeling Jesuit was designated as a host site for the Challenger Learning Center. 
  • Jan. 9 - The college was accepted as a member of NCAA Division II. 
  • May 1 - The college began a $40 million capital campaign called "Summit 2000." 
  • Dec. 12 - Alma Grace McDonough of Parkersburg, W.Va., made a $6 million unrestricted gift to the college. The money was used to build the McDonough Center, a 107,000-square-foot health and recreation complex.


  • April 13 - A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Alma Grace McDonough Center. 
  • May 4 - Alma Grace McDonough died at age 84. 
  • June - Charlie O. Erickson (1913-1993) donated $200,000 to establish the Erickson Alumni Center in the Alma Grace McDonough Center. 
  • October - The National Technology Transfer Center opened its 1-(800) gateway telephone number to access federal technology resources. 


  • April - The Alma Mater was revised to make it more "sing-able" and more current.
  • April - A $1.3 million addition was announced for the Benedum Room and Swint Hall. The new campus store, mailroom, switchboard and security offices are located beneath this addition. 
  • April - Trenching routes were set for the fiber optics network which enabled students to connect, through the use of a computer, to the campus library or any library across the country from their room. 
  • April 30 - The faculty approved a new bachelor's degree program in technology and a master's degree program in technology transfer. 
  • May 11 - A new bronze college seal that said "Wheeling Jesuit College" was unveiled at the main entrance. The gift was presented by the Class of 1993.
  • July 12 - Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the college's new $7.9 million, 276-bed residence hall (later named Ignatius Hall). 
  • August - The College added master's degree programs in nursing administration, physical therapy and technology transfer.
  • Sept. 3 - U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan and NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin attended the groundbreaking ceremonies for the construction of the $13.5 million Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center and the $10 million Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies. 
  • Sept. 3 - The new addition to the Benedum Room opened for students.
  • Sept. 25 - A ribbon cutting was held for the new campus bookstore; part of the Swint Hall addition project.
  • Nov. 1 - The Alma Grace McDonough Center opened for use.
  • Nov. 22 - The college announced the formation of men's and women's swimming and track teams for academic year 1994-95. 
  • Nov. 26 - Inaugural men's basketball game was held in the new Alma Grace McDonough Center. Wheeling Jesuit beat John Carroll University 98-94.


  • February - The university announced the NASA Classroom of the Future, was named for West Virginia Congressman Rep. Alan B. Mollohan.
  • Feb. 16 - The Lady Cardinals basketball team clinched its first WVIAC regular season title. The team compiled a 20-4 regular season record, and senior Kathy Long was a first-team all-conference selection. Wheeling Jesuit also won the conference tournament, with Long voted tournament MVP. 
  • March 10-14 - The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed in the McDonough Center. 
  • March 10 - Wheeling Jesuit received one of five Proud of Wheeling (POW!) awards at the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce's 1994 annual meeting. 
  • May 19 - Board of Directors named Rev. Joseph A. Burke, S.J. as first Chancellor of Wheeling Jesuit.
  • Aug. 18 - Ignatius Hall, an eight-story dormitory was opened. 
  • Sept. 1 - The Alma Grace McDonough Center was dedicated. Pittsburgh Mayor Thomas Murphy was the featured speaker. 
  • Sept. 22 - The Challenger Learning Center marked its first flight with more than 30 college employees on board. 
  • Oct. 25 - Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Rep. Alan B. Mollohan dedicated the Center for Educational Technologies building. 
  • Oct. 29 - The WJU swim team hosted its first meet in the McDonough Center pool.


  • Jan. 9 - The new doctoral in physical therapy program made its debut.
  • Jan. 14 - Men's basketball coach Jay DeFrusico became the winningest basketball coach at Wheeling Jesuit, breaking the old record of 128 career wins.
  • May - The Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center was completed and opened.
  • Nov. 28 - Wheeling Jesuit began theater renovations. The new theater cost approximately $900,000. 
  • December - First-ever winter commencement was held.


  • April - The Spokesman, WJU's student newspaper, announced it will change its name beginning with the 1997-98 academic year.
  • May 24 - Board of Directors voted to change the college name to "Wheeling Jesuit University."
  • June - Construction of an Olympic style track began at WJU. The ground for the new track was broken early in the month. The track surface was similar to the one constructed for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. The $1 million project, included grandstands and a press box. 
  • June 30 - Long-time Registrar Kitty McCready retired from WJU. McCready had been registrar since 1972.
  • July 1 - The Ohio County Board of Education authorized the sale of the Steenrod School to Wheeling Jesuit. WJU bought the school for $66,000
  • July 18 - Wheeling Jesuit College officially became "Wheeling Jesuit University."
  • August - President Acker announced that the fall 1996 enrollment of 1,527 was the highest in the school's history.
  • Sept. 20 - It was announced that West Virginia Girls State would end its 55-year run at Jackson's Mill and head to Wheeling Jesuit in the summer of 1997.
  • November - An announcement was made that the future grandstand at the new track facility would be named after Bill Van Horne, a dedicated former sports writer/editor for the Wheeling News-Register.


  • Jan. 20 - The first Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration took place on the WJU campus.
  • February - Dr. Michael Joseph gave WJU $27,000 to construct the press box at the new outdoor track in memory of his wife, Lenore.
  • May - The William and Mary Alyce Cafaro Student Center was added to Swint Hall. The addition included the expansion of the Ratt, the game room and additional student activity and theater lobby space. Additional construction included the expansion of Sara Tracy parking lot. The total cost of the renovations was $1 million. 
  • June 7 - West Virginia Girls State began to hold its annual gathering at WJU, after a 55-year run at Jackson's Mill.
  • Sept. 8 - U.S. News & World Report, listed Wheeling Jesuit University fourth in its Best Values ranking for Southern Regional Universities.
  • Oct. 16 - With the flip of a switch by U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the National Technology Transfer Center's $13.5 million headquarters and service facility was officially dedicated. At theappointed moment of dedication, a gold covering dropped from the glass and brick building's exterior name plate to reveal its official lettering--the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center. Byrd was joined at the dedication by U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia Gov. Cecil H. Underwood, Edward Heffernan, acting associate administrator of NASA, and Wheeling Jesuit President Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J. More than 1,300 Wheeling Jesuit students, faculty, staff, and visitors from the Wheeling community attended the dedication at Emily LaRosa Field. The event also was streamed live to the Internet.
  • December - The Board of Directors approved a 30,000-square-foot addition to Sara Tracy Hall which added 64 beds on campus and a new admissions center. (Later Named Philip & Evelyn Kirby Hall).


  • April 17 - The Rev. William F. Troy, S.J. Theater renovations were completed and the space was renamed in memory of Wheeling Jesuit's second president.
  • April 18 - William Cafaro, founder of the Cafaro Co. pledged $1 million to the university, just four days before his death.
  • May 1 - The university acquired a new bronze statue called "Bridges" which still sits on the east side of the Chapel of Mary and Joseph. 
  • July 21 - Sen. Robert C. Byrd announced a bill he introduced in Congress that would give WJU $2.5 million for a science center (Later named the Thomas S. Acker Science Center).
  • Summer - Called "New Hall" since it opened in 1994, Fr. Acker decided to officially name the eight-story dormitory "Ignatius Hall."
  • Aug. 21 - Fr. Acker announced the new addition to Swint Hall, called the "William & Alyce Cafaro Student Center."
  • Sept. 5 - The Bill Van Horne grandstands at the James LaRosa soccer & softball outdoor athletic complex were dedicated.
  • September - Athletic Director Jay DeFrusico announced that men's lacrosse and women's golf was added to the list of sports WJU offers. The sports began in the spring of 2000.
  • October - Work began for the new female residence hall (later named Kirby Hall). 
  • October - The U.S. Senate approved a $3 million bill that would go towards the construction of a $6 million science center that was to be constructed behind Donahue Hall.
  • Dec. 2 - WJU Benefactor Mary McShain died in Killarney, Ireland. The Chapel plaza was named the John & Mary McShain Plaza in 1987. 


  • Sketch drawing of Acker Science CenterMarch - The Lantz family deeded their 540-acre farm in Jacksonburg, W.Va. to the university. The value of the farm was $1 million. The barn and farmhouse were later renovated for retreats. 
  • Spring - Sports management was added as a degree program at WJU. 
  • June 9 - The Ohio County Commission approved a $4.5 million bond for WJU to renovate and do minor construction at the former Steenrod School for new student housing. 
  • Aug. 30 - U.S. News & World Report named Wheeling Jesuit University the 10th Best University in the south region for quality of education and 12th in Best Value. 
  • Mid-September - Sen. Robert C. Byrd announced that a second round of funding had been secured for the construction of a new $8.5 million computer and science center (Later named the Thomas S. Acker, S.J. Science Center).
  • Fall - The university announced that every student would be required to take fine arts-based courses as part of the core curriculum. The university formed a partnership with Oglebay Institute Stifel Fine Arts Center to offer the courses.
  • Dec. 9 - The Board of Directors announced that Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J. would become the sixth president of Wheeling Jesuit University the following year, succeeding Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J. who would step down.