History of WU


  • Jan. 7 - Graduate students move into the former Steenrod School Building - Wheeling Jesuit's new housing facility on Steenrod Avenue.
  • March - Jay DeFruscio returns to the coaching ranks as the Cardinals head basketball coach.
  • April 11 - The first ever student research symposium was held. About 60 students presented papers and projects in several fields of expertise. Awards were given to the top projects in 12 areas.
  • May - The Board of Directors and other honored guests recognized Rev. Thomas S. Acker for his 18 years of service to Wheeling Jesuit. At a reception, Acker, Board President Philip Kirby and past board president Dr. Donald Hofreuter were given the Clifford Lewis S.J. Award from the WJU Alumni Association. The three men were recognized for leading Wheeling Jesuit's resurgence.
  • May - Groundbreaking is held for the future Acker Science Center.
  • May 7 - Philip & Evelyn Kirby Hall, a female freshman residence hall is dedicated.
  • May 13 - United States Attorney General Janet Reno delivers the May Commencement address.
  • July 31 - Rev. Thomas S. Acker, S.J.'s presidency ends; Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J., Ph.D. becomes sixth president.
  • September - WJU's swimming ace Zoran Lazarovski, who represented his homeland of Macedonia, swam at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He swam in the 200m-butterfly event, setting a personal best time, but failed to qualify for the finals. Lazarovski was the first WJU athlete to compete in the Olympics.
  • Oct. 13 - Executive Vice President and CFO Carole T. Coleman and Director of Athletics Jay DeFruscio announced that women's fast pitch softball would return as a varsity sport in the spring of 2001. Melissa Frost, a former player and coach at Marshall University, was named head coach.
  • Oct. 28 - The campus community celebrated Rev. Walter Buckius and Rev. Joseph Burke's 60th anniversary as members of the Society of Jesus. The celebration was marked by a mass in the Chapel of Mary and Joseph and was followed by a dinner. Because of their dedication to WJU, the Buckius-Burke Scholarship has been named in their honor. The scholarship will benefit a third-year science or theology major in need of financial assistance.
  • Nov. 1 - The Wheeling Jesuit men's soccer team ranked number one nationally in the NCAA Division II polls for the week of Oct. 29. The team was the first ever in the universities history to receive the distinction.

Image of George Lundy6th President - Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J., Ph.D.
Presidency: July 31, 2000 - July 31, 2003

Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J. assumed duties as the sixth president of Wheeling Jesuit University on July 31, 2000. Lundy brought 30 years of professional experience in education to his new post.

Lundy, a Chicago native, joined the Society of Jesus at 19. He earned an A.B. in sociology from Loyola University of New Orleans. Lundy received a master of divinity degree from Loyola University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Chicago.

Before coming to Wheeling Jesuit, Lundy served as the academic vice president and provost of the University of Detroit Mercy from 1995 to July 2000. Lundy served in numerous positions, including acting president, interim vice president for academic affairs and senior vice president/dean of faculties. He also served as the director of the Loyola University, New Orleans Institute of Human Relations. During that time, Lundy taught courses with the Institute's Labor Studies Program.

Throughout his career, Fr. Lundy worked on a wide range of social issues form the death penalty to public policy on nutrition. He helped establish the Loyola (New Orleans) Death Penalty Resource Center, which led him to testify in numerous death penalty cases. His work appears in the book Dead Man Walking.

Lundy left WJU on July 31, 2003 to assume a position in the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesuit.

Lundy died of a stroke on Dec. 20, 2011 at age 64 in New Orleans. He is buried in St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.


  • March - Construction work begins on an addition to the second floor of the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies (CET) building.
  • March 16 - Rev. George F. Lundy, S.J. was inaugurated as sixth president in St. Joseph's Cathedral.
  • July - After 17 years of working in Washington D.C., Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., returns to his home state to serve as special assistant to President Lundy and rector of the WJU community.
  • September - U.S. News & World Report named Wheeling Jesuit the 12th best master's university in the south region.
  • October - Wheeling Jesuit University's psychology department received funding to establish a sleep lab to allow students and faculty to conduct in-depth research.
  • December - The portrait of Sara Tracy, benefactor to Wheeling Jesuit University was dedicated. The Online RN to MSN degree program was launched for nursing majors wishing to gain bachelors and graduate degrees.



  • January - The first campus Colloquium is held. The month long program featured events dealing with diversity issues.
  • Jan. 14 - The new Acker Science Center opens for the semester.
  • February - A $798,000 second floor addition was completed and opened on the Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies (CET) building.
  • April - More than 20 former softball coaches and players returned to Wheeling Jesuit to celebrate the resurrection of the varsity sport.
  • July - Parkhurst dining, a subdivision of Eat'n Park became WJU's new in-service dining caterer.
  • Aug. 28 - U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV1) joined former Wheeling Jesuit President Thomas S. Acker, S.J. to dedicate the new $8.5 million science center. The new center was named in honor of the former Wheeling Jesuit president.
  • December - The Challenger Learning Center dedicated its new office complex during a luncheon and ceremony.



  • Jan. 31 - The Higher Learning Commission of W.Va. approved a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) at Wheeling Jesuit.
  • Feb. 24 - Country music star Charley Pride appeared on Wheel of Fortune. The long time benefactor to the University won $10,000 and donated half to Wheeling Jesuit.
  • April 3 - Rev. Joseph Burke, S.J., former rector of the Wheeling Jesuit Community dies.
  • June 2 - Wheeling Jesuit announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2004-05 academic year.
  • June 3 - The University launched the online bachelor's program in healthcare leadership.
  • June 23 - President Lundy announced he will leave the University on July 31 to assume a position in the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesuit.
  • July 31 - Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. is named to succeed Lundy as WJU's seventh president.
  • Sept. 15 - WJU welcomed its first 25 students into the newly launched Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
  • Oct. 29 - President Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. renamed the first floor of Whelan Hall the Schmitt Family Center in honor of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Bernard Schmitt and his family.
  • Nov. 6 - The MBA Program celebrated its 25th anniversary during a reception for students, alumni and faculty.
  • Dec. 10 - Rev. Terrence Toland, S.J. is named rector of the Jesuit Community and special assistant to President Joseph R. Hacala, S.J.

Image of Joseph Hacala

7th President - Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J.
Presidency: July 31, 2003 - September 16, 2006

Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. was well known in the WJU community before he was named the seventh president. Hacala was born on Feb. 28, 1945 and was one of very few West Virginia born Jesuits. He first arrived in Wheeling in 1975 as the Coordinator of Appalachian Ministries. He left briefly, and later returned in 1980 as rector of the Jesuit Community. He led the presidential search committee in 1981 when Fr. Currie announced his resignation to be president at Xavier University in 1982. Hacala then left WJU again in 1984.

Hacala returned to WJU in 2001 to be the rector of the Jesuit community again under President Lundy, and later assumed the duties as president July 31, 2003.

During his presidency, Hacala created the Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Appalachian Institute, stressing the need for a service learning component at WJU and restructured most of the university's debt. Hacala was heavily involved in the university's 50th anniversary celebration during the 2004-05 academic year.

Hacala resigned as president on Sept. 16, 2006 after being diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease. He died five months later on Feb. 19, 2007 at the age of 61. He is buried in the Jesuit Cemetery in Wernersville, Pennsylvania.


  • May 21- University President Joseph R. Hacala announced plans to celebrate the university's 50th anniversary.
  • June 25 - President George W. Bush watched as flight controllers in Wheeling Jesuit University's Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies guided seventh grade students at Southern Columbia High School in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, on a distance education e-Mission.
  • Aug. 10 - University established Service for Social Action Center (SSAC) to coordinate the extra-curricular and course-based service activities of members of the Wheeling Jesuit University community.
  • September - University announces it will add baseball to its athletic program starting in the spring of 2006.
  • Sept. 3 - University President Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., announced the enrollment of 350 students in the Class of 2008, making it the largest incoming class in the history of the institution.
  • Sept. 17 - Hurricane Ivan devastated the Ohio Valley with massive record flooding. Wheeling Jesuit holds off on its 50th anniversary celebration. WJU students help nearby communities assist with cleaning up.
  • Sept. 21 - City of Wheeling proclaimed September as "Wheeling Jesuit University Month."
  • Sept. 23 - WJU holds "Make a Difference Day" to help those clean up after the massive Sept. 17 flood.
  • Sept. 25 - Hundreds turned out for the 50th Anniversary outdoor celebration at the LaRosa Soccer Field.
  • Oct. 29 - University held "Celebration of Re-Commitment to Mission and Installation of Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. as seventh president" in the Alma Grace McDonough Center.


  • Jan. 27 - Terry Edwards of Wheeling Central Catholic High School was named as head coach for the university's newly established Cardinal baseball program.
  • March - Wheeling Jesuit University received two 50th Anniversary gifts from the men's and women's basketball teams as both teams won their respective West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournaments. This was the first men's WVIAC title in the history of the university.
  • March 1 - WJU begins to offer wireless internet for students on campus.
  • May 10 - A special donation of a Rembrandt etching went on public display at Wheeling Jesuit University's Bishop Hodges Library.
  • July 8 - University unveiled Community Alert Online, a new website providing Ohio County residents with access to local, real-time emergency information and resources for preparing for and responding to a variety of situations.
  • Aug. 12 - Rev. Christopher Fronk, S.J., was appointed Rector of the Jesuit Community at the University. He succeeded Rev. Terrence Toland, S.J., who served as Rector since 2003.
  • Dec. 7 - Chapel of Mary & Joseph endowment fund created.


  • Jan. 10 - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin appointed J. Davitt McAteer, VP for Sponsored Programs, as a special advisor to the governor on the investigation into the Sago Mine Tragedy in Upshur County, W.Va. that killed 12 miners.
  • Feb. 9 - Wheeling Jesuit University announced it will serve as the site for an upcoming International Mining Health and Safety Symposium. It will mark the first international gathering of mining industry leaders and safety experts to discuss mine safety.
  • March 16 - A joint initiative among WJU, the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, and the Schiffler Cancer Center, the newly established Urological Research Institute at Wheeling Hospital, focused on innovative research methods directed toward the effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and other urologic disorders. University students and professors played a key role in this new endeavor.
  • May - President Hacala announced the establishment of a student scholarship endowment, the Philip C. and Evelyn F. Kirby Memorial Scholarship Fund.
  • June 14 - The Acker Science Center Auditorium was dedicated to the Hawk Family and was named in honor of university benefactors, Henry and Beverly Hawk and their family.
  • Aug. 21 - U.S. News & World Report ranked WJU among the best colleges and universities for 10 consecutive years.
  • Sept. 16 - Fr. Hacala resigned as WJU president citing health reasons; Dr. James F. Birge becomes interim president.
  • Oct. 20 - West Virginia Northern Community College and the university collaborate in 2 + 2 agreement that allows students to complete two years at WVNCC and two years at WJU earning a bachelor's degree in computer science.
  • Nov. 2 - New athletic training program begins.



  • Feb. 9 - The Board of Directors announced Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J. will become the university's next president.
  • Feb. 19 - Seventh President Joseph R. Hacala, S.J. dies following a short battle with amyloidosis.
  • Summer - Renovations are made to the Benedum Dining Room.
  • Aug. 13 - Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J. officially becomes the eighth president of Wheeling Jesuit University.
  • Oct. 20 - Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J. is inaugurated in the Alma Grace McDonough Center.
  • Dec. 15 - First Cancer Research Classic is held at the Alma Grace McDonough Center. Teams from across the nation gather to play to raise money for cancer research.

Image of Julio Giulietti

8th President - Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J., Ph.D.
Presidency: August 13, 2007 - August 5, 2009 

Rev. Julio Giulietti was selected as the eight president of WJU in February 2007, but did not assume the duties until August.

Giulietti was born April 29, 1946 and grew up in New York and entered the Society of Jesus in 1972. He acquired advanced degrees in comparative religions and counseling and a doctorate in theology. He worked at a variety of institutions focusing on international programs and higher education, and as director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College.

At Wheeling Jesuit, Fr. Giulietti sought to bring international students to Wheeling, creating agreements that allow people in other countries to benefit from WJU's health science programs. After leaving WJU in August 2009, Fr. Giulietti was appointed director of the Loyola in Vietnam program by Loyola University in Chicago.


  • Aug. 21 - West Virginia University and WJU create a partnership for students pursuing a degree in engineering. Under the agreement, students who spend three years at Wheeling Jesuit and two years at WVU's College of Engineering and Mineral Resources can graduate with degrees from both institutions.
  • July 24 - President Giulietti announces a tentative partnership with the Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy by renting building space.
  • Nov. 7 - Rev. Brian O'Donnell, S.J. officially becomes rector of the Wheeling Jesuit community, replacing Rev. Christopher Fronk, S.J.
  • Sept. 15 - WJU opens a center for professional and graduate studies in Charleston, W.Va.



  • Jan. 23 - President Giulietti announces a tuition freeze for the 2009-10 academic year.
  • May 29 - West Virginia Public Broadcasting reaches an agreement with WJU to house a news bureau on campus.
  • Aug. 5 - The Board of Directors announced J. Davitt McAteer will become interim president, replacing Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J.