Wheeling Jesuit University’s new president, Dr. Michael P. Mihalyo Jr., joined the campus community in welcoming the largest freshman class in the university’s history to campus on Friday.
“Today is a most exciting day for all of us at Wheeling Jesuit University. We had the great pleasure of welcoming more than 350 new students to campus,” said Mihalyo. “The entering class of 2018 is made up of students from 25 states and 15 countries — representing a diverse cross-section of students from across the country and the world. I applaud the efforts of our enrollment team, as well as the entire campus community, who provide an exceptional educational experience and who make WJU feel like a home away from home.”
WJU’s enrollment team focused on providing the highest level of attention to and care for each prospective student. This approach, said Sean Doyle, vice president of enrollment and marketing, accounted for a 73 percent increase in overall enrollment for the incoming fall semester.
“Students today are challenged by a flood of factors when making their college decision, and this can be overwhelming to the student and his or her family,” Doyle explained. “Our team made a concerted effort to personally communicate that every WJU student receives incredible support to succeed inside and outside of the classroom, and that their instruction, rooted in the 500-year Jesuit education tradition, is focused on academic excellence, as well as personal and spiritual growth.
“Our incoming class has an average GPA of 3.4 and average ACT score of 22 — reinforcing Wheeling Jesuit University’s strong commitment to recruit talented students who will excel at our university,” Doyle said.
The creation of the Fr. Clifford Lewis S.J. Scholars Program for commuters, Doyle believes, was a key factor in his team’s recruiting success — tripling the number of WJU’s commuter population.
The Lewis Scholars Program, launched last spring, provides students from 12 counties in three states the opportunity to commute to Wheeling Jesuit for $8,250 a year. Named in memory of Fr. Lewis, one the first Jesuits who came to Wheeling in the 1950s, this new program takes cost and affordability out of the college decision process, allowing students to base their choice on the best academic environment available to help them achieve their educational goals.
“The Lewis Scholars Program reinforces the university’s mission set forth when the school was founded by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Society of Jesus in 1954 — to provide students in Appalachia an affordable way to experience a Catholic, Jesuit education,” Doyle said.
Two academic programs, Simulation Technology and Game Design and Exercise Science, also are contributing factors in the jump in enrollment this fall.
In just its second year, the Exercise Science program has seen an influx of students prompting an expansion and renovation of the department’s lab.
The launch of the Cardinal football program, which welcomed more than 70 student-athletes, has brought a great deal of buzz to the campus in anticipation of the team’s first home game Sept. 8.
“There is substantial excitement on campus and in the community surrounding the addition of the WJU football team this fall. Head Coach Zach Bruney and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting a team of fine young men from across the region and the country to play in the inaugural season,” said Doyle.
Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the country offering more than 30 undergraduate programs of study and five graduate degrees. The University provides a Jesuit, Catholic, liberal arts education, and the affordable programs unite the Jesuit tradition of intellectual excellence allowing students to receive an education for life, leadership and service with and among others.