It is with great sorrow that we come together today with the departure of our president and dear friend, Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. We have all come here to seek the truth, and to know and understand what has happened within the university walls and what has become of the reputation of WJU. In this light, please invite anyone to read the blog and feel free to comment as you wish.

Any posts with profanity are not welcome, otherwise, please speak your mind. You are a part of this university and we want to hear your voice!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Larry Unmasked

"I returned from business in London to read that some wonder about my existence.  Funny, US Immigration had no problem with my existence.  At Dulles International, they passed me right through back into the United States.  But alas, someone has caught me red handed....  They have blown my cover.....  I confess.....  I am not Larry.  I am Lorenzo.  Lorenzo Catraro as noted in my passport. 

And rest assured. I am very much alive. My wife and children would be shocked to know otherwise.  The accusation of my non-existence is telling but not surprising.  What annoys some are the facts I bring to the debate about WJU.  And what annoys the most is that the facts are true."


Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Word to the Wise

I am a banker in Pittsburgh. The hiring of Mr. Richard Beyer, the fifth president at Wheeling Jesuit University in 10 years, deeply troubles me.  Besides the unresolved issue of the sacking of Jesuit Fr. Giulietti, there is the longstanding issue of the coming bankruptcy of this institution.  Does Mr. Beyer know that he was hired actually to close the school?  The banking community in this banking city is waiting for the opportunity to arrange the sale of the institution. The loss of students and faculty, the disappearance of alumni support and crushing debt cannot go one much longer. There are scientific and other research institutions in this city that need to grow and expand and have the resources to do so. But land is tight here.  Wheeling is a bedroom community to Pittsburgh. It is time to act. 

A word to the wise.

- Leo Cleary

Thursday, September 30, 2010

WJU Pedophilic Professor Convicted

FAIRFAX, Va. (9/29/10) -- Rev. Felix Owino, WJU Associate Professor of Philosophy, was convicted of aggravated sexual battery of an eleven-year-old girl. Owino's conviction followed his guilty plea entered in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Va. Owino will be sentenced for the felony on Dec. 17, 2010. Felix Owino's crime carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a $100,000 fine. The prosecutor is asking for a five-year sentence, after which Owino could be deported to Kenya. The professor-priest has been incarcerated without bond since his arrest on July 8, 2010.

Perhaps now our university would consider issuing a statement that Professor Owino has been fired. And perhaps concurrently issue a statement that credibly accused homosexual predator Thomas F. Gleeson, S.J. has also been fired. Gleeson is the Jesuit Trustee who cast the decisive vote to fire WJU's President, thus commencing WJU's downhill slide of the past fourteen months.

Mike Fahy
WJU Alumnus

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Best Saving Might be a Healthy Sale

In the “Inferno” Dante describes the Nine Circles of Hell where those guilty of grave faults face fierce demons and their own foolish sins. The aftermath at Wheeling Jesuit must feel like hell for board members and the Jesuit trustees who launched the sacking of their president, Fr. Giulietti.  With no plans in place to develop the college into a viable school on their own, the results of the action continues to fester and slowly destroy the school.  Those of us who watch find it unbelievable that such foolishness could actually happen at a Jesuit college.  Maybe its Jesuitness is all past history as it must face the inevitability of a sale.

Leo Cleary

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SNAP director criticizes Jesuit university

The following is a guest commentary written by David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Several weeks ago, a Wheeling Jesuit University priest and teacher was arrested in a Washington DC suburb and charged with molesting a girl.

The university's president, Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill, and her public relations staff quickly sent out to area media a shamelessly self-serving news release that shows just how much further Catholic authorities have to go if ever they hope to effective come to grips with the horrific child sex abuse and cover up crisis.

Thrailkill almost tried to pretend she and her colleagues barely know the alleged predator, Father Felix Owino. But instead of working to distance themselves from him, Catholic officials should be working to find and bring forward other potential victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, so that justice can be done.

According to the university's statement, Owino "has no current responsibilities" at Wheeling Jesuit. He "is not expected or return to the school." He "was on summer break" when he was arrested. Owino was allegedly the subject of "no student complaints," the school says. Most recently, he was teaching "on line." He's "not a member of the Jesuits." He is "originally from Kenya."

Can they do anything more to detach themselves from this priest? Why not go one step further and try to reassure worried parents by saying Owino doesn't own any T-shirts or jerseys or jackets with the university logo on them? At the risk of sounding trite, can you imagine Jesus responding like this if one of his apostles had been arrested for a suspected child sex crime?

Adding insult to injury, Thrailkill's news release urges victims to contact school staff. She's dead wrong. Anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Owino's crimes should call police officials, not church or school officials. This is almost always true, but especially when there's already an active criminal investigation.

Those with knowledge or suspicions about Owino's alleged crimes or misdeeds have a Christian and civic duty to step forward, call police, and help the truth surface. Those who employed Owino (both Thrailkill and Wheeling Bishop Michael Bransfield) have a moral obligation to seek out and help others Owino may have hurt. Here's the bottom line: When victims, witnesses and whistleblowers speak up, at least there's a chance that children will be protected, victims will be healed and wrong-doers will be exposed. But when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers stay silent, nothing changes and kids keep getting hurt. And when authorities (in this case, both university and diocesan) focus more on damage control than abuse prevention, the Catholic Church's abuse crisis gets worse, not better.

Just a few short weeks ago, the pope pledged to "do everything possible" to stop future child sex crimes by priests. Somehow, Wheeling Jesuit University's president must not have heard or understood this promise. How else to explain their herculean efforts to duck and dodge and distance themselves from a credibly accused predator, instead of trying to find his victims and help law enforcement investigate him?

(David Clohessy, of St. Louis, is a clergy sex abuse victim and the executive director of SNAP. He can be reached at 314-566-9790 or SNAPclohessy@[no spam]aol.com.)

- as published by Matt Abbott at RenewAmerica.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wheeling Jesuit trustee leaving national post

[Drastically corrected version] Fr. Charles Currie, [not] the sole Wheeling Jesuit U. trustee [this was Fr. Edward Glynn] who did not collaborate in the firing of fellow Jesuit Fr. Julio Giulietti from the WJU presidency a year ago, is stepping down as president of the Assn. of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Colleagues heap praise on him in comments at The Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “The Ticker” blog.

Tom Ingram, president-emeritus, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB):
The 28 Jesuit colleges and universities will be losing an extraordinary leader next year, and so will the rest of higher education. Father Charlie Currie has inspired his colleague presidents to be sure, but he has also shepherded his Church and Catholic higher education across the board through some very very, very challenging issues ranging from threats to academic freedom in classrooms and institutional self-determination, as well as to their adequately preparing for their inevitable transition to lay Catholic leadership.
I’m certain that what he has done to help Catholic colleges and universities to begin addressing their futures while honoring the values, traditions, and teachings of the various religious communities that founded each of them will prove to be one of his true legacies.
I know Father Currie less as a professional colleague than as a fellow tenant of the fourth floor of 1 Dupont Circle [DC]. To put it succinctly, to know him is to love him, and to chuckle with him as well. Father Currie’s moral authority within the higher education community, stemming as it does from a unique combination of intelligence, geniality, and learning, will be missed. But I will miss him more as a friend.
And an otherwise anonymous “raslowski”:
Charlie has served the Society of Jesus and the Jesuit Colleges and Universities with distinction. His has been a clear and consistent voice for an education in which the promotion of justice is a critical component. His efforts have shaped the world of higher education for the better.
Currie had the job 14 years. His stepping down is set for next June. He previously served as president of Wheeling (WV) Jesuit and Xavier University, in Ohio. Succeeding him will be the Rev. Greg Lucey, a former president of Spring Hill College, in Alabama.

In the course of post-firing controversy, [not] his email exchanges [but Fr. Ed Glynn's] with the WJU board of directors chairman and the Jesuit president of the all-Jesuit trustees, appearing on a pro-Giulietti web site, shed much light on the firing itself, which happened after Giulietti, now at Loyola U.-Chicago, had been president two years. Glynn and Giulietti were trustees. The three others held a brief telephone meeting on Aug. 5, 2009, without either, agreeing to fire Giulietti after the directors had come close to doing so but failed to muster the required 2/3 vote. The trustees required a unanimous vote for the decision, from which Glynn was absent.

[Indeed, Currie from the start papered over the unexplained aspects of Giulietti's firing, and indeed the firing itself, apparently going along with the whole business.]

- as published by Jim Bowman at Blithe-Spirit

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wheeling Jesuit hard-pressed

Hard times at Wheeling Jesuit — one of 321 privately operated colleges (for and not for profit) that failed the U.S. Department of Education’s 2009 financial responsibility test. That means more hoops to jump through to keep aid going to the 97% of WJU students who receive it.
[Interim Pres. Sister Francis] Thrailkill said this is the first time WJU failed the test. . . . [C]olleges who score a 1 to 1.4 on the test are considered to have failed, but can still participate in federal financial aid programs, but there are a few restrictions. If a school scores in the negative, they are subject to extra requirements. WJU scored a 1.1.
Thrailkill wants to point out that WJU was notified about this issue several months ago, and said they have taken steps to improve their financial situation.
It may be standard to keep this quiet, but The Chronicle of Higher Educationapparently operates under no such compulsion.
More details:
All private colleges that award federal student aid must participate in the Department of Education’s financial-responsibility test, which is based on information from their audited financial statements. The department develops a composite score on a scale of 3.0 to minus 1.0, based on financial ratios that measure factors such as net worth, operating losses, and the relationship of assets to liabilities.
A total of 150 private nonprofit colleges failed the . . . test, [which is] based on their condition in the 2009 fiscal year . . . That’s 23 more than the 127 that failed the test in the 2008 fiscal year, and an increase of about 70 percent over the number of degree-granting institutions that failed two years ago.
WJU has company.

- as published at Blithe Spirit, the Blog

Youngstown Bishop and Four Others Join the WJU Board of Directors

WHEELING, WV, Aug. 5, 2010 — Wheeling Jesuit University’s Board of Directors welcomes new members, Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, along with three Jesuit priests and one banking executive at its Aug. 6 board meeting. Led by chairman, Margaret “Mimie” Helm, the five new members join a board of 18 active and two emeritus members.

The Most Rev. George Murry, S.J. (shown at right) became the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, which includes more than 216,000 Catholics, in 2007. His diocese encompasses 3,404 square miles.

Born in Camden, N.J., Murry graduated from Catholic elementary and high schools, then attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, Pa., St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Md. where he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1972 and entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a masters of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1979 and a doctorate in American cultural history from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1994.

Murry served on the faculty and was dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976. He was assistant professor of American Studies at Georgetown University, from 1986-1990, and president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., from 1989-1994. He was named associate vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1994.

In 1995, he was appointed titular Bishop of the Canary Islands and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. In 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and he succeeded to bishop there in 1999.

Murry has served on many boards including the University of Detroit and Loyola Academy, both in Detroit, St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md. and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and serves on the Domestic Policy and Education committees. Since 2002, he has also served on the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas arm of the U.S. Bishops, which provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine for those in need.

He received an honorary doctorate from WJU in 2008.

The Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. has served as the 23rd president of Loyola University Chicago since June 2001. A seasoned university administrator, tenured professor, author, and scholar, Garanzini has spent the majority of his career working in higher education.

Prior to becoming president of Loyola, Garanzini was a professor of psychology at Georgetown University, where he had been special assistant to the president for two years. Before joining Georgetown, Garanzini was a visiting professor at Fordham University in New York.

A native of St. Louis, Garanzini received his BA in psychology from St. Louis University in 1971, the same year he entered the Society of Jesus. From 1984 to 1988, he divided his academic responsibilities between the University of San Francisco and Gregorian University in Rome. He received a doctorate in psychology and religion from the Graduate Theological Union/University of California, Berkeley in 1986. In 1988, he returned to St. Louis as an associate professor of counseling and family therapy. He then served as assistant academic vice president from 1992 to 1994. He was appointed academic vice president in 1994, a post he held until 1998. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.

Garanzini also serves on the boards of Fairfield and Fordham universities. He also is a member of the Archdiocese of Chicago Board of Catholic Schools, Loyola Academy Board of Trustees and the Board of the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation.

The Rev. Brian O’Donnell, S.J. is superior of the WJU Jesuit community. Since February 2009, he has served as executive secretary of the Catholic Conference of West Virginia, while maintaining a relationship as consultant with the Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Appalachian Institute.

In April 2008, O’Donnell was elected to Board of Trustees of Wheeling Jesuit University, a separate board of governance at the university.

Since September 2006, O’Donnell has been on the executive board of the West Virginia Council of Churches, serving as secretary. As the executive secretary for the Catholic Conference of West Virginia, O’Donnell coordinates lobbying efforts for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in the state capital.

He is the former director of research for Appalachian Institute and leader of Prison Ministries Program Unit for West Virginia Council of Churches. O’Donnell also originated the office of Prison Ministries for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

He is a former assistant professor of history and director of the Institute for Building Sustainable Communities at the University of Detroit Mercy. O’Donnell taught at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden in 1992 and was awarded his doctorate in the history of technology in 1994 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

O’Donnell led the student Wellness Program at Wheeling Jesuit from 1986 – 1988 and served as a liaison with industrial retention groups in Upper Ohio Valley. Prior to that he earned his master’s at the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. and was a chaplain at Georgetown University Hospital.

He is also a former professor of philosophy at WJU, and assistant to the Appalachian Experience Club. He earned a master’s in philosophy at St. Louis University and joined the Jesuits in 1974. He earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in modern European history, both at Catholic University in 1973 and 1974, respectively.

The Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. is the 16th president of Loyola University New Orleans.

Wildes entered the Society of Jesus in 1976 after graduating from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He holds advanced degrees in theology and philosophy. He received his doctorate from Rice University in 1993 and his professional work is in the field of bioethics.

Wildes serves as associate editor to and on the editorial board of a number of ethics and medicine journals and book series, and he is a founding editor of the Journal of Christian Bioethics. Prior to joining Loyola University, Wildes was a member of the department of Philosophy and a Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University where he also held a secondary appointment in the department of Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is currently a member of Loyola’s philosophy department and teaches undergraduate students each year.

Wildes has delivered a number of invited lectures and papers and has written widely on bioethics and public policy. He authored Moral Acquaintances: Methodology in Bioethics published by the University of Notre Dame Press (2000), and is the editor or co-editor of four books. He has lectured at Tulane Medical School, LSU Medical School, and given grand rounds at Ochsner Clinic Foundation. Currently he is developing a new book on organizational ethics in health care.

Wildes is also a member of the boards of Loyola University Chicago and St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia. Active in the New Orleans community, he is a member of the New Orleans Business Council and serves as the vice chair of the national Board of Directors of Friends of New Orleans. He is the appointed chair of the Ethics Review Board for the City of New Orleans. Wildes recently served on the board of GNO, Inc., which spearheads economic development for the ten-parish Greater New Orleans region.

Robert H. Young, CPA is executive vice president and chief financial officer at WesBanco, Inc., a position he has held since June 2001.

As senior executive finance professional, he is responsible for leading corporate accounting/financial activities, including external Security and Exchange Commission and regulatory reporting, internal financial statements and board reporting, budgeting and financial planning, federal and state taxes, treasury management and asset/liability committee chairmanship, retirement plan oversight, investor relations and community development function.

A resident of McMurray, Pa., Young was formerly senior vice president and chief financial officer for PNC Bank, F.S.B., Pittsburgh.

Prior to that he was with First Western Bancorp, Inc. of New Castle, Pa. (now part of Huntington Bank), from 1986 – 1998, moving up through the ranks as vice president, senior vice president, executive vice president and chief financial officer. From 1980 – 1986, he was manager of taxes and auditing with Heckett, a division of Harsco of Butler, Pa. He began his accounting career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pittsburgh as a senior accountant.

Young earned his bachelor’s in accounting and business administration at Grove City College, Grove City, Pa. and maintains membership in the Financial Executives Institute, the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and United Way of Washington County, where is the current chairman of the board and past treasurer.

The new directors join William P. Bresnahan, the Rev. Timothy Brown, S.J.; John P. Buch, James S. Cullen, Sr. Kathleen Durkin, C.S.J.; Jane Straub Friday, the Rev. Thomas F. Gleeson, S.J.; David C. Haddad, Daniel L. Haller, Chair Margaret Helm; Christopher Helmrath; Donald Hofreuter, Adam S. Monks, James O’Malley, Gerard L. Stockhausen, S.J.; Interim President Francis Marie Thrailkill, OSU; James Will; retired U.S. Air Force Col. Carol A. Yarnall and emeritus members L. Thomas Marchlen and John B. Yasinsky.

- as published in the 'News and Events' section of the WJU official website

Sunday, August 1, 2010

One Year After

It is one year since Fr. Giulietti's presidency was terminated.  The result of that poorly planned and unjust action by a minority of board members and three troubled Jesuit trustees is now clear to everyone.  The only way to heal the damage is for the Jesuits to call for a South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Only when the truth is open for all to see will there be any possibility for actual healing at the college.

The results of the unjust act continues.  Wheeling [Jesuit University] alumni tell me that the board is once again seeking a new president.  (Interim President Sister Frances,  slipped and broke her hip; she is further incapacitated than before.)  Letters have been sent to the presidents of Jesuit colleges and universities seeking candidates.  Will anyone apply?  If someone does and gets the job,  he/she will have to face enormous financial problems partly rooted in the departure of students and faculty.  About forty first year students departed in January and more students will depart over the summer.  Of the goal of 285 new first year undergraduates for 2010 needed to balance a budget already in the red, only 240 have signed up.  Since May, six respected faculty left the college for West Liberty University and begin teaching there next semester.

Without a Truth and Reconciliation Commission the college will not survive the next academic year.

- Larry Catraro

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Hot Summer it is for All

I live in hot baking Washington, DC.  My neighbor's daughter was a sophomore student at Wheeling [Jesuit University] until a few weeks ago.  She is transferring to Mount St Mary's in Emmitsburg.  When her parents asked her why, she responded that Wheeling [Jesuit University] was not the same school she went to two years ago as a freshman.  During the last year the environment totally changed. There was little joy on campus, more people than usual were leaving on the weekends, faculty members and other workers seemed to feel down and lost enthusiasm for students.  Many feared for their jobs. She blamed this on the unjust and despicable sacking of Fr. Julio.

She told her parents that 40+ new freshmen students left Wheeling [Jesuit University] at the end of their first semester. That was after four months on campus!  It was not the school they signed up for.   I recently heard from an alumnus and friend of a board member that the attrition rate over the summer will reflect what happened at the end of the fall semester.  That is a great loss of student population.  We already know that the entering class is significantly lower than is needed to keep the college viable.

So what do we have now?  A bishop, eager to move to Philadelphia, got what he wanted, the Sisters’ property at Mt. DeChantal.  He got what he wanted only by pressing to rid himself of a smart, friendly and fearless Jesuit.  The Sisters of the Visitation, loved and admired for 160 years, have left a depressed area where they were one of the few Catholic institutions that people could admire.  And there is a college without a soul that is fast getting to the point of seeking a buyer for abandoned property.

One writer to his blog said that Fr. Giulietti might still return to Wheeling [Jesuit University].  He must be kidding!  Even a generous man like Fr. Julio would not be so foolish as to buy deck chairs for the Titanic.

As for Fr. Felix, he is not a Jesuit so the Jesuits will not pay off anyone to get him free.  He will have to deal with his own destroyed life.  Fr. Thomas Gleeson, however, is free to remain on the Wheeling [Jesuit University] board.  A double pity.

- Larry Catraro

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Sexual Predator on WJU Campus

Still another sexual predator on WJU campus: The Rev. Felix Owino, a faculty member in the philosophy department of Wheeling Jesuit University, was arrested on July 8 in Fairfax, Va. for aggravated sexual battery of an eleven-year-old girl. He is being jailed without bond until a 9/2/10 hearing. See the breaking story and photo posted this morning in the Washington Post!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A sad story comes to an end.

This week, Wheeling Hospital, owned by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston – read Bishop Michael Bransfield - has purchased the property of the Visitation Sisters at Mt. De Chantal. Howrah! Fr. Giulietti's name is cleared.

Any logical person following the history of the Wheeling debacle saw the conspiracy at work. A limited number of dysfunctional board members, three troubled Jesuit trustees (two already publicly proven to be inept)and a small town bishop veracious for power, money and a job elsewhere conspired to bring a good man down. The reasons? Envy and greed.

And a good man's own Order stood by inept.

Bishop Bransfield got the Mount. What will Wheeling Hospital do with it? Sell it, of course. Maybe to UPMC? To the US Government for research and development? To a entrepreneur to cut up into development pieces for "the needs" of the diocese?

And what has come of Wheeling Jesuit? It is without leadership. Its competent and popular legal president, Fr. Giulietti, is gone. Its competent and publicly esteemed AVP, Dr. Letha Zook, is leaving freely in June for the same position at the University of Charleston. Its CFO, Michael Leo, was given the boot. The mood on campus is akin to a funeral home. The Interim (for 18 months) President, Sr. Frances, is trying to understand why so few students want to attend the college. Why does she not know?

So Fr. Giulietti's reputation is now fully and without doubt re-established. He is cleared. The false accusations and innuendos made against him, all proven to be vapid and without substance, now pale before the truth of the facts. Wheeling Hospital got the Mount.

- Larry Catraro

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bishop has the property

Requiem for a Catholic academy, with worry about its neighboring Catholic university:
The Wheeling College campus was carved out of the Mount de Chantal estate back in the 1950s. If Wheeling Jesuit [University] and/or the Diocese [of Wheeling] had the funds, they could purchase this beautiful property, continue its use for educational purposes, and guarantee expansion space for WJU indefinitely into the future.

Alas, it is not to be. Mount de Chantal stands on 36 acres, a proud and picturesque 140-year-old school building now crumbling into brick dust, and a small, peaceful cemetery where generations of devoted Visitation nuns lay at final rest, mission accomplished.

The Mount could not survive into a new century when there are no religious vocations, so few girls from well-to-do Wheeling families seeking an exclusive education, the Linsly school [in Wheeling] poaching the few prospects who remain, and the economy of the Ohio Valley sinking slowly into ruin.

Farewell, Mount de Chantal, and let us pray that your neighbor, Wheeling Jesuit, is not destined for the same fate!

It’s an eloquent anonymous comment at Save! Wheeling Jesuit University, which since last August has been mourning and protesting the ouster of Rev. Julio Giulietti SJ as president, blamed by some as the work ultimately of the bishop of Wheeling, who wanted to buy the Mount de Chantal property but allegedly felt thwarted in that by Giulietti.

The comment was in response to news finally verified that Wheeling (Catholic) Hospital, a diocesan institution, was buying the property and planning to tear down the building which housed the already closed academy.

Fr. Giulietti gone, the diocese (the bishop) gets the property, which to many is not a coincidence.

-as published by Jim Bowman at Blithe-Spirit.com

Wheeling's Bishop Gets His Land?

The Catholic archdiocese’s Wheeling Hospital is to acquire the Mount de Chantal property which was mentioned as property Bishop Michael Bransfield wanted but found Wheeling Jesuit University president Rev. Julio Giulietti, SJ, in his way?
Rumor has it that the Mount property is now owned or has been optioned by Wheeling Hospital; the hospital also has announced that it was adding a $50 million wing [wrote Timothy F. Cogan in a letter to the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register].

First and foremost” among reasons alleged by WJU alum and former fund-raiser Steve Haid in his letter of protest over Giulietti’s peremptory firing after two years in office, “Father Julio’s lynching was the handiwork of Bishop Michael Bransfield, who wanted to slap down a Jesuit priest who sought to acquire the Mount de Chantal property for Wheeling Jesuit.”

Cogan wrote to object to a $50–million planned addition [not] to the “beautiful old” Mount de Chantal building which stands next to the WJU campus, for historic-preservation and other reasons.[Rather, to the hospital, per comment below]
The bishop
repeatedly denied involvement in Giulietti’s firing, but did confirm to [National Catholic Reporter] that he wanted the sale of the Mount de Chantal property stopped. The sale never went through.
“I was not in favor of the sale of property to Wheeling Jesuit because the price they offered the sisters was half of the price offered by competing bidders,” Bransfield wrote in a message to NCR.

But the bishop was not involved in the Giulietti firing, said then-acting WJU President Davitt McAteer: “We’re seeing the effects of the anonymous Web and the efforts of a small clique who are unhappy. It’s the guy in the theater yelling fire.”

The search for a Giulietti replacement has stalled.  Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill has hired on as interim president for an estimated 18 months.

-as published by Jim Bowman at Blithe-Spirit.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wheeling Hospital is acquiring the Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy

WHEELING -- Sister Joanne Gonter, VHM. announced today that Wheeling Hospital is acquiring the Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy property in Wheeling. The three remaining Sisters of the Visitation are leaving Wheeling on Saturday, she said.

Speaking at the Ohio County Public Library's Lunch With Books program at noon today, Gonter confirmed speculation that Wheeling Hospital would become the new owners of the Mount property.

Citing the rumors regarding Wheeling Hospital's acquisition of the Mount property, Gonter said, "That is going to go forward." She said "that (the hospital) is the only group that has shown interest," in buying the property.

"Wheeling Hospital will take over security this Saturday," Gonter added.

Gonter also said she thinks that demolishing the historic Mount building is inevitable because it would cost "tens of millions" of dollars to restore the structure.

"Eventually the building will have to come down. I hate to say that. It is a fact," Gonter told the library's large audience. "I have lived with that reality for a number of years."

She added, "We tried. If that building goes down, I want you to remember we tried.

- as published by LINDA COMINS Life Editor at The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Letha Zook, Ed.D. Resigns

In the wake of President Julio Giulietti's firing, Wheeling Jesuit University's Academic Vice President, Letha B. Zook, has resigned!

Although no official WJU announcement has been issued, and she is still listed in the WJU campus directory, Dr. Zook has accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty with the University of Charleston (W.Va.). She will begin there on 7/1/10, and will serve as head of the undergraduate faculty as well as the faculties of the School of Pharmacy and the Graduate School of Business. A great loss for Wheeling Jesuit University.

Fr. Giulietti, S.J., appointed Letha B. Zook Academic Vice President at Wheeling two years ago.

Mike Fahy, B.A., J.D.
WJU Alumnus

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WJU Introduces Interim President

Wheeling Jesuit University has a new president, if only for a short time.

On Monday, university officials introduced Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill as interim president. She replaces Davitt McAteer, who had been serving as interim president since mid-August. The president position was left vacant after the departure of the Rev. Julio Giulietti.

Thrailkill comes to Wheeling after spending 21 years as president of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. Upon her retirement in 2008, she submitted her name to the Registry for College and University Presidents, a national registry that aides institutions of higher learning that are in need of an interim president. Thrailkill most recently served as the interim president at Cincinnati's Chatfield College, a position she also acquired through the registry. Thrailkill said that upon retiring from Mount St. Joseph, she fully intended on completely retiring from education - but those plans changed.

"I did retire - from June until December," she joked.

Thrailkill's approach to her stint as president of Wheeling Jesuit, however, was much more serious, as she stressed the importance of communication between university officials and students.

"The input of students is critical in offering the best education possible," she said.

Thrailkill said that while the full 18-month interim period is not guaranteed, she will approach the position as if she were the permanent presidential selection.

"A lot can be done in the period between presidents," she said, citing topics such as finances and curriculum as areas where she will focus during her time as interim president. "This is a time in which we look at issues together and say, 'How can we resolve this, in what areas can we grow and where should we focus?'"

Thrailkill, who officially began her job as interim president on Feb. 8, is the first female president in the university's history. Wheeling Jesuit officials said that they are excited to have such an experienced leader on board.

"Sister Francis will be a great leader for our university," said Margaret "Mimie" Helm, who serves as chairwoman of the presidential search committee. "She is more than qualified. We are all impressed by her successful leadership experience."

Likewise, Thrailkill said she is excited to get started.

"This university is a place for history and to look forward to the future," she said. "We need to learn more about the students so that they may grow and become the best citizens they can."

- by J.W. Johnson Jr. as published in the Wheeling News-Register

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A cold winter for all of us

It is snowing in DC and cold. It’s the same weather and emotional feeling in Wheeling where Sr. Francis Marie Thrailkill was recently named the second interim president at Wheeling Jesuit in six months.

Sister Thrailkill must be courageous. Did those who discovered her tell her she will be interim president for 18 months after a six month disastrous attempt at leadership by Mr. McAteer? Or that Fr. Giulietti was illegally and violently discharged from his duties as president six months ago and to this day not given any reason for his dismissal?  Or that the highly touted presidential search of last fall came up with no viable candidates?  Does Sister know that until the leadership of the Jesuits of Maryland exonerates Fr. Giulietti from any wrong doing then her attempts to make piece with thousands of alumni will be limited to the equivalent of repositioning deck chairs on the Titanic?  Was Sister told that she will be working with faculty and staff who are demoralized by the cruel and pointless dismissal of Fr. Giulietti by the board and three spineless Jesuit trustees? Will Sister take the lead with the public harassment suit filed against the college and Mr. McAteer?

It is no surprise that Jesuits did not apply to be president after Fr. Giulietti’s sad dismissal. That gives a dysfunctional board and dysfunctional trustees 18 months to arrange a new owner for the college. Will it be sold to a group of interested Christians willing to let the institution be a school with Christian values? (Its former Jesuit values were thrown away last August.) Will UPMC be the new tenant as it makes its move toward ownership of Wheeling Hospital? The campus buildings would make a fine center for medical and scientific research? Viable ownership options exist. What does not exist is any resemblance to a Jesuit college with a core commitment to justice and peace.

Larry Catraro

Friday, February 5, 2010

New man -- I mean woman -- at Wheeling Jesuit

A utility player is taking over the “interim president” job at Wheeling Jesuit U.
Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill has been named as interim president of Wheeling Jesuit University.
Thrailkill replaces J. Davitt McAteer, who has served as interim president since former President Julio Giulietti was fired on Aug. 6.
Wheeling Jesuit said Thursday that Thrailkill will serve as interim president for about 18 months. She will be the university’s first female leader.
Meanwhile, the U. apparently remains in a state of suspension as to a replacement for the (who knows?) irreplaceable Giulietti:
The school suspended its search for a permanent president in October, saying it needed more time to find the right leader.
No disrespect intended to say “utility,” as above.
Thrailkill had served as president of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati from 1987 to 2008, and as interim president of Chatfield College in Cincinnati from 2008 to 2009.
Nor journeyman (or woman), for that matter.  Did Nick Swisher drive in 82 last year for the World champion Yankees?  Yes, hitting .249 in 150 games.  Had a bad Series but got a key hit in the last game, as I recall.  His third time in six MLB seasons (his second in two).  Don’t diss the traveler.
As for Thralkill, she took over at Mt. St. Joseph a year after it went coed, admitting male students, and put in a very good 20 years:
Under her leadership, the Mount has almost doubled the size of its campus to 92 acres and steadily increased its student population to 2,300. On her watch, the college kept its track record of balancing the budget for 29 consecutive years. 
The endowment grew from $3 million in 1987 to over $22 million in 2007.  Sister Thrailkill oversaw two capital campaigns, the “Vision 2000” Campaign and the “Building Excitement” Campaign, which combined raised over $24 million for new academic programs, student scholarships and facilities.
In fact, in 2008 she was declared a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Chamber of Commerce.
If she can (figuratively) take Wheeling Jesuit to the World Series, it would go a long way to helping people forget the exceedingly strange goings-on over the past five months.
- as published in Blithe Spirit, the blog

WJU Names Interim Leader

WHEELING - The Wheeling Jesuit University Board of Directors and Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of a new interim president for the university, Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill, O.S.U., Ed.D. She will be the first female leader of the university, and she arrives on campus Feb. 8.

The former long-term president of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thrailkill was selected from the Registry for College and University Presidents, an interim presidential search service founded in 1992, and used by colleges nationwide seeking exceptional leadership during transition.

"Sister Francis will be a great leader for our university," search board chair Margaret "Mimie" Helm said.

"Sister Francis was chosen through a careful process that involved all campus groups, faculty, administration, students and staff. She is more than qualified."

We were all impressed by her successful leadership experience, her articulation of the Jesuit charism and her enthusiasm for WJU," Helm said.

While at Mount St. Joseph, where she was president from 1987-2008, Thrailkill led a co-educational 2,300-student campus that consisted of a four-year, liberal arts curriculum, with both undergraduate and graduate programs. From 1978-1987, Thrailkill was president of Springfield College, Illinois, a two-year, liberal arts, pre-professional and co-educational college of 500 students.

"I completely support the decision of the board of directors at Wheeling Jesuit University to engage Sister Francis Marie Thrailkill as its interim president. Sister Francis Marie strikes me as extremely qualified by both background and experience to lead Wheeling Jesuit through this period of transition as the university continues to offer its students an excellent education in the Jesuit tradition," said Rev. James Shea, S.J., provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, she began her professional career earning 16 years of educational experience in Ursaline Academies in both Dallas, Texas and New Orleans, La. where she was a teacher, assistant principal and principal at girls preparatory schools. Most recently she served as an interim president at Cincinnati's Chatfield College from 2008-2009. Chatfield is a three-year Catholic liberal arts college run by the Ursalines in St. Martin, Ohio.

Thrailkill follows Davitt McAteer who assumed the temporary role of interim president in August.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing interim president Davitt McAteer for his service during our transition." added Helm. "Davitt served the university at great personal sacrifice by spending enormous amounts of time away from his family. He is anxious to get back to business at the NTTC, where he is the vice president of Sponsored Programs. "

Thrailkill will serve in the interim capacity for approximately 18 months as the school continues to search for a permanent president.

"We welcome Sister Francis to the Wheeling Jesuit family and look forward to working with her to move our university forward in a positive direction," said Columbus, Ohio resident Scott Gallagher '92, president of Alumni Council. "It is the hope of alumni that she will unify all members of the WJU community - alumni, staff, faculty and students - to draw upon their talents and ideas for a better Wheeling Jesuit."

Thrailkill earned her bachelor's in history from College of New Rochelle, her master's in sociology from Marquette University and her doctorate in educational administration from NOVA University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. A member of the Ursulines of the Roman Union order of sisters, she has a lifetime of experience in education. She is well published as an educator and has also earned the Woman of the Year Award from "The Cincinnati Enquirer" and the Business Woman of the Year Progress Award from the "Cincinnati Business Courier."

"We're excited about the positive energy and depth of experience that Sister Francis will bring to campus. Her 30-plus years experience serving as a university president, at places similar to Wheeling Jesuit, including Catholic universities, one at which she even served as a short-term interim president, will serve us well," said Christine Ohl-Gigliotti, dean of Student Development. "Her presidential expertise, as well as her intention of being a visible, active and engaging leader will help bring together our university community and strengthen our Jesuit, Catholic mission and identity. It's an exciting time for us to be moving forward in this way."

Wheeling Jesuit University eighth president, Julio Giulietti, S.J. left the university on Aug. 5, 2009 and is now at Loyola University of Chicago.

"Our process of selecting Dr. Francis Marie Thrailkill, O.S.U., as our interim president has been open and inclusive," said Dr. Mary Railing, employee representative on the Presidential Search committee and chemistry professor at Wheeling Jesuit. Railing has been with the university for 17 years and added, "Sister Francis has experience as a university president and as an interim president. Her skills and experiences will be a great asset to the university. I look forward to working with her."

- author not mentioned, as published in the Wheeling News-Register