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!

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

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