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!

Friday, February 5, 2010

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

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