Fun facts about Wheeling University


Wheeling University is a small, private, Catholic university located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1954 as Wheeling College. Over the years, it has undergone several changes, including a name change and a shift in focus from a liberal arts college to a comprehensive university. Despite these changes, Wheeling University has remained committed to its Catholic heritage and its mission of educating students to become leaders in their communities. In this blog post, we will explore some fun facts about Wheeling University that you may not have known before.

Fun facts about Wheeling University

Fun facts about Wheeling University

The founding of Wheeling College

Wheeling College was founded in 1954 by the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order also known as the Jesuits. The college was established as a men’s liberal arts college with the mission of providing a Catholic education to students in the Appalachian region. The first class of 90 students began their studies in the fall of 1955, and the college quickly gained a reputation for academic excellence.

In its early years, Wheeling College faced several challenges, including financial difficulties and a shortage of faculty. However, the college persevered, and by the 1960s, it had expanded its academic offerings and began admitting women as students. In 1966, the college was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a major milestone in its history.

The transition to Wheeling University

In 2019, Wheeling College underwent a major transformation and became Wheeling University. The change was driven by the desire to expand the institution’s academic offerings and increase its profile in the region. The transition involved the addition of several new academic programs, including engineering, nursing, and criminal justice, as well as the establishment of several new institutes and centers focused on research and community engagement.

One of the most significant changes associated with the transition to Wheeling University was the expansion of the campus. The university acquired several new properties, including the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy, a historic Catholic girls’ school that closed in 2008. The acquisition of Mount de Chantal allowed the university to expand its residential facilities and offer new opportunities for students.

The academic programs at Wheeling University

Wheeling University offers a wide range of academic programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as business, education, health sciences, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering. The university is particularly known for its strong programs in nursing, physical therapy, and education, which have been recognized for their excellence by national accrediting organizations.

In addition to its traditional academic programs, Wheeling University also offers several specialized programs and institutes. These include the Fitzsimmons Family Center for Adult Learners, which provides support and resources for non-traditional students; the Center for Educational Technologies, which develops and distributes educational technology resources; and the Appalachian Institute, which promotes the study of Appalachian culture and history.

The athletics programs at Wheeling University

Wheeling University has a long and proud tradition of athletics, with a strong focus on NCAA Division II sports. The university fields teams in several sports, including basketball, soccer, cross country, track and field, and wrestling. The university’s basketball program has been particularly successful, with several conference championships and appearances in the NCAA tournament.

In addition to its NCAA programs, Wheeling University also offers several intramural and club sports, providing opportunities for students of all levels of ability to participate in athletics. The university’s athletic facilities are also impressive, with a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor track, and a multi-purpose athletic field.

The campus community at Wheeling University

One of the defining features of Wheeling University is its close-knit campus community. With a student body of just over 1,000 students, the university offers a small, personalized learning environment where students can get to know their professors and peers. This sense of community is fostered through a variety of campus organizations and activities, including student government, clubs and organizations, service opportunities, and campus events.

Wheeling University also places a strong emphasis on service and social justice, with many students participating in community service projects both on and off campus. The university’s Catholic heritage is evident in its commitment to social justice and the common good, and many students find that their time at Wheeling University instills a sense of purpose and a desire to make a positive difference in the world.

The notable alumni of Wheeling University

Over the years, Wheeling University has produced many notable alumni who have gone on to make significant contributions in their fields. One of the most well-known alumni is John L. McClaughry, a politician and scholar who served as a Vermont state senator and founded the Ethan Allen Institute, a free-market think tank.

Other notable alumni include Tom Sietsema, a food critic for the Washington Post; Michael Kucharski, a former NASA engineer who worked on the Apollo missions; and Mary Jo Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked for the New York Times.


In conclusion, Wheeling University is a small, but impressive institution that has made a significant impact in the region and beyond. From its humble beginnings as a men’s liberal arts college to its current status as a comprehensive university with a diverse range of academic programs and a strong commitment to service and social justice, Wheeling University has demonstrated its resilience and dedication to its mission. With a strong sense of community, a focus on excellence, and a commitment to shaping future leaders, Wheeling University is truly a special place.