The stories of Wheeling, Bethany, Hiram, Thiel, LaRoche and Muskingum demonstrate the challenges Bill [email protected] July 22, 2019 WHEELING, W.Va. — For seven decades, West Virginia’s only Catholic university has educated young adults in this corner of Appalachia, but despite that proud tradition, it entered the summer with an unlikely task. It had to find a new name. The words Wheeling Jesuit University no longer fit the struggling institution in this city after cutting every liberal arts major, 21 of its 53 full-time faculty and most Jesuit positions. A campus that once touted ambitious growth plans lost more than a quarter of its 1,600 students in six years, even as it wooed them with steep price discounts. So last week, it became just Wheeling University, in a bid to rebrand itself without a Jesuit affiliation. “We truly feel deep sorrow that this institution is no longer a member,” said Deanna Howes Spiro, a spokeswoman for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities headquartered in Washington, D.C. There are an estimated 1,700 private, nonprofit colleges, and it’s no secret that many smaller ones are stressed. Experts warn that more of them will merge if not close, for reasons ranging from population… Read full this story
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