History of WJU

2nd President - William F. Troy, S.J.
Presidency: July 31, 1959 - July 1966

Image of William TroyRev. William Francis Troy, S.J. was born on April 8, 1920, in Reading, Pa, and entered the Society of Jesus on August 14, 1937 at the age of 17. After receiving a Bachelor's degree from Georgetown University, he attended Woodstock College where he earned a Master of Arts in teaching. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in Woodstock, Maryland, on June 18, 1950. His first post as Jesuit was at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. where he served as headmaster.

Father Troy came to Wheeling in 1955, beginning his dedicated involvement to the community. That year, he served as the first dean of faculty at Wheeling College. Then, on July 31, 1959, he became the second president of the College and served until summer of 1966. Troy quickly gained the reputation of a being direct and informal man. He would join students in sing-alongs and games of charades; he would drive himself around campus in a noisy, rusted-out maintenance truck; and he encouraged students to drop by his office to converse with him on a regular basis.

During his time as president of the college, Father Troy oversaw the building of the opening of two dormitories (McHugh and Sara Tracy), and, later, three small student residences. Under his leadership, the College first received accreditation without reservation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities, summer school classes were first begun, and the construction of the gymnasium was completed. Shortly before his departure from the College, Tory also announced a $5 million expansion program, intended to provide funds for a library, campus center, theater, and two additional residence halls. Perhaps Troy's most significant contribution to the College may have been his dedication to liberal arts objectives within a very strong collegial setting.

While residing in the Wheeling area, he also served as president of the Wheeling Area Conference on Community Development and Oglebay Institute. Additionally, he was on the board of the Iroquois Council of Boy Scouts, United Fund and Community Chest of Wheeling.

On the state level, he was the vice-president of the West Virginia Association of Colleges and University Presidents and of the West Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. Fr. Troy was also a sportsman and served as the President of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Wheeling Area Conference.

Troy left Wheeling in 1966 to work in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Jesuit order regional headquarters. At the Baltimore headquarters, he directed the career preparations and graduate studies of 300 to 400 young Jesuits.

Troy died on November 14, 1967 at the Gonzaga Villa in Cape May, New Jersey. He was 47 years old. He was remembered by his successor, Fr. Frank R. Haig, S.J., who said, "I suppose one could say Fr. Troy was first of all a priest, a religious leader, who felt his job was to advance the development of Wheeling. Most of all, he was considerate, kind and gentle. We will miss him."


  • May 5 - U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey, the 1968 Democratic Party nominee for President, speaks to a standing-room-only crowd at Swint Hall. His topics include an end to the arms race with the Soviet Union and a war on poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy.
  • Summer - The college offers summer classes for the first time.


  • February 14 - Wheeling College, West Liberty State College and Bethany College agree to form the Ohio Valley Collegiate Conference for the purpose of better communication among the three schools.


  • March 29 - Wheeling College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The college was accredited in the minimum possible time, and students were given April 2 as a holiday to celebrate.
  • November 2 - Archbishop John J. Swint dies at age 82.
  • December 1 - The Wheeling College gymnasium is formally opened. 


  • Fall - The first formal meeting of the Wheeling College Alumni Association is held. Thomas C. Jones '60 is elected as the group's first president.
  • November 20 - Legendary singing group "The Lettermen" perform at Wheeling College's 10th Anniversary Dinner and Dance.


  • January - A $5 million expansion program is announced, which will include a library, campus center, theater and two residence halls. Completion is expected by the fall of 1970.

3rd President - Rev. Frank R. Haig S.J., Ph.D.
Presidency: July 15, 1966 - August 21, 1972

Image of Frank HaigA member of the physics department since 1963, Rev. Frank Rawle Haig, S.J., became the third president of Wheeling College on July 15, 1966. "The world will be what our men and women of insight make it to be," Fr. Haig said at his inauguration. "It is a challenge to be asked to help them see all right."

Fr. Haig established the first Faculty Council, providing faculty a formal channel with which to interact with the administration, and approved the "open university" concept that allowed students to explorer topics not covered in the college's curriculum. Fr. Haig also recognized the importance of forming connections with people, businesses and other institutions in the Wheeling area, and accepted the challenges of creating these bonds. His leadership built many bridges that have served the college well during ensuing years.

He was born Sept. 11, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pa. Immediately after graduating from Lower Merion Senior High School, he entered the Jesuit order at Wernersville, Pa. he earned an A.B. from Woodstock College in Woodstock, Md., in 1952; a Ph.L. from Bellarmine College in Plattsburgh, N.Y., in 1953; and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Catholic University in 1959/ He also earned an S.T.L. from Woodstock in 1961, the year he was ordained.Fr. Haig is the brother of Alexander M. Haig, who was a member of President Ronald Reagan's cabinet and served as a military advisor to President Richard Nixon.

After completing a year's fellowship at the University of Rochester, Fr. Haig joined the physics department at Wheeling College. On August 21, 1972 he left the presidency in Wheeling and moved to Baltimore, Md., to be a visiting fellow in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Physics. He joined the department of physics, engineering and computer science at Loyola College in Baltimore in 1972, and served as department chair during the 1980-81 academic year.

From 1981-87, Fr. Haig was president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., after which he rejoined the Physics Department at Loyola College. He is now considered professor emeritus there.

In recent years, Fr. Haig has served terms on the Scientific and Educational Council of the Maryland Academy of Science, as treasurer of the Washington Academy of Sciences and has presented papers and lectures both in the United States and abroad.

At Wheeling Jesuit, the universities highest science award is named for him and is presented to seniors at every spring commencement.


  • May 13 - Robert Arkle '62 and John DiBacco '62 become the first Wheeling College alumni to be ordained to the priesthood.
  • November 14 -- Fr. Troy, the college's second president and first academic dean, dies in Cape May, NJ, at age 47.


  • October 30 - Several Wheeling College students protest a Wheeling appearance by Independent Presidential candidate George Wallace.
  • December 4 - Betty Friedan, president of the National Organization of Women and author of "The Feminine Mystique," makes a speech in the Wheeling College Field House.


  • February 8 - The Wheeling College women's basketball team wins its first-ever game, beating Ohio University-Belmont, 35-26. Mary Fitzpatrick is the high scorer with 14 points.
  • September - A theology major is added to the college curriculum.