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History Of WJU - 1970's


1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

1970:
June 15 --Dr. Thomas Wack becomes the college's first lay academic dean.

Winter --Student body president Jim Doherty is one of 10 student body presidents in the nation chosen by the United States National Students Association for a special tour of Vietnam.

1971:
February 13 --A protest calling for the end of the war in Vietnam is staged in downtown Wheeling by 50-60 members of the Wheeling College community.

June 12 --Andrew Novotney, Class of 1964, becomes the first Wheeling College graduate to be ordained as a Jesuit priest.

October 12 --The first professional basketball game ever in Wheeling is played in the Wheeling College Field House as the ABA Pittsburgh Condors top the Dallas Chaparrals, 120-118, in a pre-season exhibition.

1972:
In a cost-cutting move, Vincent Knipfing, dean of student affairs and housing, announces that Sara Tracy Hall will be closed for the 1972-73 school year. The closing was later extended to include the 1973-74 school year.

1975:
Rock-and-roll pioneer Chubby Checker performs in the Field House.

4th President - Rev. Charles L. Currie Jr., S.J., Ph.D.
Presidency: August , 1972 - June 1982


The Rev. Charles L. Currie, Jr. served as the fourth president of Wheeling College from August 1972 until June 1982, a time of great financial difficulty and declining enrollment for the school. His arrival was greeted by rumors that he planned to close the College, but, instead, he committed himself to building on the goals of the original founders and to expanding the impact of the college on the Ohio Valley.

Currie engineered the first needed boost in funding through the Title III (Advanced Institutional Development Program), which brought the college $1.5 million in federal funds from 1976-81. Along with supplementary funds from the Benedum Foundation (in business) and the Health, Education and Welfare Health Resources Division (in nursing), the College was able to establish new programs, increase student retention rates, provide funds for faculty and administrative development, and develop a strong data-based management system, including computer capabilities.

After five years, Wheeling College gained distinction as one of the few schools in the nation to quit the Title III program on a voluntary basis. Fr. Currie finished his tenure as president with an 80 percent increase in enrollment, gifts from private sources reaching $1 million per year, an evening division, and 12 new programs. Although the College still had a $1 million debt by the time he left, Currie was able to balance the yearly budget.

Born on July 9, 1930 in Philadelphia, Fr. Currie began his collegiate education at Fordham University in 1948 on a Presidential Scholarship, and studied there until 1950, when he entered the Society of Jesus. Beginning an impressive career in higher education, Fr. Currie received his Bachelor of Arts from Boston College in 1955, followed by his Master in Arts in 1956. That same year, he also earned his PhL from Weston College. In 1961, he completed his doctoral work for his PhD in Physical Chemistry at Catholic University, working in the area of photochemistry. Two years after the completion of his PhD, Fr. Currie was ordained a Jesuit priest on June 16, 1963.

After leaving Wheeling College in 1982, Fr. Currie became president of Xavier University in Cincinnati. In 1986, he returned to Georgetown University to direct the school's bicentennial celebration. After the assassination of Jesuits priests in El Salvador in 1989, Fr. Currie was appointed special assistant to coordinate the University's response to this tragedy. In this capacity, he traveled to El Salvador to observe the situation first-hand, organized a number of educational programs at Georgetown, and participated in the Congressional response to the situation. In 1991, he was one of three official representatives from the U.S. Jesuits at the trial of the soldiers accused of the murders.

After completing his work at Georgetown, Fr. Currie then moved to St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he served as rector of the Jesuit community and taught courses in theology and science. In 1997, Fr. Currie's background in higher education led to his appointment as the president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (ACJU), an organization dedicated to promoting cooperative efforts among the 28 Jesuit institutions in the United States. He left that position in 2011 and was the longest president ever in the history of the AJCU. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Jesuit Commons.


1976:
May --Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at the Field House.

September 13 --Men's soccer becomes a varsity sport. The Cardinals win their first game, 3-2, over Linsly Academy.

Fall --A Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is approved.

Winter --"The Rathskellar" opens for business.

1977:
February --Due to record-breaking cold temperatures, classes are suspended for the entire month. To compensate, 15 days of class are added from March to May, and students receive a $40-$50 refund.

1978:
March --The men's basketball team reaches the finals of the WVIAC Tournament before losing to West Virginia Wesleyan. Ed Graham and Paul Mulholland both make the all-tournament team.

Fall --Graduate business courses are added to the curriculum, and a Master of Business Administration program begins.

1979:
April 18 --College President Charles Currie suffers two broken legs, a black eye and facial lacerations in a helicopter crash.

December 1 --A 24-hour prayer vigil is held on campus for the hostages being held at the American Embassy in Iran.



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