History of WU Challenger Learning Center


Numerous projects and programs have been established on the Wheeling Jesuit University campus through the efforts and dedication of West Virginia's First Congressional District Congressman, Alan B. Mollohan. Funding for the Challenger Learning Center (CLC) was proposed by Congressman Mollohan. Two core components of the CLC, the Mission Control and Spacecraft Simulator, are named in his honor. The Congressman's interest and support for ways to improve the teaching and learning of math, science, and technology were instrumental in the creation of the Center for Educational Technologies (CET) at the University. Congressman Mollohan was directly involved the creation of mountainmade.com and the establishment of the Office of Law Enforcement Technologies (OLETC).

Born in Fairmont, West Virginia, on May 14, 1943, Alan Bowlby Mollohan is the son of Robert H. and Helen Holt Mollohan. Mollohan attended the Butcher School in Fairmont and graduated from the Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, West Virginia in 1962. In 1966, he received a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the College of William and Mary.

Four years later, he graduated from West Virginia University with a law degree and gained admittance to the West Virginia bar. He immediately began to practice law in Fairmont. In 1975, he was admitted to the District of Columbia bar and began representing clients in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Mollohan's father, Robert, represented West Virginia's First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for three decades before retiring in 1982. His son Alan began his political career by serving as delegate to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in 1968. He subsequently served as a DNC delegate in 1972 and 1976. He chaired the Marion County Democratic Executive Committee from 1971 to 1974. He was a Captain in the United States Army Reserves from 1970 to 1983. Following in his father's footsteps, Mollohan won his first election to the 98th Congress in 1982. Since then, he has been re-elected as Representative for West Virginia's First Congressional District ten times.

In the House of Representatives, Mollohan is a member of the Appropriations Committee, a body that determines funding for thousands of government programs. He also serves on three of the Committee's 13 subcommittees. He is the ranking minority member on the subcommittee funding the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development as well as the 18 independent agencies (including NASA and the EPA). Mollohan is a member of the subcommittee that funds the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the Federal Judiciary and 17 related agencies (including the FBI and the Small Business Administration). Additionally, he serves on the District of Columbia subcommittee.

Thoroughly dedicated to his home state, Mollohan has been involved with many projects benefiting West Virginia. He helped establish a First District Federal Procurement Team and the West Virginia High Technology Consortium, headquartered at the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center in Fairmont. He has worked to fund waterways, education projects, a flight simulator for Fairmont State College, a defense procurement center in Parkersburg, historic sites, and a law enforcement training system at the former Moundsville penitentiary.

Mollohan is married to Barbara Whiting of Glenville. The couple has five children, four sons and one daughter: Alan, Robert, Andrew, Karl, and Mary Kathryn. The family still resides in the town of Mollohan's birth, Fairmont, WVa.

Information compiled from:

  • Almanac of American Politics, edited by Michael Barone, Richard Cohen, and Grant Ujifusa
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Website (http://bioguide.congress.gov)
  • Biography Resource Center (www.galenet.com)
  • Congressional Directory 107th Congress, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office
  • Congressional Staff Directory, Spring 2002, published by Congressional Quarterly
  • Congressman Mollohan's Website (www.house.gov)
  • West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Website (www.wvonga.com)
  • Wheeling News Register, February 4, 1994