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Wheeling Jesuit University Celebrating 60th Anniversary

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Founder's Day is celebrated every February 11th on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University. This year, Founder's Day is the kick-off for the university's 60th anniversary celebration.

A Founder's Day mass was held Tuesday afternoon at the Chapel of Mary and Joseph, honoring the late Bishop John J. Swint. Wheeling College was incorporated in 1954 by the Most Rev. John J. Swint, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling. 

Current Wheeling Jesuit University President, Fr. James Fleming, says the land where WJU sits was purchased by Bishop Swint from the Mount de Chantal Visitation Community.

"60 years ago today in 1954, Archbishop Swint handed over the deed for these 60 acres to the first president of the university," he says. "The acreage was actually the cow pasture for the sisters of the visitation. The Bishop had bought 90 acres for them. Then he bought 60 acres back from them, and gave it to the Jesuits."

Founder's Day Mass was followed by a dinner. WJU plans to celebrate their 60th anniversary with a lecture series and a Scholarship dinner.

Father Fleming says he hopes to continue to strengthen the university's relationship with the community in the future.

"I tend to think of the next decade for Wheeling Jesuit University as what I call the decade of the city," he says. "It's a way in which the university becomes more a part of the city, and enters into a relationship with the city. Both with the movement downtown of physical therapy, and also the invitation of folks from the community onto campus."

They'll start by inviting the community onto campus for "WJU Day" on March 29th. They're planning student performances and mini-lectures with faculty.