Wheeling Jesuit University Board of Trustees has announced that they have begun the search for the university’s next president.

Dr. Debra Townsley was recruited by the Board to serve as interim President of WJU in January 2017. Her appointment ends July 15th.

When she was recruited, she was provided with several objectives to achieve as part of an institutional revitalization and fiscal reorganization.

“We thank Dr. Townsley for her hard work and commitment to the University over the past 15 months,” said Msgr. Kevin Quirk, Chair of the WJU Board of Trustees, in a press release.

“Though her initial appointment was intended to end this past February, she agreed to the Board’s request to stay through July and work with the leadership team in accomplishing the critical parts of what has been a remarkable turnaround in the University’s financial situation and future outlook.”

Dr. Townsley came to the university as a new partnership was being formed between the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and the Society of Jesus to ensure the future of Catholic higher education in West Virginia and to the Catholic and Jesuit mission and identity of the institution.

The Diocese aided in a financial rescue to eliminate the university’s debt.

Dr. Townsley undertook a significant reorganization of the university, reducing its expenses, while growing enrollment and pursuing new degree programs leading to employment in healthcare and gaming.

“We gave President Townsley a significant list of objectives to achieve in little over a year,” Quirk said in a press release, “and she fulfilled each one of them, while preserving the student experience on campus and keeping an eye focused on academic quality.”

The position description for President is posted on the University’s hiring website, cardinalscareers.com. Upon Dr. Townsley’s departure, Mark Phillips, chief of staff in the office of the President, will serve as acting president and will work with the Board of Trustees to facilitate the search process.