“It is a great privilege to have Congressman McKinley serve as our Commencement speaker and offer the Class of 2021 his insights as they embark on their next journey,” said Wheeling University President Ginny R. Favede. “Congressman McKinley is a dear friend of our University and a respected national leader. We are honored by his presence. I know the Congressman will offer our graduates heartfelt remarks about serving others and how to succeed in today’s workplace.”
The Congressman has represented the First District of West Virginia since Jan. 3, 2011. Born in Wheeling in 1947, Congressman McKinley attended public schools and worked his way through college, graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Civil Engineering. After graduating, he worked in the construction industry as a certified professional engineer, gaining more than 51 years of experience. Congressman McKinley is the founder of McKinley and Associates, an architectural and engineering firm, where Congressman McKinley ran the business for years, creating hundreds of jobs.
As one of two professional engineers in Congress, he has a seat on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he has been active on issues related to the coal industry, environmental regulation, energy efficiency, and health care.
McKinley is married to Mary (Gerkin), a 1977 graduate of Wheeling University and native of New Martinsville, West Virginia. The couple has four adult children and six grandchildren.
In addition to serving as the commencement speaker Congressman McKinley will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wheeling University.
During this year’s Commencement, President Favede will award degrees to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
The Ceremony will be held outdoors – socially distanced on the Bishop Schmitt Field, she said. To ensure the health and safety of all those attending, graduates and faculty will be seated six-feet apart on the field. All those participating will process and recess six-feet apart. Graduates will have the opportunity to register for family grouped seating for up to six guests, the President explained.
“Last year we had a beautiful outdoor commencement ceremony that allowed graduates, families, and friends the opportunity to participate in a safe manner. All those attending are asked to wear a face covering, which will be provided at the entrances to the venue,” President Favede said.
The University will hold a socially distanced Baccalaureate Mass at 6 p.m., Friday, April 30 at Bishop Schmitt Field. The Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will preside.
“We are always honored to have Bishop Brennan celebrate mass with our campus community and provide a special blessing as our students begin this next chapter in their lives,” said President Favede.
For those not able to attend, Commencement and Baccalaureate will be live-streamed. A link for each event will be available on the University’s website.