WHEELING, W.Va. – Jesuit Father Julio Giulietti was relieved of his position as president of Wheeling Jesuit University Aug. 6 in a decision made by the university’s board of trustees, which consists of Jesuit priests.
University officials did not comment on the board of trustees’ reason for the change in leadership.
“Meetings are confidential and the proceedings cannot be discussed publicly,” said William G. Fisher, president of the university’s board of directors.
The board of trustees announced in a statement Aug. 6 that Father Giulietti has left the university to continue the pursuit of his ministry, which has focused on spirituality, faith, personal development and international outreach.
Father Giulietti was the eighth president of Wheeling Jesuit University and served in that role for the last 18 months.
J. Davitt McAteer, university vice president for sponsored programs, was appointed to serve as interim president.
Celebrating Mass at the Chapel of Mary and Joseph on the campus Aug. 7, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston offered his prayers and support for the university during this time of transition.
“You, the Wheeling Jesuit community, find yourselves in a moment of transition,” Bishop Bransfield said in his homily. “In the days ahead of you, keep your eyes on the university’s mission and history, keep your hearts fixed on the Lord God. … There will be challenging moments but the future is worth these momentary challenges.”
He also said that everyone’s prayers were with Father Giulietti.
“Wheeling Jesuit University’s mission of education and educating men and women for life, leadership and service continues to be valuable and important,” Bishop Bransfield said. “Its presence as the only Catholic institution of higher learning in West Virginia and, therefore, in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston makes that mission even more important.”
McAteer is a former assistant secretary of the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor and served as special adviser to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin on the investigations of the Sago and Alma coal mine tragedies of 2006.
His focus, he said, is on the university and the students.
“My responsibility is seeing that we start the school year off positively,” McAteer said. “My emphasis is and will be the quality education. Nothing has changed in the classroom. … I’m a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit, my children are graduates and we have a long commitment” to the school.
McAteer said that he will soon be meeting with the provincial of the Jesuit community and that he wants to help the school through the transition and in its search for a new president.