Posts Tagged ‘Wheeling Jesuit University’

Wheeling Jesuit University Appoints Jesuit Father James Fleming as 10th President

Jesuit Father James J. FlemingWheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia has appointed Jesuit Father James J. Fleming, current executive vice president of the university, as its tenth president, effective July 1. Fr. Fleming will succeed current president Richard Beyer, who has been president since 2010 but has decided not to seek a second term.

“Wheeling Jesuit University is a great institution possessing even greater potential. I’m excited to work with our exceptional faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends for many years to come to realize this potential,” said Fr. Fleming. “It has been a great privilege to be a part of this community for the past three years and I thank the Board of Trustees for their confidence and the opportunity to continue moving the university forward.”

Chairman of the Wheeling Jesuit Board of Trustees Mimie Helm endorsed Fr. Fleming as an “obvious choice” for president. “Fr. Fleming is ideally suited to serve as president of the university. He is a dynamic and visionary leader who possesses a keen knowledge of the university and, obviously, the Jesuit values on which it was founded and continues to operate,” said Helm.

Fr. Fleming, 53, joined Wheeling Jesuit University in 2010 as the university’s first vice president for mission and identity. He next became chief of staff, and then executive vice president in 2012. He previously served as director of mission planning and assessment for Boston College and was a member of the faculty there from 2000 to 2010.

Fr. Fleming is the author of numerous articles and publications and holds a doctorate in education policy, organization, measurement and evaluation from the University of California, Berkeley. [Wheeling Jesuit University]

Wheeling Jesuit University Honors Its Longest Serving Jesuit

Wheeling Jesuit University’s longest serving Jesuit, Father James O’Brien, considers his 50-year tenure at the university more of a gift than an accomplishment.

Fr. O’Brien came to the university in 1962 to teach philosophy. It was his first assignment as a Jesuit. Fifty years later, Fr. O’Brien still cherishes his career at the university.

“One version is they lost my records at the headquarters in Baltimore, they didn’t know I was here and that I managed to stay under the radar for 50 years,” the 85-year-old joked.

“There have been times when some other position would come up elsewhere and I would say, ‘What do you think? Is it time for a change?’ In every case, I would say, ‘Maybe you should just stay here and do what you’re doing,’” Fr. O’Brien recalled.

The university recently honored the Pennsylvania native in a president’s dinner and award ceremony. Fr. O’Brien said his favorite part about Wheeling Jesuit is its small community.

“It’s a lot more different than some of the other Jesuit colleges in the area,” he said. “I think it’s being able to interact with people in a more face-to-face way.”

In addition to his other duties at the university, he also takes students on Appalachian Experience service trips sometimes up to three times a year.

Fr. O’Brien said one of Wheeling Jesuit’s main focuses is on its students.

“We help students find themselves and we make them ready not just to get good jobs but to take the talents they have and put it to good use for themselves and others,” Fr. O’Brien said.

Fr. O’Brien graduated in 1940 from the Most Blessed Sacrament Parochial School in Philadelphia and graduated four years later from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.

He later attended St. Joseph’s College and ended up going into the Navy Reserve. From there, he decided to go into the seminary. He taught three years at Baltimore Jesuit High School while studying theology.

Two years after becoming ordained, Fr. O’Brien was assigned to Wheeling Jesuit University, where he focused on teaching and campus ministry.

“The whole spirituality helped me, and at the time I was still working on my dissertation,” Fr. O’Brien said.

Although he says he didn’t make much progress at first, Fr. O’Brien said he obtained his doctorate in the 1980s from Duquesne University.

Raised in a religious environment, Fr. O’Brien said he always thought about going into the seminary for his career. His love for his work has carried on.

“Why do people stay married 50 years? Why do people choose to be doctors, lawyers or teachers? Somehow, or another, it’s not just external, but it builds up on circumstances,” he said.

“It’s not like climbing Everest. It’s more like, Here’s your life.’ You’re taking steps. That’s not to say it’s no great achievement. It’s rather a kind of gift the way it comes about.”

[The State Journal]

Jesuit Author Publishes First Fully Interpretive Biography of Lakota Indian Visionary

Black_Elk2Since its publication in 1932, Black Elk Speaks has moved countless readers to appreciate the American Indian world that it described. John Neihardt’s popular narrative addressed the youth and early adulthood of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux religious elder. Jesuit Father Michael F. Steltenkamp now provides the first full interpretive biography of Black Elk, distilling in one volume what is known of this American Indian wisdom keeper whose life has helped guide others.

Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Missionary, Mystic shows that the holy-man was not the dispirited traditionalist commonly depicted in literature, but a religious thinker whose outlook was positive and whose spirituality was not limited solely to traditional Lakota precepts. Combining in-depth biography with its cultural context, the author depicts a more complex Black Elk than has previously been known: a world traveler who participated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn yet lived through the beginning of the atomic age.
Steltenkamp draws on published and unpublished material to examine closely the last fifty years of Black Elk’s life—the period often overlooked by those who write and think of him only as a nineteenth-century figure. In the process, the author details not just Black Elk’s life but also the creation of his life story by earlier writers, and its influence on the Indian revitalization movement of the late twentieth century.

Nicholas Black Elk explores how a holy-man’s diverse life experiences led to his synthesis of Native and Christian religious practice. The first book to follow Black Elk’s lifelong spiritual journey—from medicine man to missionary and mystic—Steltenkamp’s work provides a much-needed corrective to previous interpretations of this special man’s life story. This biography will lead general readers and researchers alike to rediscover both the man and the rich cultural tradition of his people.

Jesuit Father Michael F. Steltenkamp is Professor of Religious Studies at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, West Virginia. He is the author of Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala and The Sacred Vision: Native American Religion and Its Practice Today.Ordained a deacon on the pow-wow grounds of Manderson (Black Elk’s reservation town), Steltenkamp was ordained a priest in Chicago. His first assignment was as pastor of an Indian parish in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. After acquiring a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Michigan State University, he taught at Bay Mills Community College, an Indian college on the Bay Mills Reservation.