- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Noble: The donors to St. Joseph’s Catholic school in Petersburg, Va., for saving their school with tremendous fund-raising.

On April 3, Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced that the town’s single private, parochial school had less than one month to raise $1 million to save it from closing. St. Joseph’s had been struggling due to underenrollment and high costs. Facing a $500,000 deficit, the bishop set a lofty goal of pulling the school out of debt and paying for improvements to the school and teacher contracts.

Earlier this week, in an effort many are calling miraculous, St. Joseph’s parish leaders announced the school would remain open. In less than three weeks, the community raised more than $900,000 with additional pledges trickling in. It’s clear that the school has earned this astounding success.

For rallying to keep their beloved school open, the donors to St. Joseph’s are the Nobles of the Week.

Knave: West Virginia University officials, who granted an unearned master’s degree to Heather Bresch, daughter of Gov. Joe Manchin.

A report released on Wednesday by an independent WVU faculty panel shows that pressure from university President Mike Garrison and Chief Academic Officer Gerald Lang caused university officials to award Mrs. Bresch the degree despite failing to complete the necessary curriculum. Both deny the claim.

Last year, the university retroactively awarded Mrs. Bresch an executive master’s of business administration degree after news surfaced that she had not completed the program in 1998. She argues that her professional work experience during her final semester was in place of missed classroom work.

Several pieces of this puzzle suggest that Mrs. Bresch was given preferential treatment. The governor’s daughter is a close friend of Mr. Garrison and the chief operating officer of a pharmaceutical company which is WVU’s largest donor and Mr. Garrison’s former employer.

Something is clearly fishy here. The university rightly reversed the degree but it is still unclear who will accept responsibility for this mistake.

For awarding an undeserved degree, West Virginia University is the Knave of the Week.


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