When pinpointing the most defining qualities of her Villanova experience, Margaret Shull ’16 would not hesitate to note the following: God and music.
Margaret first set foot on campus after she was accepted through early action to the honors program. She and her mother, Lynn, made the trek from South Carolina to Pennsylvania to find out whether Villanova would be the right fit. It was during a mass hosted by University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA that she found her answer. Fr. Donohue spoke about how God should be a part of the college decision. After that mass, Margaret knew that this was the place for her.
Music was a big part of Margaret’s childhood. Her father performed regularly and she was a member of her high school choir. So, it was only natural that she joined Villanova Voices, the oldest women’s organization at Villanova, comprised of more than 80 women who share a love of music. “It was such an integral part of her Villanova experience and a great way for her to meet people outside her major and class year,” said Lynn.
This love of music helped the family forge a deep connection to the University, ultimately driving Margaret and Lynn to define how they could honor Margaret’s late father, Lon. The son of a preacher and a music major who had performed professionally, Lon had instilled in his daughter the passion that led her to the Villanova Voices. A lawyer by trade, Lon always joked that his law career supported his music habit. He was deeply engaged in his daughter’s Villanova experience, and would correspond with the Voices’ director, Christine Nass, sending pieces he thought would be a great fit for the group.
Margaret and Lynn decided to make a gift to the Villanova Voices and dedicate a fund in Lon’s memory. “Ultimately, we knew Lon would want other students to share their love of music and the joy of performance, and knowing how student-driven the Office of Music Activities is, we knew it was the perfect place,” Lynn said. In December 2016, the Shulls announced the gift at the Villanova Voices winter concert. And, it just so happened that the Voices performed a piece that Lon had worked on with Christine Nass. “It was a wonderful tribute and our hope is that this gift will inspire other families to support music at Villanova.”