A Message From Father Donohue


 

March 24, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The official start of spring was Sunday and with it came a light dusting of snow. I am optimistic that it was the last of the winter weather and our beautiful campus will soon be in full bloom. With spring weather and Easter break right around the corner, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.


FY2017 Budget

At its February 9, 2016 meeting, the University's Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY2017) budget, which includes an increase of 3.5% for tuition. The budget also includes a significant continued commitment to institution-funded undergraduate financial assistance, as outlined in Villanova’s Strategic Plan. The University now provides more than $104 million in undergraduate financial assistance, an increase of $36 million—more than 50 percent—over the past seven years. In addition, the University's FY2017 budget establishes a salary pool for merit-based raises at 2.5%.

Last summer, Standard and Poor's and Moody’s Investors Service each affirmed their existing credit ratings for the University (A+ rating with a stable outlook from S&P, and A1 rating and stable outlook from Moody’s), even after the issuance of $150 million in new debt associated with Villanova’s Lancaster Avenue development project. One of the reasons cited for the University's ratings and outlook was prudent financial management. The FY2017 budget reflects the same fiscal discipline that has served the University well for many years.


Gates Cambridge Scholar

Brandon Wesley (BS in Chemical Engineering) has been selected as a 2016 Gates Cambridge Scholar. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and it is among the most prestigious of nationally competitive awards. Brandon is the first Villanovan in 11 years to receive this honor and only the third Villanovan ever—Daniel DiCenso ‘05 and David Quinn ‘02 are Villanova’s two past recipients.

As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, Brandon will pursue a PhD in Surgery at Cambridge University with a focus on using stem cell therapies to treat degenerative diseases. The success of Villanovans like Brandon speaks volumes about the strength of our academic programs, our outstanding faculty and extraordinary students. Please join me in congratulating Brandon on becoming a 2016 Gates Cambridge Scholar!


Training to Prevent Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence

As Villanovans, we take pride in the strength of our community and creating an environment based upon mutual love and respect. In an effort to ensure that all members of our community experience that respect, Villanova is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment free of harassment and sexual violence.

As a reminder, all Villanova faculty and staff members are required to participate in two courses designed to build awareness of sexual violence and workplace harassment, and how to both prevent and respond to instances that may arise in our community. Completion of these courses is required by May 16, 2016. They can be accessed online through MyNova by clicking on the Work@VU tab. I appreciate your time and support of this important initiative.


Recent Athletic Achievements

As we prepare to cheer our men’s basketball team to victory in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few recent accomplishments of our athletics programs, which have achieved tremendous success again this year.

  • The women’s swimming & diving team won its third straight BIG EAST title, winning 16 of the 18 swimming events at the meet. Head coach Rick Simpson earned his third straight BIG EAST Women’s Coach of the Year honor, and freshman Darby Goodwin was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet. Darby and senior Kaisla Kollanus each won three individual gold medals. The women’s (9) and men’s team (3) combined to set 12 school records during the conference championships.

  • Villanova celebrated its third straight BIG EAST title for the men’s indoor track & field team. Senior Patrick Tiernan was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet after winning both the 3000 meters and the 5000 meters. Head coach Marcus O’Sullivan and his staff were named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year after the Wildcats set a meet record for the highest team score in the history of the meet. Villanova won a total of seven events at the BIG EAST Championships and earned 28 total All-BIG EAST honors. Later in the season, O’Sullivan was chosen as the Mid-Atlantic Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year and the distance medley relay team of Rob Denault, Harry Purcell, Elliot Slade and Jordy Williamsz earned first team All-America honors.

  • Senior Angel Piccirillo of the women’s track & field team set an all-time collegiate record in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:40.82 at the BIG EAST Championships. Angel was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet at the BIG EAST Championships and was later named the Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. She went on to earn first team All-America honors in the mile for a second straight season. Angel was also a second team All-American in the 3000 meters, while sophomore Siofra Cleirigh Buttner was a second team All-American in the 800 meters.

  • Villanova earned a No. 1 national ranking in the Associated Press poll in men’s basketball for the first time in school history, and the team went on to win the BIG EAST regular season title for the third consecutive year. After advancing to the title game of the conference tournament, the Wildcats earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Head coach Jay Wright was named the Co-BIG EAST Coach of the Year, marking his third straight conference honor and his BIG EAST-record fifth Coach of the Year award overall.

  • The women’s basketball team won 19 games during the regular season and head coach Harry Perretta won his 700th career game in a 63-60 win at Georgetown in February. Senior guard Caroline Coyer was a first team All-BIG EAST selection for the second straight year and twin sister Katherine Coyer was voted the league’s Sportsmanship Award winner. Freshman guard Adrianna Hahn was chosen as the BIG EAST Sixth Woman of the Year award winner and sophomore guard Alex Louin was an honorable mention All-BIG EAST selection.

Congratulations on these achievements, and thank you to all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff for being outstanding representatives of Villanova University.


Request for Commencement Volunteers

It’s less than two months until Commencement Weekend 2016, which beings on Friday, May 13. Commencement takes an army of volunteers to make the weekend special for our graduates and their guests. If you are a staff member, please consider volunteering some of your time this year to help with Commencement activities.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities and any time you can offer is very much appreciated. For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Commencement 2016 website.


Wellness Fair Scheduled for April 19

I encourage you to visit the Wellness Fair on Tuesday, April 19, to learn about all of the benefits that the University offers. The fair will be held in the Villanova Room at the Connelly Center from 9 a.m.—3 p.m. For those of you who participated in the Personal Health Assessment and Health Screening campaign, attendance will qualify you for 300 NOVAfit! incentive points. Please be sure to bring your wildcard to confirm your attendance and receive your points. Further details can be found on the NOVAfit! section of the Human Resources website.


Villanova Walk@Lunch Day Set for April 28

As a community, we want to encourage physical activity as part of the daily routine. Therefore, Villanova once again will sponsor a Walk@Lunch Day on Thursday, April 28. There are two walks scheduled—at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.—that will leave from the Oreo and follow the walking trail through campus. For those of you who participated in the Personal Health Assessment and Health Screening campaign, attendance will qualify you for 200 NOVAfit! incentive points. Please be sure to bring your wildcard to confirm your attendance and receive your points. Visit the NOVAfit! section of the Human Resources website for further details.


Summer Hours for Employees

I am pleased to announce that Summer Hours again will be offered this year. Full-time staff employees will have the opportunity for early dismissal at 12 p.m. each Friday beginning May 13 and concluding August 12.

Summer Hours are an important part of the University's commitment to helping employees maintain a work/life balance. I recognize that many departments on campus will not be able to follow this policy exactly as outlined, especially those with 24/7 operations or those with heavy workloads during the summer months. In these cases, my expectation is that department managers will identify other appropriate opportunities for their employees to achieve the work/life balance intended by the Summer Hours. Please remember that in all cases, the needs of our students and internal and external communities must continue to be served in an exemplary fashion.

I encourage you to visit the Summer Hours policy posted on the Human Resources website for additional information and for a list of the Fridays included in this year's schedule. Please contact your supervisor or the Human Resources Department should you have any questions.


 

Best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Easter, and I hope that our upcoming break provides the opportunity for reflection and relaxation.

Sincerely,


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Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA
President