About the Center

Villanova University's Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy builds upon the Law School’s Augustinian Catholic mission and will create opportunities for new curriculum focused on advocacy, law and religion. 

The McCullen Center complements Villanova Law's three existing centers: the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance; and the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship


Curricular Innovation

New academic programming will be introduced under the auspices of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy, including innovative coursework, a visiting scholars program, and conferences and seminars on emerging issues in these fields. The Center, which will serve as a resource for the entire University community, will sponsor interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Additional initiatives being explored for inclusion as part of the Center include clinical opportunities and a concentration program in law and religion.


Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Names the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in Recognition of Gifts Totaling $5 Million

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law announced today that its Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy will be named in honor of Eleanor H. McCullen, recognizing recent gifts totaling $5 million from her husband, Joseph T. McCullen Jr. ’57 CLAS. Mr. McCullen has supported the University and the Law School for many years, including the establishment in 2007 of The Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law. More...


The 2017 Joseph T. McCullen Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law

This annual symposium takes place on Friday, March 17, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Laurence E. Hirsch '71 Classroom (Room 101) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA). 

Click here for more information.  



The 2016 Joseph T. McCullen Symposium on Catholic Social Thought

This annual symposium, which explored "Emerging Questions in Adoption Law and Catholic Social Thought," took place on Friday, April 22, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Martin G. McGuinn '67 Ceremonial Courtroom (Room 201) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA). The program was approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 3 CLE substantive credits.

Presented by the Center for Law and Religion at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.


About Joseph and Eleanor McCullen

Joseph McCullen is the Chairman of McCullen Capital, LLC (MCAP), a Boston-based family office formed in 2000 to manage and invest the assets of the McCullen family.  MCAP also provides administrative support to the McCullen family’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation known as the Flame of Love Foundation, which was established to provide assistance to distressed and poor individuals.

Mr. McCullen’s business career includes 25 highly successful years as an early-stage venture capitalist, focusing on high technology companies. Mr. McCullen was a board member and the founding investor in numerous private companies, several of which attained valuations in excess of a billion dollars upon sale or IPO. He served as a Managing Director of J.H. Whitney & Co. and OneLiberty Ventures (now called Flagship Ventures).

Mr. McCullen devoted 12 years to government service, four of them in the military as a young man, and later as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States (1971-1973). He went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Acting Secretary of the Navy (1973-1977).  Mr. McCullen also was an Associate Director of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Transition Team. During his service to the country, he was the recipient of two Distinguished Public Service Medals. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University in 1957 and received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater in 1976.  .

The McCullens, particularly Eleanor, have a long history of supporting legal issues related to religious freedom. Mrs. McCullen, a lifelong Catholic and pro-life activist, was lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case McCullen v. Coakley. In that case, which was adjudicated in June 2014, the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision that struck down a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone statute on First Amendment grounds. 

Mrs. McCullen is a lay Franciscan who previously was the Vice Minister of the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport, Maine. She has devoted much of her life to counseling pregnant women considering abortions; she has provided spiritual guidance, financial assistance, food, material items and has helped secure employment for mothers and fathers. In addition, Mrs. McCullen counsels prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, Massachusetts. With her encouragement, several inmates have received college degrees, authored books and produced poetry and works of art. She has assisted former prisoners when they returned to society.

Frequently featured on the national public speaker circuit, Mrs. McCullen has been profiled in publications such as The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and National Review. She has studied at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania and received an honorary PhD of Humane Letters from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut.

Contact Us


The Center for Law and Religion

Villanova University School of Law
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085 USA