The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., became the 32nd president of Villanova University on June 1, 2006. As president, Father Donohue has worked together with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to strengthen the Villanova community and renew its commitment to the institution’s Catholic, Augustinian, and educational mission.
Under Father Donohue’s leadership, Villanova launched a new Strategic Plan - "Igniting the Heart. Inspiring the Mind. Illuminating the Spirit." - which is designed to build upon the success achieved in recent years and to guide the University through 2020. Core to the Plan, which was approved by the University's Board of Trustees in December 2009, are Villanova's distinctive attributes of academic excellence, strong community, service to others, personal attention, and a platform for success. The Strategic Plan identifies academic and programmatic priorities and a Villanova Campus Master Plan that will guide the transformation of the University's physical plant to meet current and future needs.
Father Donohue also has spearheaded the University’s environmental sustainability efforts, highlighted by his signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in June 2007, which pledges that the University will work to achieve climate neutrality.
Father Donohue believes strongly in the important role that community service plays in the Villanova educational experience and has instituted an annual Day of Service each September as a way for the University community to put its Augustinian ideals into action. Nearly 5,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni take part in projects throughout Greater Philadelphia, making it one of the largest single-day service initiatives in the region.
Father Donohue serves as the co-chair of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional College and University Presidents’ Council, a consortium of leaders in higher education that meets regularly to share ideas and discuss issues facing the more than 100 colleges and universities located throughout the region. Father Donohue also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Villanova University as well as the boards of Merrimack College in North Andover, Ma., Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pa., the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. In addition, he is an Honorary Trustee of Campus Philly, a nonprofit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live, and work in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Born in Bronx, N.Y., and raised in Royal Oak, Mich., Father Donohue earned a B.A., with a concentration in theatre and communication arts, from Villanova University in 1975 and was ordained an Augustinian priest in 1979. He holds an M.A. in theatre from the Catholic University of America, a M. Div. from the Washington Theological Union, and a Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing his doctorate, Father Donohue taught theatre at the University of Illinois, where he received honors for outstanding teaching. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.
Father Donohue is a tenured associate professor at Villanova who served as chair of the University’s department of theatre from 1992 to 2006. He annually directed musical theatre productions on campus, earning six Barrymore Award nominations and one Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D.
32nd President of Villanova University