Villanova President, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Begins Tenure as Chair of the Regional Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Council for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

At Donohue’s first meeting, the results of a first-of-its-kind research study on higher education’s contribution to the Greater Philadelphia region were released, highlighting the region as home to one of the top higher education sectors in the country.

For Immediate Release
September 20, 2007

VILLANOVA, PA – On Monday, Sept. 17, Villanova University President, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., was formally introduced as chair of the Regional Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Council for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. This introduction came at the council’s first meeting of the 2007-08 academic year and was held at the Chamber’s offices in Philadelphia.

In his first order of business as chair of the Regional Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Council, Father Donohue announced the results of an in-depth research study released by Select Greater Philadelphia. An affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Select Greater Philadelphia is an economic development marketing organization dedicated to building the economy of the Greater Philadelphia region. The study demonstrates, in specific terms, the strength of the region’s higher education sector and its direct effects on the region’s economy.

When compared to the top-25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the Greater Philadelphia region ranked second to only Boston on the number of Bachelor’s degrees awarded and first in Professional degrees awarded (per 10,000 residents). The Greater Philadelphia region encompasses northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.

“As the incoming chair of this impressive group of college presidents, I am confident that this study will create a common voice for the higher education sector in Greater Philadelphia and enable us to tell our story,” said Rev. Donohue. “This study confirms what we leaders in higher education have known all along - that this region is among the elite higher education communities in the country.”

Greater Philadelphia is consistently among the top 5 in the country in enrollment, degrees awarded and spending:

  • 4th in enrollment and degrees awarded
  • 3rd in spending per capita*
  • 3rd in total Associates and higher degrees awarded*
  • 3rd in Doctoral and Advanced degrees awarded*
    *Rank higher on proportional basis

“This study and its findings are a testament to the work we do as educators,” added Donohue. “It exhibits the impact we have on the lives and futures of students, families, communities, the economy and our region – which is why we do what we do.”

The higher education sector in Greater Philadelphia is large and diverse, including technical schools, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, special focus institutions, Master’s and Research universities that offer a variety of majors. The distribution of degrees by area of study is also consistent with the regional economy’s key sectors. All 88 colleges and universities in the region, and their 360,000 students, represent an important part of the Greater Philadelphia economy – creating jobs, developing communities and providing talent.

The following are some of the key findings of the report:

Colleges and universities make a significant contribution to the diverse economy of this region.

Higher education contributes almost seven percent of Greater Philadelphia’s jobs and almost five percent of this region’s total gross regional product. The sector’s total economic impact on this region is $15.2 billion. Colleges and universities indicated that they are planning to spend about $3.7 billion on capital projects to be completed or started over the next five years. In addition, the total student spending, of about $2.2 billion, is equivalent to just over $8,000 per student per academic year (excluding tuition, room and board.)

The higher education sector in Greater Philadelphia is large.

  • 10,328 Associates degrees (15.4%)
  • 34,764 Bachelors degrees (51.7%)
  • 22,077 Advanced degrees (32.9%)
  • Enrollment included 233,961 full-time students; 125,550 part-time students; and a total, non-duplicated enrollment of 359,511 students
  • During the 2004/05 academic year a total of 67,169 degrees were awarded, consisting of:

The higher education sector in Greater Philadelphia is diverse and the distribution of degrees awarded directly coincides with this region’s key sectors.

  • Business and Management – 20.7%
  • Health Professions – 12.7%
  • Education – 12.7%
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences – 5.4%
  • Social Sciences – 5.1%
  • The five most popular majors by percent of Associates and higher certificates and degrees awarded were:

About the Regional Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Council

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce created the Regional Colleges & Universities Presidents' Council to focus on new cooperative opportunities among regional participating higher learning institutions, as well as to create linkages and establish relationships with regional business leaders. Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Villanova President, is chair of the Regional Colleges & Universities Presidents' Council.

About Villanova President, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., became Villanova University’s 32nd President on June 1, 2006. Father Donohue first joined Villanova in 1985 as an instructor in the theatre department. He left to pursue his doctoral studies in 1988 and returned in 1992. A tenured associate professor, he was chair of the department of theatre for 13 years. Father Donohue received his B.A., with a concentration in theatre and communication arts, from Villanova University in 1975 and was ordained an Augustinian priest four years later. He went on to earn an M.A. in theatre from the Catholic University of America in 1983 and an M. Div. from the Washington Theological Union in 1985. He also received his Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992. In 1990, Father Donohue was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, which is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society. He has served on numerous committees at Villanova, including the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the University Judicial Boards. Father Donohue served on the NCAA Certification Self-Study committees of 1996-97 and 2001-02. He is a member of the Augustinian Institute advisory board.

About the Study

Select Greater Philadelphia examined the characteristics and estimated the economic impacts of the colleges and universities located in the Greater Philadelphia Region (GPR), which consists of the following 11 counties: New Castle County in Delaware, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem Counties in New Jersey, and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania. Select designed a survey that was sent to each of the 88 qualifying colleges and universities in the region, as of Winter 2007.