Villanova University Receives $5 million Commitment from Alumnus James V. O’Donnell (’63 VSB), Establishing Center for Professional Development in Villanova School of Business

Gift part of the University’s $600 million Comprehensive Capital Campaign

New Center to enhance academic advising and professional development in Villanova School of Business (VSB)

Jim O'Donnell ('63 VSB)

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has received a $5 million commitment from James V. O’Donnell ’63 VSB – retired CEO of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., and current owner of JOD Wayne Advisors, LLC – and his wife, Charlotte, as part of the University’s $600 million Comprehensive Capital Campaign, “For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.” Designated for the Villanova School of Business (VSB), O’Donnell’s gift establishes the Charlotte and James V. O’Donnell ’63 Center for Professional Development in VSB. 

“The education and support I received at the Villanova School of Business had a significant impact on my career,” said Jim O’Donnell. “One of the Center’s primary goals is to facilitate students’ successful transition from back pack to brief case. The professional development opportunities students receive as part of the Center will help them to realize their career aspirations.” 

Villanova launched the public phase of its Campaign in Oct. 2013, and to date has raised $320 million towards its $600 million goal. The most ambitious in the University’s 170-year history, Villanova’s Campaign is aimed at cultivating academic innovation across its schools and colleges, investing in recruiting and retaining the finest teacher-scholars, dramatically enhancing financial aid and student opportunities, and continuing to build a premier living-learning environment on the University’s 260-acre campus. 

“This gift reflects the strong leadership commitment to the success of Villanova’s Campaign,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “As a member of our Board of Trustees and a loyal alumnus, Jim O’Donnell has always been a fervent supporter of the University. Jim’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence and the success of our students will impact Villanova well into the future.” 

The Charlotte and James V. O’Donnell ’63 Center for Professional Development provides students more opportunities to interact with businesses, employers and recruiters, as well as the Villanova alumni network. The Center hones leadership skills and prepares graduating students for success in the business world and beyond. It also offers increased access to real-world experience through internships and co-op programs. 

”Jim’s investment to create the Charlotte and James V. O’Donnell ’63 Center for Professional Development will ensure world-class professional development opportunities for our students,” said Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, The Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business. “His generosity will benefit generations of VSB students and allow VSB to continue to offer an experience that is unrivaled.” 

To date, the University has received 58 gifts of $1 million or more towards the Campaign, including nine gifts of more than $5 million. O’Donnell’s $5 million gift to VSB exemplifies the Campaign’s focus on enhancing the overall Villanova student experience through innovative programs and distinctive student opportunities. 

“Jim has his own great success story and has partnered with Villanova in many ways over the years to help us reach our goals and to help VSB prepare students for the business world,” said Michael J. O’Neill, Villanova’s Vice President for University Advancement. “This gift and his leadership in this campaign take that commitment and the impact on students even further.” 

James V. O’Donnell, ’63 Villanova School of Business (VSB), retired in 2012 from his position as Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., a position he was elected to in 2002. He also served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, and had been a member of the Board of Directors since 2000. After his retirement from American Eagle, he remained with the company as a strategic advisor. O’Donnell is currently owner of JOD Wayne Advisors, LLC., based in Wayne, Pa. 

Prior to joining American Eagle Outfitters, O’Donnell held executive and leadership positions with several companies and organizations in various industries, including Colmen Capital Advisors, Inc., C. Everett Koop Foundation, Lyte, Inc., Computer Aided Systems, Inc., and The Gap Inc., where he worked for 12 years. 

A member of Villanova University’s Board of Trustees, O’Donnell previously served as a member of the VSB Dean’s Advisory Council and the College of Nursing’s Board of Consultors. He was elected to the Board of Directors of DSW, Inc., in 2012. 

O’Donnell received his Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Villanova School of Business in 1963. He currently resides in Wayne, Pa.   

The most ambitious Campaign in the University’s 170-year history, Villanova’s Comprehensive Capital Campaign, “For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change,” is focused on the following priority areas: Endowment ($250 million); Academic and Programmatic Priorities ($125 million); Facilities ($150 million); and Annual Fund ($75 million). For more information on the Campaign, visit www.forthegreatergreat.com 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. 

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) has been at the forefront of business education since it was founded in 1922.  Serving over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students, VSB is home to six Centers of Excellence (the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate, the Center for Business analytics, the Center for Global Leadership, the Center for Marketing & Public Policy Research, the Center for the Study of Church Management &Business Ethics and the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Center) with each center designed to foster innovative, cross-disciplinary research and teaching opportunities for business faculty.  VSB is known for academic rigor; creativity and innovation; hands-on and service learning opportunities; a firm grounding in ethics; and an applied education that prepares students to become outstanding leaders and global citizens within the ever-changing, complex, and fast-paced world of business. For more, visit business.villanova.edu 

Contact:

Jonathan Gust, Director of Media Relations

Villanova University

(610) 519-6508

jonathan.gust@villanova.edu