Announcing the New Director of Athletics: August 2015

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August 2015

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Jackson as Director of Athletics at Villanova University, effective September 21. This key appointment is the result of a rigorous national search led by a committee of trustees, faculty, administrators, and alumni.

Our search centered on finding an individual who believes in the values and mission of our University, understands the changing landscape of college athletics, and possesses the skills necessary to sustain and grow Villanova’s success—athletically, academically and administratively—now and in the future. Mark quickly distinguished himself as an energetic, visionary leader who possesses the experience, leadership skills and character traits we were seeking, making it clear that he is the right choice for this role.

First and foremost, Villanova is an academic institution. However, athletics is a major part of University life and the success of our athletics program is a source of great pride for students, faculty, staff and alumni. As athletic director, Mark will be responsible for enabling student-athletes to achieve excellence in their sport, as well as in the classroom. In our conversations, Mark has shared his passion for creating an environment that promotes this standard among students, coaches and staff.

As Director of Athletics, Mark will provide executive leadership, strategic direction and oversight for all of Villanova’s 24 sports and more than 500 student-athletes. He will be responsible for all aspects of the athletics department, including fiscal affairs, personnel, strategic planning, facilities, general operations and public relations.

Mark comes to Villanova with nearly 20 years of comprehensive athletic experience, particularly with flagship athletic programs, and a strong background in fundraising, sponsorships, facilities and capital projects. Most recently, Mark served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director and Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Southern California (USC) and oversaw a number of sports (its flagship football program, as well as baseball and women’s lacrosse) and support services, including sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition, security and equipment and apparel operations.

Some highlights from his experience at USC include oversight of more than $125 million in capital projects, playing a key role in a $300 million fundraising campaign for the USC athletic department, and managing the USC athletic department’s dealings with a multi-million dollar renovation of the Los Angeles Coliseum. Prior to USC, Mark also worked at Syracuse University, where he oversaw all aspects of athletic administration and support for 20 sports, and at the professional level with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.

Jackson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Government from Colby College in 1995 and a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Trinity College in 1997.

This is truly a great moment for Villanova, our teams, our student-athletes and all of you who support our programs. I am delighted that Mark has accepted this position as I am confident that he will help advance the athletic and academic goals of our University. I believe he will set a new and exciting course for our athletic programs while continuing the storied legacy of Villanova Athletics.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the entire search committee, and the coaches, administrators and staff who were involved in the interview process. They were instrumental in identifying the ideal candidate to help Villanova continue its excellence in the classroom and in competition. Mark is ready for the challenge and is excited to help build upon Villanova’s athletic success to generate pride from all corners of our University.

Please join me in congratulating Mark on his new leadership role, and welcoming him and his family to Villanova. He is eager to get started and is looking forward to being a member of—and working with—our community.


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Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA
President