A Message from the President - May 2013

May 16, 2013

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Commencement activities begin today and culminate on Sunday as the Class of 2013 officially transitions from students to alumni. I encourage you to learn more about the various events planned throughout the weekend and our honorary degree recipients by visiting the Commencement website.

The ceremony on Sunday officially concludes our academic year and as our community prepares to transition into another busy summer, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.


Phase III of the Transformation of the Campus Landscape

The third and final phase of the Transformation of the Campus Landscape Initiative begins Monday, May 20. When it is complete this fall, it will mark the conclusion of a three year effort to enhance the campus core. The first two phases have led to a stunning transformation of the areas between Bartley and Corr Halls and breathed new life into the heart of campus. This final phase will focus on the areas in between Falvey Library, Alumni Hall and Corr Hall; the Kennedy Hall parking lot and the Connelly Center plaza/ circle; and Dougherty Drive. As in past years, the work will necessitate adjustments to pedestrian and vehicle travel patterns in these areas. Please watch this presentation for more information regarding the project’s impact upon daily campus routines. For more information on the Transformation of the Campus Landscape Initiative, visit www.villanova.edu/masterplan.


Update on the Design Concept for Lancaster Avenue

Many of you have seen and commented on the recent media coverage of the Design Concept for Lancaster Avenue. Some of the headlines and content are misleading, so I want to assure that while there are many steps still to be taken, the project has not been “voted down” by Radnor Township. The township Planning Commission, an advisory body, voted in early May to deny recommendation of our proposed zoning amendment which would provide necessary zoning changes to the main parking lots to allow the Design Concept to be built there. The Commission’s vote was a non-binding recommendation to the township Board of Commissioners. Later this summer, the Board of Commissioners will consider the same proposed zoning amendment. We continue to work closely with them, township staff and residents to identify concerns and address them so that the amendment and project can be in the best position to move forward. For more information and to review project-related materials, visit the News and Updates section of the Design Concept for Villanova website.


Progress Report: State of Alcohol at Villanova University

Last summer I commissioned a study to review the State of Alcohol at Villanova as it relates to our undergraduate student population.   I view this effort as a tangible opportunity for us as a community to reflect on and reinforce our collective commitment to preventing alcohol abuse.  In this inclusive, bottom-up, cross-campus approach, a working group of faculty, staff and students was created and organized into four broad committees:  The Villanova Culture; Student Health; Training and Education; and Policy and Enforcement.  The group was tasked with examining what we currently do at Villanova to promote responsible alcohol consumption, recommending goals, charting a pathway for the future, and providing a methodology to assess our progress. Preliminary results of this effort will be shared with the campus community this fall. I look forward to receiving the final report of this initiative as we strive to make Villanova a safer and healthier community for our students.


Villanova Students Earn Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Our students continue to compete successfully for prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships:

  • For the second year in a row, Villanova students have been awarded the Barry M Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in the Sciences and the Harry S Truman Scholarship for leadership in public service.  Junior Biochemistry and French major Joana Petrescu received the Goldwater for her research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in pediatric cancer, and Stefan Johnson, a junior Political Science and Communication major, was awarded the Truman in recognition of his work in the community and his plan to enact reform in the prison system.

  • Six Villanovans, including one alum, received Fulbright awards to study or teach English during the 2013-14 academic year. Nicholas Bailes ’13 LAS will be conducting research of Quilombo communities in Brazil while Amy Richards ’10 LAS, Rachel Glogowski ’13LAS, Michael Pfleuger ’13 M.A., Michaela Gaziano ’13 LAS and Andrea Zinn ’13 VSB will serve as English Teaching Assistants in Colombia, India, South Africa, and Malaysia. 

  • Freshman Christine Fossaceca ’16 COE was awarded a prestigious Boren Scholarship to study cyber security in Korea next Spring and Theology graduate student, Michael  Fatigati ’13 M.A. will be studying Arabic in Oman this summer through the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship. 

The success of these Villanovans speaks volumes about the excellence of Villanova’s academic programs, our outstanding faculty, and extraordinary students.


Inaugural Award Supports Interdisciplinary Collaboration

During my Opening Address to the Villanova Community in 2011 and again in 2012, I invited teams of faculty from different disciplines to develop proposals that promote interdisciplinary study, foster cross-college collaboration and enhance our academic environment. I am pleased to announce the Inaugural Award for the President’s Grant Proposal Program for the Development and Implementation of Interdisciplinary Courses has been given to Dr. Debra Arvanites, Management; Professor Frank Falcone, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Dr. Frank Galgano, Geography and the Environment; and Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy, Nursing, for their project: “Improving Student Learning Through Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning Experiences.” Their project seeks to utilize a hybrid classroom experience, using lectures and a seminar format to introduce multidisciplinary learning. Topics in engineering, business management, environmental science and nursing will be selected to create a foundation for understanding problems related to international development and sustainability. Multidisciplinary teams will be created to focus on a particular issue related to water supply projects in developing countries and opportunities for field related experiences. The ultimate objective is to create a framework for faculty from various disciplines to collaborate on multidisciplinary projects, while preserving the fundamentals of the particular course or discipline. The deans of the four Villanova Colleges, who comprised the selection committee, were impressed that this project represents faculty and students from all four colleges, includes different disciplines and features a service-learning experience. Please join me in congratulating our award recipients and wishing them and their students success in this important initiative.


Reminder: Staff & Faculty Picnic, Tuesday, May 21

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday at the annual Staff & Faculty Picnic from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. in Donahue Hall on South Campus - rain or shine. With a BBQ theme this year, the food is once again sure to please. I hope you will join me to celebrate the end of the academic year and recognize this year’s Above and Beyond and Facultas Award recipients.


Thank you for all that you do throughout the year to contribute to the sense of community that distinguishes Villanova as a wonderful place to learn and work. Best wishes for an enjoyable summer!

Sincerely,


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Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.
President