An Update on Summer Activity - August 2010

Dear Faculty and Staff:

HTML clipboardOnce again our campus is full of energy and enthusiasm as a new academic year begins. The members of the Class of 2014 are just beginning their Villanova journeys while the Class of 2011 begins its final fall classes. Regardless of class status, each semester marks a new beginning for every student, and I know you join me in wishing them well.
 
Our students are arriving to a campus that was very busy this summer. I have highlighted below some of the changes that took place between Commencement and Orientation as well as information on rankings and the upcoming St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration.

Around Campus
Phase I of the renovations to Sheehan and Sullivan Halls were completed moments before our students arrived to move in. The buildings received new bathrooms, fire sprinklers, and fire alarm system. The roofs were repaired and the built-in closets, desks, and book shelves in each room were removed. Phase II will take place next summer and will feature the installation of air conditioning, which will only enhance Sheehan and Sullivan's reputation as the "cool" places to live on campus.

Garey Hall was renovated and now serves as the home for the Communication Department, the Honors Program, the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the Career Center, Alumni Relations and some members of the Development staff. Custodial Services will move there in September and the building also features some classroom space for use by Communication, Honors, and Theatre. I are pleased that so many diverse and vibrant programs will be located in Garey Hall, which will only add to the growing sense of community on West Campus.

The artificial turf was replaced in Villanova Stadium and the track lines will soon be repainted. See the changes in person as our defending national champion – and preseason #1 – football team takes the field for its first home game on Saturday, September 18 vs. Towson at 3:30 p.m.

Work began this summer on the design of pedestrian improvements for main campus as part of the Campus Master Plan. It is anticipated that these plans will take shape over the coming year and will begin to be implemented next summer.

The first floor of Dougherty Hall now features a beautiful, large-scale timeline of Villanova’s history. Photographs, illustrations, and detailed descriptions tell the story of the University through every era. As we chart the future of Villanova, there is much to be learned from the past and I’m confident this new exhibit will serve as a great resource for our community. This project, like most at Villanova, was a team effort and I would like to thank everyone across campus who helped bring it to life.

Despite all of this work, our campus hosted many visitors, campers and conference attendees this summer. The Office of Conference Services planned and supported 113 conference and camps which brought 13,000 people to campus. These events are a great way to showcase our University and utilize our resources during this traditionally slower period.

An Update on the Office for Mission and Ministry
As you’ll read below, Villanova continues to gain national recognition for its academic programs. However, it is our Augustinian mission which defines Villanova and breathes life into all that we do throughout campus. As we evolve as a community, it is important for the various initiatives that support and embody our mission to evolve as well. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce a series of recent changes within the Office for Mission and Ministry:

• The Center for Peace and Justice Education and our Catholic Relief Services partnership were moved this summer and now     are located together with the Office for Mission and Ministry on the first floor of Corr Hall
•  Rev. Joseph L. Farrell, O.S.A. has been named Associate Vice President of Mission and Ministry
•  Rick Eckstein, Ph.D. has been named Acting Director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education
•  Beth Hassel, P.B.V.M., D.Min., has been named Director of the newly created Center for Faith and Learning which is also   located on the first floor of Corr Hall
•  The Office of Campus Ministry will be now be known as the Villanova Center for Campus Ministry and will include the following
centers and directors:
  - Center for Worship, Director: Rev. Joseph S. Mostardi, O.S.A.
  - Center for Spirituality and Discernment, Director: Linda Jaczynski
  - Center for Service, Director: Irene H. King
  - Center for Graduate Pastoral Ministry Education and Internship,Director: Joyce A. Zavarich, D.Min.    

These changes are designed to provide focus and leadership in key areas, align staff with campus needs, and support spiritual, service and justice initiatives within the Villanova community.

Rankings and Recognition
It is always nice to receive recognition, and Villanova has been fortunate to be on the receiving end of a lot of it recently. Our shared commitment to the students and the institution’s Augustinian mission results in an educational experience that is second to none. Our students, families, and alumni know that, and the word is spreading. I am pleased to share some recent rankings and recognition that confirm the quality and value of a Villanova education.

    U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking:
    •  #1 in the Regional University–North category overall for the 18th consecutive year
    •  #1 in the Regional University–North category for “Great Schools, Great Prices”
    •  #9 Nationwide: College of Engineering
    •  Recognized among the best in the US in “First-Year Experience” category

    Sierra Club “Cool Schools” Ranking:
    •  #53 Nationwide (among 900 universities invited to participate)

    Bloomberg BusinessWeek Ranking:
    •  #25 Nationwide for Value

As we all know, rankings don’t tell the whole story about the education any institution provides, nor do they serve as a benchmark by which we measure ourselves or our peers. However, there is no denying the visibility and sense of pride that comes with receiving such recognition, and I am pleased that the collective hard work of so many in our community can be acknowledged in this way. I would like to thank and congratulate all Villanova faculty, staff, and students on these outstanding placements.

2010 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration
The 2010 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration is quickly approaching with events taking place from Thursday, September 9, through Sunday, September 12. There have been some changes to the events this year but the focus still remains on gathering as a community to celebrate our Augustinian heritage and mission.

We will begin the Celebration with a lecture from syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. on Thursday, September 9. I expect that the title he has picked, “Is the Catholic Political Vocation to Make Everyone Feel Guilty About Something?,” will spark spirited conversation. Other activities include a Community Collection Day on Friday, September 10, a Community Dinner and presentation of the Staff Distinguished Service Award after service on Saturday, and the traditional campus Liturgies on Sunday at 6, 8, and 10 p.m. in the Church.

The centerpiece of the celebration will once again be the Day of Service on Saturday, September 11. Marking its fifth year, this event has grown to become a signature University initiative. In 2006, 1,200 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families served together on teams throughout Greater Philadelphia. This year, we are hoping to engage as many as 6,000 volunteers who will work in partnership with local organizations and nonprofit agencies. While the event has gotten bigger, our focus is not on the numbers but rather on how we can marshal our community’s resources to meet the needs of others. While this is just one day of service, my hope is that through our work we will generate positive change and new relationships that will last a lifetime.

I hope you will consider taking part in as many aspects of the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration as your schedule will allow. Please visit the event website to learn more and to register for the Day of Service. Registration is ongoing and closes September 1. Departments and families are invited to serve together and service opportunities are available to meet every interest and ability.

Every year at new student orientation, I encourage the students to find ways to be involved and make their mark on Villanova. Today, I'm sharing that same message with you. Your ideas, enthusiasm, and commitment all contribute to the growth and evolution of the University. Although the rankings and recognition are nice, we cannot use them as a reason to stop pushing forward. Please continue to find new ways to share your time and talents to help make Villanova even better for future generations of students, faculty, and staff.  

Thank you and best wishes for a great 2010-2011 academic year!

Sincerely,

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