Dear Faculty and Staff:
From record snowfall, record rainfall and record heat, we’ve experienced just about all that Mother Nature can throw at us this semester. Our campus looks beautiful despite the extreme weather, especially the front lawn of Tolentine Hall which has been restored to grass. Many thanks to the staff of Facilities Management for all they do throughout the year to keep Villanova looking beautiful and functioning smoothly.
Next weekend’s Commencement activities may mark the end to the academic year but it won’t mark the end to activity on campus. This summer will be a busy one with many projects taking place. I would like to take a moment to share with you details of a few of them as well as some other key updates.
Summer Projects on Campus
We will continue to move forward with implementing elements of our Campus Master Plan this summer as work begins on Sullivan and Sheehan Halls. These residence halls will be closed at the end of this week and will reopen in time for the Fall semester. The buildings will be completely renovated over the next two summers with work this year focusing on upgrading the bathrooms and common areas, removing built-in closets, and installing new sprinklers and a fire alarm system. This work will require the area between the two buildings – the Quad – to be closed to pedestrian traffic beginning Saturday, May 8. Signs will direct pedestrians to walk along Dougherty Drive or Ryan’s Way. This will affect campus visits, summer session traffic, camps and, of course, Commencement activities. Since no improvement happens without some sacrifice, I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
I’m sure many of you have seen the colorful little flags which have sprouted on main campus over the past couple of weeks. These flags, used to mark underground utilities, are part of the planning for the improvements to the pedestrian experience on campus. An architect has been selected and committees are being formed for this project. Planning will take place this year in anticipation of work beginning next summer.
Garey Hall will see renewed activity beginning this summer as several programs and departments relocate there. Many of the moves were highlighted in a recent article in The Villanovan. We are fortunate to have Garey Hall available and spent a great deal of time considering how best to use it. These moves will allow us to give growing programs needed space, unite staff in functional areas, and provide better services to visiting alumni and prospective employers. I am pleased that so many diverse programs will be located in Garey Hall and am hopeful that it will continue to serve as a lively gateway to West Campus.
An Update on the Class of 2014
Saturday, May 1 was the deadline for reserving a spot in the Class of 2014, and I’m pleased to share that the freshman joining us this fall are an exceptional group. They are incredibly accomplished inside and outside the classroom; diverse in ethnicity, background and experiences; and eager to make the most of the opportunities presented here at Villanova. There is still some measure of uncertainty in the economy and the University remains committed to doing whatever it can to help families afford a Villanova education. Over the past two years, tuition increases have been kept to the lowest levels in more than four decades while overall financial assistance has been increased by 21%. While identifying and supporting each new class of students is a University-wide effort, I would like to extend a special thank you to the staffs of the Offices of University Admission and Financial Assistance for their efforts to enroll the Villanova University Class of 2014.
University Staff Council Awards
Throughout the year, the University Staff Council (USC) provides opportunities to recognize colleagues whose consistent excellence and exceptional performance contribute to the sense of community at the University. Please consider nominating those individuals or work teams on campus whom you have particularly admired and who deserve some special recognition for their outstanding service, commitment to job efficiency and the above and beyond performance that is so typical throughout our community.
There are no longer deadlines, so nominations can be submitted at any time and will be processed as they are received. Awards will be distributed at different times of the year. Please visit the USC website for more information on the awards, the nomination process and instructions for submitting nominations online.
St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration 2010
The 2010 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will take place September 9-12. While the traditional elements of this community-wide celebration of our mission and heritage will remain the same, the scope and structure of the events will be a bit different this year. The Celebration will begin on Thursday with a lecture by award-winning journalist E.J. Dionne, Jr., and will conclude on Sunday with the traditional campus Liturgies at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. in the Church. More information can be found on the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration website which will be updated throughout the summer.
Once again, the central component of the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will be the Day of Service. This event has grown since its inception in 2006 to become one of the University’s signature initiatives. Nearly 4,000 Villanovans took part in service last year, and my goal is to increase the number of volunteers this year. This goal is not about numbers, but rather it is about encouraging more members of the Villanova community to share in the experience of serving together with the greater community and our partner organizations. As “big” as this one day might be, it will never be bigger than the needs we address or the people we serve.
Please start thinking about how you, your family, your class, or your department can be involved in the 2010 Day of Service. The registration process has been modified this year and the first step is group creation which is already taking place online. Each volunteer will register individually and will choose a group at sign-up. More information about Day of Service registration process and instructions for creating a group can be found on the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration website.
Summer Hours for Employees
As you know, the University recently engaged in a comprehensive benefits study in an effort to continue to provide a supportive and encouraging environment for its faculty and staff. Among the recommendations of the study, many of which will be implemented this summer, was the introduction of programs that assist Villanova employees in striking a better balance between their work at the University and their lives off campus. While our shared priority remains focused on delivering an exceptional education for our students, this balance is something that Villanova fully supports.
Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the University will adopt an adjusted summer hours policy. Beginning this summer, full-time staff employees will have the opportunity for early dismissal at 12 p.m. noon on designated Fridays from May 21 through August 6. I encourage everyone to carefully read the policy posted on the Human Resources website. The website contains a list of the affected dates as well as some exceptions and key provisions designed to ensure that student needs are met, shifts are covered, and the campus remains secure. Please contact your supervisor or the Human Resources Department should you have any questions about this policy.
Next weekend, we say goodbye to the Class of 2010 and close the books on another academic year. I hope that each of you has an opportunity over the summer months to relax, enjoy time with family and friends, or simply just get to those projects you put on hold throughout the year.
Once again, thank you for all that you do for Villanova. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Faculty & Staff Community Picnic on Tuesday, May 18!
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President