It is with great sadness that I inform the Villanova community of the passing of the Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, O.S.A., ’58 CLAS, who served from 1988 to 2006 as the University’s 31st president. Father Dobbin passed away around 6pm this evening at the age of 79.
During his 18 years as president, Father Dobbin guided the Villanova community into the 21st century with an enhanced sense of identity and a reaffirmed commitment to the University's Augustinian Catholic mission. Under his leadership, Villanova saw unprecedented progress and growth. Villanova implemented innovative curricula, dramatically increased the University’s endowment, expanded scholarship funding and faculty endowments, enhanced international programs and collaborations, and planned or completed new buildings or major renovations in each of its colleges and schools.
Villanova’s longest serving president, Father Dobbin strengthened Villanova and fostered a community that continues to be increasingly talented, distinguished and diverse. Father Dobbin’s legacy of growth and achievement is visible in every aspect of the Villanova educational experience, and his vision led to Villanova’s emergence as one of the nation’s premier Catholic universities.
Funeral arrangements are still being planned; I will share this information with you as soon as it becomes available. Please remember Father Dobbin in your prayers and give thanks for all he accomplished to advance Villanova.
Raised in Staten Island, NY, Father Dobbin received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Villanova in 1958. In 1962, he received his Master of Arts from Augustinian College as theological preparation for his ordination to the priesthood. In 1964, Father Dobbin received his Master of Science in Mathematics, with a minor in Physics, and in 1968, he received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology, both degrees from the Catholic University of America. In 1971, he received his Doctor of Sacred Theology from the University of Louvain, Belgium.
A recognized scholar and administrator, Father Dobbin served as a member of the Villanova University Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1987 while he was assigned to the Washington Theological Union. He was appointed as Villanova’s associate vice president for Academic Affairs in 1987, a position he held until his inauguration as University president in 1988.
Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine. To this day, Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is 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 six colleges.