A Message from the President: August 2015


August 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The 2015-2016 academic year officially begins today with the start of classes. While the summer months provide opportunities for rest and relaxation for many of us, the campus continues to be full of activity. In addition to summer classes and Admission tours, the Office of Conference Services hosted nearly 13,800 guests who participated in 132 different programs sponsored by the University and other external organizations. Now with summer coming to a close, the campus once again is full of energy and excitement for the new academic year. As we look forward together, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.

Summer Projects and West Lancaster Avenue

The time between Commencement and Orientation provides the best opportunity to address projects large and small throughout campus. As I mentioned in my email at the end of last semester, several exciting enhancements and additions were made to campus this summer, including the new Idea Accelerator in Falvey Library, an expanded University Shop in Kennedy Hall and significant work on the West End Zone project in Villanova Stadium. These are just a few examples of the work completed this summer by Facilities Management staff and contractors to ensure that our buildings and grounds stay looking their best, all while accommodating regular summer campus activities, classes and events.

I am also delighted that years of planning and work by countless members of our community have been realized with final land development approval for the Design Concept for Lancaster Avenue. This initiative will revitalize what are now the East and West Main parking lots, turning them into an attractive living and learning environment, highlighted by new residence halls and a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.

With this approval, the first phase of this multi-year project can begin. This initial phase will add two levels of parking to the existing St. Augustine Center parking garage and a new surface parking lot around Moriarty, Griffin and Geraghty Halls. Although these construction projects will be disruptive and cause some members of our community to temporarily change their normal routines, it is important to remember that these short-term inconveniences will benefit Villanova for years to come. This phase is a critical first step in this project that will create exceptional new spaces for living and learning, and a worthy introduction to campus from Lancaster Avenue.

As more progress is made, there will be additional communications regarding the status of the project phases and notifications of anticipated disruptions. Please visit www.designconceptforlancasteravenue.com for the most up-to-date information about construction, parking and progress on this initiative. I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work together to create the future of Villanova.

The World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit

The World Meeting of Families (WMF) will take place in Philadelphia beginning September 21 and culminating with a visit from Pope Francis September 26 and 27. The theme of the WMF is "Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive," emphasizing the impact of the love and life of all families on our society. This theme is consistent with Villanova's Augustinian ideals and provides a great spiritual platform for our community's participation in this historic event.

I am pleased that Villanova - and Villanovans - will be actively involved in many aspects of the Congress and Papal visit. This is an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our city and region to shine on the international stage. Visit the Villanova WMF site to learn more about how our students, faculty, staff and alumni are contributing and the related programming that is taking place.

An event of this magnitude requires significant resources and the coordination of many partners throughout the region. Villanova is proud to be working closely with the WMF, SEPTA and the Radnor Township Police and Fire Departments to provide logistical support and resources for the Papal Visit. This includes making available a significant portion of our parking facilities September 25-27 to support WMF events and help accommodate those seeking to travel to Philadelphia via SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line, which will operate express service from Villanova Station.

To support these efforts and to foster involvement in WMF activities, the class schedules for Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26 have been adjusted. We continue to monitor the information being made available from the WMF and the City of Philadelphia as we consider any additional adjustments to University operations. Any updates will be communicated through email and Campus Currents. Please direct questions and concerns to worldmeeting2015@villanova.edu

A Conversation with the President - August 27

Please join me for the fifth annual Opening Address to the Villanova community scheduled for Thursday, August 27 at 3 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. This event has become a wonderful way for our entire community - students, faculty and staff - to gather together to mark the beginning of the academic year, outline shared goals and discuss upcoming initiatives for 2015-2016 and beyond. Refreshments will be provided following the opening address. I truly value this opportunity to gather together and look forward to seeing you there.

2015 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration - September 10-13

The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration (STVC) provides our community with a unique opportunity at the beginning of the academic year to celebrate our Augustinian mission and heritage. 2015 marks the tenth year of this multi-day event which provides opportunities for each member of the Villanova community to be involved. The full schedule of events is posted on the STVC website, but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight two events:

  • Thursday, September 10 -The St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture will be delivered by Reyna Grande, author of this year's One Book Villanova selection, The Distance Between Us. In keeping with the purpose of celebrating the legacy of St. Thomas of Villanova, Catholic social teaching is a featured perspective of the book. It is a powerful story that has already generated discussion throughout campus. I am pleased that the One Book Villanova program and STVC can be aligned in this way at the beginning of the academic year.

I would also like to recognize and thank Tom Hillebrecht, the 2015 Student Chair, for his leadership and dedication to making this year's event a success. For more information about all of the STVC events and to register for the Day of Service, please visit www.villanova.edu/stvc.

Reminder: Commencement Nominations are Due Friday, August 28

Nominations for Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients are due no later than this Friday, August 28. Please review the original call for nominations emailed in June for information to include. Nominations should be submitted via email to the Office of the President.

Orientation and Move-in: Thank you!

A positive start sets the tone for the entire year. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the countless members of our community who played a part in creating a memorable welcome for our new and returning students.

  • The staff and students who delivered the First Year Student Orientation program at the School of Law and New Student Orientation for undergraduates. In particular, I would like to recognize the New Student Orientation staff of more than 100 students, under the direction of Sarah Backenstoe '16 CLAS, who helped ensure a smooth transition for the Class of 2019 and their families.
  • The Residence Life Staff and 110 Resident Assistants who prepared for and welcomed the approximately 4,400 new and returning students who moved into our campus residence halls.
  • The staff of Dining Services, Facilities Management, Custodial Staff, Mail Services, Public Safety, Student Life, UNIT and the University Shop.

Thank you to these individuals and areas, and to everyone who contributed to making orientation and move-in a success!

Best wishes for a productive and fulfilling year, and thank you for your continued commitment to Villanova University!



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA