A Message from the President - May 2015


May 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The perfect weather and our beautiful campus combined to provide a wonderful backdrop for Commencement activities this weekend. It truly was a wonderful send-off and celebration for our graduates and their families. 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.

Commencement 2015 – THANK YOU

Commencement is a special time on campus. It’s the highpoint of the college experience for our graduates, who have worked tirelessly to make it to this point. And it’s the culmination of months of planning and coordination by faculty, staff and administrators to ensure that this weekend is a memorable event for our graduates and their families.

Each year, Commencement continues to be a success because of the time, efforts and talents of our community. And while there are too many to thank individually, I would especially like to acknowledge the faculty and staff in each of the Colleges, and the staffs of Athletics Facilities, the Connelly Center, Creative Services, Dining Services, Facilities Management, Graphics Services, the Office of the Registrar, Public Safety, UNIT and the University Shop. My sincere thanks to these departments and to everyone who contributed to creating an unforgettable weekend for the Class of 2015.

I invite you to visit the Commencement website to view a video of Friday’s University Commencement ceremony, the text of Ms. Bell’s speech, and online photo galleries from the various events.

Summer Projects on Campus

There are several renovation and construction projects that will take place this summer on campus. Although these projects will be disruptive, it is important to remember that these short-term inconveniences will benefit Villanova for many years to come. Here is a brief overview of some of the planned enhancements to campus:

  • St. Augustine Center Parking Garage: Two additional decks will be added to the St. Augustine Center (SAC) parking garage as part of the Design Concept for Lancaster Avenue. While the overall project must still receive one more set of approvals, we are able to move forward now with this aspect which will add approximately 220 parking spaces on main campus. There will be some pre-construction preparation at the SAC Garage this summer, with actual construction scheduled to begin late summer. You will receive more specific details about the project and its impact next month. 
  • West End Zone Project in Villanova Stadium: In mid-June, construction will begin on the West End Zone Project in Villanova Stadium. The project, anticipated to last 13 months, will replace the Butler Annex with a state-of-the-art athletic training center to benefit all of the University’s varsity programs. It will feature a new varsity weight room and new locker rooms and offices for football. This donor-funded facility will allow us to allocate other space throughout the athletic complex to better support other varsity programs including softball, track and field, and women’s lacrosse. The majority of the construction will occur on and around the site of Butler Annex, but portions of the stadium, track and Jake Nevin Fieldhouse will be impacted. Notifications about the project have already begun in Campus Currents and there will be a website with more specific details about the project, and the impacted areas, available this summer.

  • Kennedy Hall: The Bookstore is expanding to include a new area downstairs; construction will start shortly and will end this summer.

  • Public Safety: Moving from Farrell Hall to Garey Hall; construction will start late summer and should be completed by December 2015.

  • Tolentine Hall: The handicap-accessible ramp is being replaced. Signs will be posted with instructions for where to enter Tolentine during construction.

The goal with any campus construction project is to cause as little disruption to normal campus activities as possible. I thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience.

Key Items from the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

At its February 10, 2015 meeting, the University's Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) budget which includes an increase of 3.5% for tuition, room and board. The budget also includes a significant continued commitment to institution-funded undergraduate financial assistance. Villanova now provides more than $91 million in undergraduate financial assistance, an increase of $17 million over the past four years. In addition, the University's FY2016 budget establishes a salary pool for merit-based raises at 2.5%.

Last summer, Standard and Poor's and Moody’s Investors Service each affirmed their existing credit ratings for the University (A+ rating with a stable outlook from S & P, and A1 rating and stable outlook from Moody’s). One of the reasons cited for the University's ratings and outlook was prudent financial management. The FY 2016 budget reflects the same fiscal discipline that has served the University well for many years.

Villanovans Earn Nationally Competitive Scholarships

It has been another successful year for our students and the Center Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. I am pleased to share that once again Villanovans have been awarded prestigious, nationally competitive scholarships.

  • For the second year in a row, a Villanovan has been named a Marshall Scholar. Presidential Scholar, Nick Ader ‘15 CLAS, will follow in the footsteps of Joana Petrescu – our first Marshall Scholar – at Cambridge next year. Nick was a double major and just graduated with degrees in Biology and Biochemistry. Nick has also received the distinction of being an NIH-Marshall Scholar. This award will support Nick’s post-graduate research in molecular biology and neurobiology towards his PhD degree at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

  •  Presidential Scholar Stephen Sechler ‘15 COE, was selected as a Mitchell Scholar. Stephen is the second Villanovan to receive this honor and will study Bioengineering at Trinity College, Dublin to develop improved auditory technology for the hearing-impaired.

  • Keith Martinez ‘16 CLAS, a Presidential and Gates Millennium Scholar, has been awarded the Truman Scholarship. Keith has been nationally recognized for his work with Lakota Children’s Enrichment, a nonprofit that empowers youth in his home community on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Keith intends to use his graduate education to empower Native American youth.

  • This year, nine Villanovans were awarded the Fulbright Scholarships, and three have been named as alternates. In total, 16 other Villanovans have been recognized in nationally competitive programs.

The success of these Villanovans speaks volumes about the strength of our academic programs, our outstanding faculty and extraordinary students.

2014 Sustainability Report

I am pleased to present our 2014 annual report summarizing Villanova’s sustainable accomplishments over the past year. We have made great strides as a University to integrate sustainability into our community culture and we achieved several notable milestones in 2014.

The report includes our greenhouse gas report, the results of the transportation survey and an overview of some of the sustainability initiatives and programs on campus. I encourage you to take the time to read the report and become better acquainted with the various ways Villanova works to operate the campus sustainably. As a University, we will continue to integrate sustainability and respect for the earth into our curricula, research, events, and institutional policy and practice.

Once again, thank you for all that you do for Villanova. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow at the Annual Faculty & Staff Community Picnic to celebrate the end of the academic year. I hope that each of you has an opportunity over the summer months to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA