Blue and White Spotlights

In Their Own Words

Hear from members of our Villanova community about their most impactful campus memories, how they stay involved with the University, their professional journeys, advice for recent grads and more!

JULY 2024

Mitch Ramierez and family

Mitch Ramirez '09 CLAS

Tell us about your background and professional journey.

After graduating from Villanova, I had been intent on practicing law in Chicago or Columbus, but I met my wife (who is from New Jersey) during my 1L year at Notre Dame Law and ended up right back out east. The market in 2012 was especially challenging for lawyers, but I was fortunate to be hired at a boutique litigation firm with my friend and mentor Kathleen Reilly P '11, '19 (coincidentally from a big Villanova family). After three additional years at a large regional firm, I realized I function best as my own boss. My partners and I then founded Moreira Sayles Ramirez LLC where we focus on commercial litigation, small business counseling and insurance work. 

What part of the Rooted. Restless. Strategic Plan are you most excited to see come to life?

I am most excited about joining the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council, through which I’ll support the University’s efforts to enable students from under-resourced backgrounds to participate fully in learning that takes place outside the classroom. I was only able to attend Villanova because I received a substantial scholarship, but I still didn’t have access to the type of network and resources that some other students did. I look forward to ensuring students like me have access to those opportunities, and I am really proud to be part of helping students from diverse backgrounds. 

Share your favorite course or program from your time at Villanova and why it had such an impact on you. 

I was part of the Interdisciplinary Humanities program as a freshman and sophomore. I took over 20 credits with the same group and I met some of my best friends in that program. It was an unbelievable experience and still helps form how I think and function to this day.

Which campus residence halls did you live in as a student, and which was your favorite?

Before the Commons, students generally only lived on campus for three years. I lived in Stanford Hall as a freshman, Austin Hall as a sophomore and Klekotka Hall on West Campus my junior year. Klekotka Hall was by far my favorite experience because they are set up more apartment-style and I could live with more of my friends. No matter where I lived, my favorite day of the year during my time at Villanova was Novafest, which used to be held annually each spring. 

Why should other alums get involved with the University?

My interactions with Villanova as an alum have been positive. I find that staff is genuinely interested in hearing what alumni think to help make Villanova an even greater institution. Since I graduated, I admire how Villanova has grown over the last decade by promoting a sense of belonging for all students, in keeping with its Augustinian Catholic values.

MAY 2024

Al Holfelder '58

Al Holfelder '58

How have you stayed involved with Villanova as an alum and why do you choose to support the University?

I support Villanova because the lessons I learned here were instrumental in forming the foundation for my adulthood, which has stayed with me throughout my whole life. I’ve remained engaged with the University through my fellow alumni and Regional Clubs in Boston, Miami, Dallas and Cincinnati as I moved around the country. I helped to start the first iteration of the West Palm Beach Regional Club in the 1990s. In those pre-social media days, the Club became dormant until the current dynamic leadership resurrected it.

Anytime I’m out in public and wearing Villanova gear (which is almost every time!), people exclaim how lucky I am to have gone to such a great school.

What are your most impactful memories from your time at Villanova?

In the late winter of 1953, two sets of parents made the long drive from Long Island to enroll their sons (and friends since childhood), Al Holfelder and Bill Coffey, at Villanova. Fortunately, both were accepted into the class of 1958. Bill was my roommate through all four years at Villanova, and we remained close friends until his early passing in 2003.

In my sophomore year, the University introduced a new curriculum called Industrial Administration, created by Walter Klein, PhD. The entire three-year course of study was based on a Harvard Business School curriculum. My peers and I were so exhilarated by this course that we even discussed what we were studying while hanging out after class. There were no right or wrong answers, and grades were decided by how you reached your conclusions.

Additionally, my time at Villanova led me to view religion in a new light because of the atmosphere the Augustinians generated by humanizing faith. I will always look back fondly on Sundays spent gathering with other Villanovans at the New Jersey beach house of the Rev. George Riley, OSA, PhD, former vice president for University relations.

Tell us about your background and professional journey.

I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in both Rockville Centre and Garden City on Long Island. Following my time at Villanova, I joined the United States Marine Corps. I then transitioned to corporate life at the Cannon Mills textile manufacturing company until I realized I was an entrepreneur at heart. My most successful business venture was Tropical Textiles in West Palm Beach, which I started in 1984 and sold in 2001. Since retiring, I have enjoyed traveling as well as playing tennis and senior softball—a highlight was playing in the nationally recognized Huntsman Games when I was 77!

APRIL 2024

Aminah Fawad

Aminah Fawad '15

Tell us about your background and professional journey.

I’m a proud 2015 graduate of VSB with majors in Finance, Accounting and MIS. I began my career at Deloitte Consulting where I spent almost six years working with various customer packaged goods companies. In 2021, I took a leap of faith and decided to join a consumer women’s health startup focused on empowering confident health decisions. After two years of invaluable experience, I decided to explore a deeper focus in health care and pivoted back into consulting. I’m currently a Senior Manager at Vynamic—a health industry management consulting company where we are passionate about shaping the future of health. 

What are the most meaningful relationships you've formed as a result of your Villanova experience?

Where do I begin? More than anything, I’m grateful for the people Villanova brought into my life. I met some of my closest and best friends on the fifth floor of Stanford and met my husband on the second floor of Dougherty in the Student Government Association office. I’m also lucky to have connected with amazing mentors who helped me kickstart my career and continue to be supporters in my personal and professional life. 

How and why have you stayed involved with Villanova as an alum?

Staying involved with Villanova is so important for me. My life today, both personal and professional, has been shaped deeply by my experiences at Villanova. I hope to give back just a fraction of what Villanova has given me. Over the last few years, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to serve as the Young Alumni Advisory Council Co-Chair. I’ve also stayed closely connected with VSB through the VSB Mentor Program where I serve on the Advisory Board and as a mentor to incredible students. 

What makes you most proud to be a Villanovan?

For me, it’s about community. Whether it’s crossing paths with alums at work, connecting with current students, watching a basketball game or even seeing someone wearing a Villanova hat while grabbing a coffee, there is something so special about our shared experience that fills me with pride every day. 

What advice would you give recent grads on how to make the most of their Villanova connections and network?

Villanovans are always thrilled to connect with fellow alums. Don’t hesitate to reach out and introduce yourself. Chances are you’ll meet someone who will always be rooting for you! 


Discover how the following Villanovans ignite change in their chosen fields while supporting the University and our students. 

MARCH 2024

Ron Cruse

Ron Cruse '77

Few can appreciate the transformative power of travel quite like Ron Cruse ’77 CLAS. As the president and CEO of Logenix International, the largest provider of public health resources across the developing world, he has visited nearly 90 countries and traversed more than three million miles. By establishing the Ron Cruse International Fellowship Program in memory of Sergey Kuzminykh, a close colleague and friend, Ron has made it possible for more than 30 Villanova students to date to travel the globe.

According to Ron, it is critical for students to explore lesser-developed countries in emerging markets; academic and professional opportunities abound in these “off-the-beaten-path” destinations, which also provide an especially enriching travel experience.

“The idea of encouraging students to push their personal boundaries by traveling to the world’s most exotic, least developed areas is the cornerstone of my reasoning for endowing the Cruse Fellowship,” Ron said. “Each time I have journeyed to a place that seemed out of my comfort zone, once there, I discovered that this was not actually the case. The learning and understanding of various cultures I’ve experienced has been essential to my personal growth and career success.”

Unlike traditional study abroad programs, Cruse Fellowship students must choose a destination in an emerging market. The University-wide program annually awards up to five fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students and is intended to support compelling, unique trips that are paired with unique internships or service projects.  

Students have used the Cruse Fellowship to intern and conduct research in nearly 20 different countries, from Botswana and Costa Rica to Jordan and Ghana. It is Ron’s hope that the adventures they experience will begin a lifelong journey of greater understanding and acceptance—a way of thinking that he has found is fundamental to success, no matter the endeavor. 

Ron chooses to support Villanova and its students out of gratitude for the University’s welcoming and intellectually stimulating culture—something both he and his two sons experienced during their time on campus. The trips that students are able to take thanks to the Cruse Fellowship will continue to enrich Villanova’s community by forever shaping the perspective of each Fellow. 


Pearl Mensah '13

Pearl Mensah '13

As a former member of Villanova’s Women’s Basketball team, Pearl Mensah ’13 CLAS learned the importance of teamwork, discipline and the relentless pursuit of success on the court and in the classroom. Today, the former student-athlete has leveraged these qualities throughout her impressive career in pharmaceutical sales and at the helm of Pearl’s Sales & Marketing Consultancy, which she founded in fall 2023.

Pearl says that as a walk-on, her most meaningful contribution to the Women’s Basketball program was being able to push her teammates to help them improve during practice. After a career-ending injury during her junior year, she continued to provide crucial support to the team as the Assistant Director of Women’s Basketball Operations.

Since earning her bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2013, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2014 and a Master of Science in Human Resource Development in 2016—all from Villanova—Pearl has dedicated her time and talents to advancing the University while honoring its history through her involvement in Affinity Networks and volunteering.

“There is an incredible sense of belonging and shared commitment to the Villanova spirit among alumni,” she said. “Staying engaged with the University is a natural response to the profound impact the institution has had on my life, and I will continue to do so as long as there is a need and opportunity.”

Pearl is a member of the Villanova University Black Alumni (VUBA) Executive Board and several VUBA committees. She is co-chair of VUBA’s Villanova Black Legacy Committee, the goal of which is to celebrate and share the accomplishments of Black Villanovans. She is also on the fundraising committee for the Moulden Honors Awards Ceremony, an event which recognizes the legacy of Black excellence and achievement within the Villanova community.

This spring, during Villanova’s second annual Biotech Bootcamp—a half-day program for students to learn about the various career paths within the industry—Pearl will help students to craft elevator pitches and answer questions for the event’s “Ask Me Anything” HR Professional Development panel.

A New York City native, Pearl has remained in the Philadelphia area since graduating from Villanova. She began her career working in sales, marketing and operations in the life sciences pharmaceutical industry before launching Pearl’s Sales & Marketing Consultancy, in which she bolsters her clients’ success through strategic sales and marketing solutions. According to Pearl, the competitive spirit and dedication to excellence that were instilled during her time as a student-athlete at Villanova continue to define her approach as an entrepreneur and innovative marketing leader.


Dana Rao '91

Dana Rao '91

Dana Rao ’91 COE and his family have built a proud Villanova legacy spanning three generations. His father, S.S. Rao, PhD, served as Chair of the University’s Electrical Engineering Department, and some of his earliest memories involve the Wildcat community that both he and his daughter, Maya, would later become a part of as students and alumni.

As an undergraduate student at Villanova, Dana took full advantage of the many extracurricular opportunities available on campus. He wrote for The Villanovan student newspaper, hosted a DJ radio show and played intramural basketball—displaying a diversity of interests and passions that would define his varied career.

Upon graduation from Villanova, Dana worked briefly at GE Aerospace in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, as a Radio Frequency engineer, before taking his talents to California, pivoting to work for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and later in support of women’s issues for the State of California. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., he worked at the Department of Justice on Native American issues and earned his J.D. from George Washington University where he also met his wife, Aaron Aguas-Rao.

Upon becoming a Villanova parent, Dana was eager to get back on campus and re-involved with the University.

“I appreciate the values that Villanova brings of charity, integrity and excellence,” he said. “It’s these values that have contributed to the University’s strong reputation.”

Dana is grateful for the strong educational foundation Villanova provided him as an Electrical Engineering major, and still uses what he learned in the classroom today in his role of General Counsel at the computer software company, Adobe. He hosts Villanova students at Adobe each year as part of the University’s Villanova in the Valley immersion program—a weeklong experience that exposes students to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the center of global innovation and entrepreneurship.

As someone with a career path that has spanned several disciplines, Dana enjoys sharing his story with current students and reassuring those still seeking direction that persistence, more than anything, is the key to success. Through his mentorship, he has carried forth the Villanova tradition of opening doors for the next generation of Wildcats in California and beyond. 


Image of Michael Papile '86

Michael Papile '86

During his time at Villanova, Michael Papile ’86 CLAS forged enduring bonds with fellow students from his hometown of Boston. When he first came to the University in 1982, Michael recalls there weren’t many other students from Boston, so they got to know each other well and formed a community of peers. Michael believes his friendships with other Boston alumni have stood the test of time because of their shared Villanova values and experiences.

He has fostered Villanova pride in Boston by championing the University to potential students and encouraging alumni to get involved. He has hosted Wildcat Welcomes for new students, serving as the first point of contact with the wider Villanova community for many incoming families. Thanks to Michael’s example, there is an ever-growing number of Bostonian Villanova students who stay in touch with each other once they arrive on campus and as alumni—connections that are especially significant to Michael given the Boston region is filled with many other colleges and universities.

“When Villanovans cross paths up here, it is reason to pause, take note and explore the potential for a special relationship,” Michael said.

Michael also makes time to come back to campus. In February 2023, he returned for the University’s first Biotech Bootcamp, where he contributed his expertise on investing in the industry and networked with students who continue to benefit from his mentorship and professional guidance.

In keeping with the Villanova values that have guided Michael’s life and career, he believes deeply in mission-driven organizations. This led him, after a 35-year career in investment banking, to launch Hesperia Capital, a growth equity investment platform that supports mission-driven businesses. 


Stephen Camelio 10-31-23 resized

Steve Camelio ’96

Villanova guided Stephen Camelio ’96 CLAS to uncover his passions, forge new connections and find fulfillment by serving others. 

Stephen’s love of Villanova stems from fond childhood memories of watching Villanova Basketball with his father, Andrew Camelio ’65 CLAS. He was proud to follow in his father’s footsteps by attending Villanova. During Stephen’s time on campus, he developed his own Villanova connections and discovered new interests in Irish literature and film. 

Despite having never studied these subjects before attending Villanova, they became lifelong passions. After his graduation, Stephen pursued master’s degrees in English from New York University and Irish Literature from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.       

He believed the Villanova alumni network was essential in his career success as a freelance writer and editor at In Style magazine, and he paid it forward by speaking with students interested in joining the magazine industry. During his time in New York City, he also attended alumni events and annual basketball games at Madison Square Garden with fellow Wildcats, strengthening his Villanova network even further.

Stephen reached out to fellow alum Kelly McKendry ’94 CLAS, Founder and Chief Content Officer of August Point Productions, on LinkedIn to send a short script, starting a relationship that would result in them working together on the 2023 feature film, “Mending the Line.” Stephen said, “Once we connected, I saw Kelly possessed a great understanding of both the creative and business aspects of the film business, and I was excited to work with her and learn from her.”

According to Kelly, their shared Villanova background provided the foundation for their partnership. “I knew I was working with someone who had a strong work ethic and similar values,” Kelly said. “We became creative partners and, as a military brat myself, I was drawn to Stephen’s veteran story, ‘Mending the Line,’ as well as his other television and film scripts.”

Stephen and Kelly produced the film together, along with Scott MacLeod, Carl Effenson and Joshua Caldwell, and it premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival in September 2022. The script was largely inspired by Stephen’s father, who volunteered for the U.S. Army and went to Vietnam following his graduation from Villanova. He felt compelled to write the script during his father’s ten-year battle with cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. 

Stephen credits his shared Villanova experience with Kelly for their partnership and the ultimate success of the film. “Mending the Line” won a Big Sky Film grant from the state of Montana and a Valor Award at the 2022 San Diego International Film Festival. Because the film was made in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps, Stephen is now developing other projects based on books and true stories about legendary Marines in the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Stephen now lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife and two daughters. Despite the distance, he still follows Villanova basketball and tracks the university’s development. He is especially excited about the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts and the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center—both of which support causes close to his heart.

Stephen continues to feel inspired to give back to Villanova in honor of his father’s legacy, in gratitude for the passions his education provided him and in celebration of Villanova’s continued upward trajectory.




Charlie Crew ’73

Charlie Crew ’73 VSB is a true believer in putting Villanova’s mission into action. As an alum, Charlie truly embodies the University's Augustinian Catholic values of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas through his volunteerism and engagement with the greater Villanova community.

Charlie received his B.S. in Marketing from the Villanova School of Business, where he fell in love with the creative nature of marketing. He believes his marketing degree empowered him to think about business in a more interdisciplinary way. 

In reconnecting with the University, Charlie has been impressed by the progress made at Villanova, as both a campus and as a community. Charlie credits this to Villanova’s ongoing commitment to providing unique opportunities for students to become more globally-minded, intellectually curious and prepared to pursue a career they love. 

Charlie has felt inspired by LEVEL, a student group formed to bridge the gap between students with various abilities and disabilities. He enjoyed connecting with two Villanova students who are involved with LEVEL this past summer at the Double H Ranch in Luzerne, NY, where he serves as Chair of the Board. According to Charlie, LEVEL demonstrates how diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives strengthen the entire University community.

Charlie believes in the importance of alumni involvement in the University’s progress, and he knows the impact that an alum can have on campus today. Charlie gives back with The Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership, which serves as a hub of innovation in the Villanova School of Business for international curricular initiatives, faculty research, service and outreach activities. As a member of its advisory council since 2012, Charlie has brought in expertise from his global marketing career to help create more international opportunities for students. 

In addition to his work on campus, Charlie regularly participates in Advisory Council Professional Development in International Business (PDIB) service trips to other countries. Aside from his work in the Moran Center for Global Leadership, Charlie stays connected with Villanova by attending Men’s Basketball games, visiting campus and attending alumni events whenever he can.

For Charlie, “Real change comes from putting thoughts into action.” Charlie strongly encourages other alumni to consider how they can become involved at the University. As experienced members of the Villanova community, alumni have much to offer and share with today’s students. Charlie’s passion for inclusion and giving back reminds us that all Villanovans are connected by the University’s call to serve others.


John Constantine

John Constantine '73

The late John Constantine ’73 VSB brought the spirit of Villanova with him wherever he went, leading to a life of service to the University and to others.

During his four years as an undergraduate on campus, John was a member of the Villanova Band, a charter member of Villanova’s chapter of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and the Senior Dinner Dance Chairman. He developed countless connections on campus that he would cherish throughout his lifetime.

After graduation, John went on to have a successful career in business, including roles at Warner, Atari, Bondwell, General Electrics and Elite Industrial Group. Although his career took him all over the world, from London to Hong Kong, he eventually settled down with his wife, Debra, and two daughters, Alexandra ’09 CLAS and Jonna, in northern California.

As an alum, John felt it was important to foster the kind of special community that he discovered at Villanova on the West Coast. He became a founding member of the Villanova Club of Northern California, serving as President and President Emeritus, and enjoyed organizing events for local Villanovans such as game watches, annual wine tours to Napa Valley and “cheesesteak parties,” bringing a taste of Philadelphia to California. This year, John reconnected with his classmates as a member of the committee for his 50th reunion, but he sadly passed away before Reunion weekend.

John was passionate about introducing students to Villanova. He volunteered to represent and advocate for the University at several high school college fairs and hosted Wildcat Welcome events in California to introduce incoming students to Villanova. He also served his local community as a volunteer at the Claremont Country Club and the Ascension Cathedral’s Annual Golf Tournament and Greek Festival.

Since his passing, John’s family is committed to carrying on his passion for serving others. They recently donated a bench in Northern California in his memory with the inscription, “a warm heart, kind smile and loved by all.” In honor of his love for Villanova, John’s wife and daughters are partnering with University Advancement to fulfill his wishes to support student scholarships.

John’s legacy reminds us of what it means to be a Villanovan—to act compassionately, to serve others and to create a caring community. He will be deeply missed by every Villanovan whose life he touched through his dedication to the University, and his kindness will live on in the generations of Villanovans he inspired.


Sandra_Cagan_BW Spotlight

Sandra (Sandy) Cagan ’23 MPA

Sandra (Sandy) Cagan ’23 MPA discovered a like-minded community of intellectually curious individuals at Villanova where her own endless commitment to pursuing personal and professional goals fueled the next step of her academic journey.

During her undergraduate years, she worked full-time and attended night school to complete her B.S. in Legal Administration from Mallinckrodt College. However, as an ambitious lifelong learner, she long dreamed of attaining an advanced degree.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandy found herself with more time on her hands. After years of considering graduate school, this new-found free time motivated her to enroll in Villanova’s Master of Public Administration program.

Despite the virtual format, she found community through the program’s classes each week, which provided an opportunity to engage with a group of faculty and peers. Reflecting upon this experience, Sandy said, “Even as a distance-learning student, there was a real camaraderie with [the] faculty and my fellow students that is hard to put into words.”

Prior to her time at Villanova, Sandy began her career working as a paralegal. This led her to start her own company which provided continuing legal education for paralegals. Sandy later expanded her horizons into property management and development, which she continues today.

Upon turning 50, Sandy shifted her focus from professional development to her philanthropic pursuits, founding The Orlando Cat Café. The first of its kind in the state of Florida, the unique coffee house features a play area with adoptable cats and kittens. Sandy shared that this venture has proven successful beyond her wildest expectations, welcoming more than 150,000 guests from around the world and ultimately finding homes for over 2,000 cats. This success has allowed Sandy to donate substantially to SPCA Florida.

Sandy recently completed her MPA and continues to serve as the senior vice president for Cagan Management Group, a position she has held for over 25 years.

Sandy looks forward to sharing her passion for learning with Villanova students next spring as a guest lecturer in an Entrepreneurship course taught by MPA program faculty member Lauren Miltenberger, PhD. From the classroom at Villanova to the Cat Café in Florida, Sandy has always been committed to igniting change at the University—and in her community.

JULY 2023


The Savino Family

Each summer as our newest class of Villanovans prepares for their first year on campus, the University hosts “Wildcat Welcome” events at the homes of alumni and parents across the country to introduce incoming students and families to the Villanova community.

There are more than a thousand Villanovans who would remember receiving this warm welcome at the home of Bill ’71 VSB and Barbara ’71 FCN Savino, who hosted the Long Island event for over 25 years. According to the couple, it was one of the great honors of their lives to meet young Villanovans and send them on their way. This month, their daughter, Carrie Packard ’99 CLAS, will take the reins for the second year in a row to welcome first-year students.

The Savino family’s Villanova story began 50 years ago when Bill and Barbara met in then brand-new Good Counsel Hall, built to house the first class of female nursing students on campus. Bill had volunteered as a Blue Key tour guide to welcome students and stepped in to assist Barbara and her mother as they struggled to carry her bags during move-in. The couple began dating and went on to marry and have three children, followed by eight grandchildren.

Since their time as undergraduates, both Bill and Barbara have continued to foster connection and growth within the Villanova community. In addition to hosting the Long Island Wildcat Welcome, Bill served on the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) Board of Directors for four years before serving a term as president. He also helped found the Club of Long Island Scholarship Golf Outing, which currently funds two student scholarships. According to Bill, Villanova taught him and Barbara to “participate in life”—a sentiment they have passed down to their children.

Carrie is proud to build upon her parents’ Villanova legacy, and still recalls vividly the excitement she felt when her parents hosted the Wildcat Welcome prior to her first year at Villanova.

“Families come to Wildcat Welcomes at such a special moment in time, as children are headed off to college,” Carrie said. “There is so much excitement for what lies ahead, and I’m grateful to be a part of that—it’s a lot of fun!”

Like her parents, Carrie believes in Villanova’s mission, rooted in the Augustinian values of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas. She said these three guiding principles resonated with her from the moment she began writing her admissions essay to her time now as an alumna. As a student, Carrie took part in philanthropic activities, volunteering with Special Olympics as well as a fall break mission trip.

Villanova has served as a catalyst for connection and community for the Savino family, and they remain committed to ensuring this experience for future generations of Villanovans. 

JUNE 2023


Mary Kelly, PhD, ’83

Mary Kelly, PhD, ’83 VSB, has felt the positive influence of the Villanova community since her first day on campus. She spent the early years of her Villanova experience immersing herself in everything the University had to offer, including social and academic groups which allowed her network to grow. It is this strong sense of community that has kept Mary closely tied to the University. 

Not only has she been employed at Villanova for more than 25 years, but she also serves as associate chair of the Economics Department and prides herself on acting as a mentor and advisor to students.

“Through my work as a professor, I have enjoyed working with our students in and out of the classroom to help prepare them for what lies ahead after graduation,” Mary said. 

Over the years, she has authored hundreds of letters of recommendation for students and alumni. She also acts as the faculty advisor for the Women in Business society, which hosts events that connect alumni with current students as they prepare to enter the professional world following graduation. 

Mary’s passion and care for teaching have led to significant recognition over the last ten years. Since 2013, she has been the recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Outstanding Teaching (2013), the VSB Dougherty Award for Excellence in Teaching (2018) and the VSB External Engagement Award (2021).

In addition, Mary spends her time as a faculty member working with students on research that focuses on the impact industry structure and public policy, specifically regulation, have on costs and prices. Another one of her research interests is examining how different work arrangements affect quality of life and job satisfaction. 

The Villanova community Mary joined over 40 years ago continues to impact her life to this day. She married a fellow Villanovan, Rob Kelly ’82 VSB, and the couple has three children: Madeline, Conor, and Siobhan ’19 VSB. She has been a Men’s Basketball season ticket holder since 1985, and she regularly attends other Villanova Athletics and volunteer events throughout the year. She looks forward to continuing to do her part at Villanova to cultivate a close-knit sense of community through her teaching, research and family.

APRIL 2023

Steve Myers '95 VSB

Cameron Cook '18 '22 MBA 

Cameron Cook ’18 FCN, ’22 MBA, may not have taken the most straightforward path to Villanova, but his experiences at the University left a lasting impact on his life. Cameron spent the first two years of college at another university before deciding to pursue a career in nursing, and he says he could not have made a better decision than choosing Villanova’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing for his education. While changing schools was intimidating, Cameron was impressed with the way Villanova embraces transfer students. The dedication to making prospective students and their families feel welcome by University leadership was the deciding factor in Cameron’s choice to transfer to Villanova.

Cameron emulates that welcoming spirit by staying involved with the University and sharing his experience with future Villanova nurses. He regularly speaks at Villanova Nursing events for the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP). Cameron recently joined the young alumni board for the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing to encourage recent graduates to stay involved with the University.

Cameron greatly values the relationships he built with faculty and staff during his time as a student. Through his involvement with SNAP, he met Carol Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF, associate professor and adviser for Villanova’s SNAP chapter, and was able to attend a National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) conference in Nashville—an event that inspired him to pursue his MBA. These experiences helped Cameron kick off his nursing career and path toward healthcare innovation.

In Cameron’s current role as an Inpatient Oncology Nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he often runs into fellow Villanova nurses and alumni, reminding him of the special Villanova pride that extends beyond campus and fosters relationships. He is a founding member of the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL), which advances nurses’ contributions to healthcare innovation. Cameron recently completed his MBA at Villanova and plans to move into the digital health and health technology field. Now six years removed from his decision to transfer to Villanova, Cameron reflects on his experiences: “I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career without the generosity of Villanova University.”

MARCH 2023

Steve Myers '95 VSB

Steve Myers '95

From the moment Steve Myers ’95 VSB set foot on campus, he knew Villanova was a special place. Steve felt welcomed by the tight-knit community of students, faculty and staff members—all of whom left a lasting impression on him far beyond his four years as a student.

After Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, he was proud to see his brother Jeremy and sister Kelsey follow in his footsteps, graduating from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Steve cherishes this special bond he and his siblings have through Villanova and hopes their children will one day share the same desire to join the University community.

Steve and his siblings support Villanova through the Myers Family Endowed Scholarship, created in honor of University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, to support students in need of financial aid. The Myers family has also played a part in the success of 1842 Day, the University’s annual day of giving. They first developed The Myers Family Challenge in 2021, a fundraising campaign meant to inspire giving among Villanovans to support scholarships. They again offered a successful southeast challenge for 1842 Day in 2022.

Steve also stays involved with Villanova by regularly attending events through his Regional Club in Florida and networking with Villanovans through the Villanova University Financial Club. He has also maintained lifelong friendships with his classmates and attended both the 2016 and 2018 Men’s Basketball National Championships as well as the Final Four in 2022. Steve still makes a point to visit campus throughout the year for basketball games at the Finneran Pavilion and to meet with Father Peter who was his theatre professor during his time at Villanova.

After graduation, Steve began his career in cable television and telecommunications, first working for his family business, the US Cable Corporation, which had become one of the largest privately-held cable companies in the country. He then became a shareholder in Smart City Holdings, LLC, which provided telephone and internet services for the Walt Disney World complex and surrounding communities. The company became the nation’s leading telecom and internet provider to major convention centers across the country. In 2004, he stepped away from the industry and moved to Florida to manage his family’s various real estate holdings. In 2013, he founded Myers Auto Group which owns various car dealerships throughout Florida.

Steve and his wife, Kerri, have three children, Stephen III, Olivia and Sophia. Regardless how far he has come in life and his career, Villanova will always hold a special place in Steve’s heart. “When people ask where I went to school, I’m proud to say I’m a Villanova Wildcat,” Steve said. “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”


Britney Davis '15 COE

Britney Davis '15

Britney Davis ’15 COE made the most of her time at Villanova through her involvement in a variety of student activities, ranging from Blue Key to the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. She has always kept herself open to new opportunities and encourages current students to do the same.

As an undergraduate, Britney and her classmates revived the University’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). They created professional development workshops, hosted social events and fundraisers and traveled to conferences. The group cultivated a support network that continues to benefit Villanova engineering students to this day. Britney remains connected with the chapter by providing event support, speaking on panels and connecting students with alumni.

Britney is passionate about ensuring that the next generation of Villanovans understand that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers are for everyone. She lends her time and talents to the College of Engineering through the Career Compass mentor program and as a member of the Young Alumni Board (E15). In recognition of her work to promote equity in the field of engineering, Britney received the College’s Gary A. Gabriele Memorial Award in 2022.

“I know firsthand what it is like to enter a new chapter of your life and not fully understand the options ahead of you. I have tried to show the presence of alumni so students know that we exist and can connect with us in a variety of ways,” she says.

Britney is also a member of the Villanova University Black Alumni (VUBA) affinity network. She first began volunteering with VUBA in 2020 as the group’s student liaison lead. She deepened her engagement by assisting with planning and organizing VUBA’s events on campus and managing the group’s social media presence.

Engineering has taken Britney—a Philadelphia native—across the country and back, and her engineering degree has proved useful in a variety of roles, including process engineering, production supervision and nonprofit work. Most recently, Britney assumed the role of Senior Project Lead at Dana Incorporated.  

“I am a firm believer in showing up,” Britney says. “Being open to all the opportunities available to me at Villanova allowed me to see that I can create opportunities for myself anywhere in the world.”

Britney looks forward to continuing to challenge herself with new experiences and bringing her Villanova attitude with her wherever life takes her next.


Kristina Ruiz-Mesa and Gianmarc Grazioli

Kristina Ruiz-Mesa, PhD, ’05, ’07 MA and Gianmarc Grazioli, PhD, ’02, ’07 MS

According to Kristina Ruiz-Mesa, PhD, ’05 CLAS, ’07 MA and Gianmarc Grazioli, PhD, ’02 CLAS, ’07 MS, Villanova University is a place where transformation occurs. Kristina and Gianmarc met at the University as undergraduate students and were married in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church in 2006.

“Taking classes at Villanova honed our critical thinking skills and exposed us to new ideas and ways of understanding who we are, who we could be and how we must work together to improve the lives of those around us,” the couple said.

Outside of the classroom, they were members of several student groups that played integral roles in their college experiences. Their shared love of music brought them together in 2001 as part of the Pastoral Musicians. Kristina also sang with the Villanova Voices and Haveners, while Gianmarc participated in the Villanova Singers and Spires.  Through these groups, the couple had the opportunity to sing throughout the U.S. and Europe and met many of their closest friends.

Kristina and Gianmarc believe the University’s core Augustinian Catholic values of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas embedded in their Villanova experience have guided them in their professional paths as university professors and researchers. They give back by doing all they can to support incoming and current Villanovans, including their involvement with the St. Thomas of Villanova Scholars (STOVS) program.

Kristina founded STOVS in 2008 while working for Villanova’s current Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Terry Nance, PhD. STOVS is a pre-college bridge program that offers incoming first-year students the opportunity to live and study on campus for several weeks to get a jumpstart on their college careers. Since its creation, the STOVS program has supported more than 250 students. Kristina served as STOVS program director from its founding until 2018, while Gianmarc has taught several math sections for the program.

More recently, they have remained engaged through Kristina’s work as a member of the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) Board of Directors, as well as by attending Villanova alumni events in California. 

Based in Irvine, California, Kristina is now an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, while Gianmarc is an Assistant Professor of Computational Chemistry at San José State University. They enjoy spending time with their dog, Lalo, and going for drives along the Pacific Coast Highway.


Thomas Cowhey and his wife, Lorraine

Thomas Cowhey '78, '85

Thomas Cowhey ’78 COE, ’85 VSB remains committed to the University because of the profound impact Villanova has had on his life.

“Many things make this place so special, but in looking back it is the people that come most to mind—especially the faculty, my classmates and my friends,” Thomas said. “Each made valuable and lasting impressions that helped shape and influence my life in meaningful ways.”

Thomas has stayed engaged with Villanova by volunteering with the College of Engineering Career Compass Program, a one-of-a-kind professional development curriculum that is a requirement for all undergraduate engineering students. Beginning their sophomore year, students receive one-on-one mentorship from Villanova Engineering alumni to help define their individual career paths.

According to Thomas, giving back to the University is his way of showing how grateful he is for the education, friendships, opportunities and experiences he’s had here, and preserving and sustaining Villanova for future generations of students. He made lifelong friends both during his time on campus and by connecting with fellow Villanovans after graduation.

Thomas also attended graduate school at the Villanova School of Business which enabled him to pursue a gratifying career in the investment industry. After living for many years in Philadelphia, Thomas and his wife, Lorraine, now split their time between their residence in Harwich, Mass., and Palm Beach, Fla. 


Stephanie Lim Capello with family

Stephanie Lim Capello '97 

As president of the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) Board of Directors, Stephanie Lim Capello ’97 CLAS leads the Board’s efforts to provide counsel, ideas and networking opportunities to the Office of Alumni Relations. Her reengagement with the University began through her former role as chief operating officer for the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA, through which she partnered with her alma mater to provide opportunities for Scouts to grow in areas, including business, STEM and athletics. She was invited to join the VUAA Board in 2018 and began her two-year term as president in May 2022.

In addition to her position on the VUAA Board, Stephanie has supported the University, her fellow alumni and students by serving as an 1842 Day Ambassador, Reunion Class Committee volunteer, VUAA Leadership Summit panelist, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council member. She celebrated her 25th Villanova Reunion in 2022 where she had the opportunity to spend time with lifelong friends from Katherine Hall and Alpha Chi Omega sorority.

“Villanova feels like home to me,” Stephanie said. “I want to ensure that future generations receive that experience as well. The University has come a long way since I graduated and I’m committed to being a part of that continued positive change and transformation.”

Stephanie was profoundly impacted during her time at Villanova by two faculty members who left imprints on her conscience that have guided her through key life decisions. She says the late Dick Jackman’s legacy of empowering women as leaders lives on not only in her, but also in the countless other female leaders he mentored. As a first generation Asian American, Stephanie also remains inspired by Terry Nance, PhD, Villanova’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer and Dr. Nance’s tireless pursuit of advancing these ideals through education, training, advocacy, conversation and experience.

When asked if she had advice for fellow Villanovans, Stephanie said, “Be unapologetic in the pursuit of what you want. Too many times we apologize for putting our goals first, especially women. Remember how wildly capable you are. Take what you’ve learned and use it to fuel your passion and ignite the change you want to see in our world.”

In Stephanie’s current professional role, she oversees marketing, communications, public relations, sales, admissions and business development for ESF Camps & Experiences. Stephanie resides in Havertown with her husband, Charlie, children Max (16) and Ryan (14) and their dog Izzy.


Connor and Kait Dwyer with family

Connor '07 and Kait Gula Dwyer '07

From their years on campus as students to being wed by University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA at St. Thomas of Villanova Church, Connor ’07 VSB and Kait Gula Dwyer ’07 VSB have remained connected with Villanova and committed to giving back to the University that forged and defined their beliefs.

During their time at Villanova, Kait was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Connor played Men’s Lacrosse, serving as captain for two seasons. He also received the Jim Jones Award, given annually to a player that exemplifies loyalty, courage and dedication both on and off the field. Through their experiences at the University, the couple built lifelong friendships.

As loyal alumni, Connor and Kait believe in devoting their time and talents to Villanova and have supported multiple scholarship endeavors that include the Men’s Lacrosse program, the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members, the Villanova Financial Club (VUFC), the Villanova School of Business and the Career Center. Through his role as a trader at CitiFX, Connor also seeks to pay forward the success he’s achieved thanks to Villanova by hiring and supporting fellow alumni. Although they are no longer in the Philadelphia area, the Dwyer’s enjoy spending time with the Villanova community at game watches, including the 2018 Men’s Basketball National Championship season while they were living in London.

After graduation, Connor served in the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Captain, and has also traded across CitiFX’s franchises in New York, Tokyo and London. Kait spent the first few years of her career working in New York City and Philadelphia before starting their family of future Wildcats. Today, Connor and Kait split their time between New York City and Westhampton Beach with their three girls, Emma, Sophie and Lottie.


Pete Geraghty '87 VSB, P '22  pictured with family

Pete Geraghty '87, P '22

Pete Geraghty ’87 VSB, P '22 has found that the most special part of being a Villanovan is the welcoming and supportive network of fellow Wildcats. Pete feels fortunate for the education he received at Villanova and gives back to the University to provide others with the same opportunity.

He stays involved with the Villanova community by serving on the Villanova School of Business (VSB) Finance Department’s Advisory Council, participating in VSB mentoring programs, and frequently attending Villanova events in Washington, D.C. Pete’s legacy also continues through the creation of an endowed scholarship to support today’s students

According to Pete, “A Villanovan will always greet you as if you have been a lifelong friend and will always be willing to help you”—a sentiment embodied by an extraordinary story he shared from his daughter’s birth at Georgetown University Hospital.

Katie was born prematurely at 26 weeks. Pete commented to the nurse that it was ironic he was counting on Georgetown, Villanova’s biggest basketball rival in the 1980s and 1990s, to take care of their daughter. The nurse smiled and told him that Katie was in good hands because she was a Villanova nurse. Pete and his wife Susan were comforted knowing that a member of the Villanova family would be looking after their daughter. It was this experience that led them to endow a scholarship at the Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. 

The Geraghtys reside in McLean, VA, where Pete is a senior counsel at Goldman Sachs and Susan is a senior counsel at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Katie will leverage her Villanova undergraduate degrees in Geography and Environmental Science to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Michigan this coming fall.

JULY 2022

Kevin Fogash '92 headshot

Kevin Fogash '92

Kevin Fogash ‘92 COE understands the lasting impact of a Villanova education long after graduation. He says the Villanova community and Augustinian values of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas molded him into the versatile individual and engineer he is today.

His experience at Villanova helped Kevin develop into an engineer who finds solutions by leveraging all parts of himself and others, including their logic, humanity, motivation and spirit.

Kevin stays involved with Villanova and is proud to support the institution that helped him grow both professionally and personally. “I strongly believe in what the University is doing and in how it is moving forward,” Kevin said.

His involvement includes being a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Board for over seven years, supporting events like 1842 Day, building and sharing the benefits of the Villanova network and, of course, cheering on the Wildcats at all Villanova Athletics events.

Kevin currently leads the global Product Stewardship and Process Technology groups at Celanese, a global leader in the production of chemistry solutions and specialty materials. He says he has been lucky to travel the world for work and engage with many different cultures, including participating in Mass in a multitude of languages. Kevin resides with his wife in Houston, Texas; the couple has two children who are currently in college. 


Sarah Schwartz '11
Executive Director, Regional Development