MarySheila McDonald appointed John F. Scarpa Professor of Entrepreneurship at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law


Mark C. Alexander, The Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, has appointed MarySheila McDonald as the new John F. Scarpa Professor of Entrepreneurship. A leader, scholar and innovator, she comes to Villanova from the La Salle University School of Business where she served as dean since 2017.

In this newly created role, McDonald will expand and support the practice and study of entrepreneurship at the Law School and University. Her role includes developing curricula addressing topics of concern to entrepreneurs and their lawyers; taking a leading role in student mentorship; providing more experiential opportunities for students; collaborating across the University with Villanova’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute and School of Business for programming; and teaching courses related to the intersection of business, law and entrepreneurship.

“In MarySheila we’ve found a true teacher-scholar, thought-leader and change-agent,” said Dean Alexander. “Her expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation—not to mention her background in the law—will bring the skills and thinking necessary to propel the Center, Law School and University forward through her interdisciplinary and collaborative approach. She possesses an innovative spirit and vision for legal education which will prove invaluable as the Law School continues to evolve.”

McDonald’s appointment is part of a $15 million gift from the John F. Scarpa Foundation. The gift expands the John F. Scarpa Center for Entrepreneurship and Law’s scope to serve students and scholars across the entire University through its broad portfolio of academic and programmatic offerings designed to spark innovation and enhance the ability of Villanova students and budding entrepreneurs to make meaningful contributions to the world.

McDonald has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels related to the legal environment of business, covering such topics as entrepreneurship, intellectual property, social responsibility and business formation. She is an award-winning lawyer-teacher with a significant record of curricular development, program creation and a deep knowledge of experiential learning. Her research interests include the legal implications of social media use on employment decisions, corporate governance and financial literacy. McDonald has been a champion of programmatic innovations, interdisciplinary collaboration and expansion of experiential and professional learning opportunities for students.

McDonald received her BA from the College of the Holy Cross and earned her JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law.  She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar.

About Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law: Founded in 1953, the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, offers six in-house clinics and more than 150 externship opportunities that immerse students in the real-world application of their legal skills. Villanova is home to Centers of Excellence—the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy; the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance, the John F. Scarpa Center for Entrepreneurship and Law; and the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law—which provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience and mentorship.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been 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—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit