Villanova University Appoints Wen Mao, PhD, as the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business

Villanova University Appoints Wen Mao, PhD, as the Helen and William O’Toole Dean  of the Villanova School of Business

VILLANOVA, Pa. (March 29, 2023) – Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Wen Mao, PhD, as the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business (VSB), effective August 1. Dr. Mao’s career spans more than three decades and encompasses roles as an academician, scholar and administrator. This key appointment is the result of a rigorous national search led by a committee of faculty, administrators, students and alumni.

“Given Dr. Mao’s long and productive history as a Villanova faculty member, coupled with her deep understanding of Villanova’s distinctive Augustinian approach to education, it quickly became clear that she was the right candidate to lead VSB,” said University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “Provost Patrick Maggitti and I look forward to working with Dean Mao in her new leadership role.”

A faculty member at the Villanova School of Business since 1995, Dr. Mao has held numerous leadership roles at VSB and currently serves as its Vice Dean. In this role, she has oversight of all aspects of VSB’s academic and day-to-day operations. She previously served as the school’s associate dean of faculty and as chair of the Department of Economics. Through her more than 15 years in leadership, Dr. Mao has had a key role in strengthening the undergraduate and graduate student experience, supporting increased faculty research productivity, and furthering the strategic mission of the school and university.

Dr. Mao has a long history of supporting and advancing faculty excellence within VSB. Since 2017, she has been involved in the recruitment and retention of dozens of faculty members. She has also shepherded critical improvements related to faculty administration, increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and equity of key processes such as annual evaluation, rank and tenure, and onboarding. Dr. Mao championed and implemented numerous initiatives that helped increase funding for research and teaching excellence and innovation. She also has made significant contributions to Villanova as a member of the University’s Academic Policy Committee, Data Governance Board, Asian Studies Committee, University Council for Information Technology and the Provost’s Search Committee.

An advocate of inclusive community building, Dr. Mao has been integral in fostering global learning experiences at VSB, helping to establish the school’s first study abroad program in Asia in the 1990s and played a major role in VSB’s successful recruitment of more underrepresented faculty, staff and students. In recent years, Dr. Mao has directed the School’s Asian Internship program, an immersive learning experience that places VSB students in nine-week internships with global firms in cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

“I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the next Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business,” said Dr. Mao. “Villanova is a special place for me. I have great pride for what our community has collectively achieved, and I am eager to continue serving VSB in this new capacity. I look forward to working closely with our faculty, staff, students and alumni—all of whom share my deep commitment to our Augustinian Catholic mission and values—to envision the next great chapter in VSB’s history.”

As a scholar, Dr. Mao focuses her research on game theory, public finance, micro theory and industrial organization. Her work has been published in leading journals including Managerial and Decision Economics, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Japanese Economic Review and International Journal of Game Theory.

“Our search for a new dean focused on finding a collaborative, strategic leader who champions innovative teaching and research, demonstrates an unwavering commitment to student success, and has the ability to engage our faculty, students, staff and alumni in envisioning the future of business education,” said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “Dr. Mao brings all of these qualities, plus a deep understanding of what distinguishes a VSB education, to her new role. I am confident that with Dr. Mao as its leader, VSB will continue to advance its standing as an institution of excellence and increase its impact as it produces leaders who drive positive change.”

As the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business, Dr. Mao will serve as the chief administrator of the college, providing vision and leadership for its long-term strategic and academic planning, faculty research and teaching innovation; strengthening the student experience; promoting community and industry outreach and partnerships; providing financial oversight; and overseeing fundraising and alumni relations.

Dr. Mao earned a BA in management from Shanghai Maritime Institute (People’s Republic of China) and an MA and PhD in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) undergraduate program is top ranked among business schools in the nation and is celebrating its 100th year of excellence in business education in the 2022-2023 academic year. Its online graduate business programs are ranked No. 3, and its online MBA program is ranked No. 9 by U.S. News and World Report. VSB has been at the forefront of business education since it was founded in 1922. Serving over 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students, VSB is home to five Centers of Excellence—the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate, the Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership, the Center for Business Analytics, the Center for Marketing and Consumer Insights and the Center for Church Management—with each designed to foster innovative, cross-disciplinary research and applied opportunities for students. VSB is known for academic rigor; creativity and innovation; hands-on and service-learning opportunities; a firm grounding in ethics; and an applied education that prepares students to become outstanding leaders and global citizens within the ever-changing, complex and fast-paced world of business. For more, visit

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