At Villanova's College of Professional Studies, we believe life experience is the kindling to the brightest futures.
We believe the past is a launch pad.
We believe today is the day to change course, pivot to an alternate adventure, become who you've always said you'd become.
And we're here to help you fulfill that promise.
MEET CAROLINA CHIRIBOGA DEHAAN
Carolina Chiriboga DeHaan worked full time at Bank of America in the Philadelphia area while earning her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Leadership from the College of Professional Studies. The College’s flexible curriculum allowed DeHaan to complete her degree online when she moved to New York after her promotion to become the Vice President of Preferred Retail and Small Business Banking at Bank of America.
Aside from working sometimes 50-60 hours a week while taking classes, DeHaan had to readjust to being a student again. DeHaan says, “It’s not like I graduated from high school and then attended college. I was 30 years old. I realized I had to take baby steps and get my feet wet and get my routine in place. My father has always said to me that there are two types of people in life: ‘those who let things happen and those who make things happen.’ I chose to make things happen!”
The Villanova community made that transition back to school much easier. “They are very involved in making sure that you feel that you're one hundred percent part of Villanova. It's a very community-centric university,” DeHaan says. “They were more than accommodating, helpful and even encouraging of me taking a position in New York City. They helped me adapt to a new city and a new business while I finished my degree.”
DeHaan, who was a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society at Villanova, recently advanced to a new position with a more global scope with Bank of America. She now serves as the Vice President for Client Experience Research and Strategy in Seattle – a promotion she attributes, in part, to her studies at Villanova. “My hiring manager was really interested in Villanova and learning about the College’s BIS in Leadership program, DeHaan says. “My experience at Villanova made all the difference in my interview.”
MEET RON TEDESCO
For Ron Tedesco, his college journey started with a burning desire to be a role model for his two daughters. He wanted nothing more than to provide them with every opportunity life has to offer, to show them what it takes to navigate this world, and to lead by example.
The single father remembers sitting in his first class at Villanova and thinking, “How can I come here twice a week for several hours for the next decade?” But as Tedesco relates, “My desire took over, and I simply took it one night at a time. Make no mistake, this was no easy task. I was awake since the crack of dawn, I already packed lunches, got the kids off to school, spent the entire day at work, and now I’m looking at another 3½ hours in class – followed by the ride home, some brief quality time with my girls before getting them to bed, eating dinner, maybe starting a little homework, and probably passing out on the couch while watching some mindless television. Only to wake up and start all over again. I did this for eight years straight. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
Tedesco graduated in May 2019 with his Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Information Systems. He is now the Director of Information Technology at National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans and also works part time for the National Football League as a member of the Injury Video Review team.
His desire burned so bright at Villanova that he was chosen to be his class’s Commencement Speaker. As he says in his speech, “We traveled here night after night, working together, and learning from one another. We dug deep, time and time again, finding motivation even when we thought we had nothing left to give. We did whatever it took to keep going. We are driven, we are resilient, and we are strong. We are the product of this incredible learning experience.”
MEET DANA OWENS
The journey was long, but for Dana Owens, her 10-year path to her degree was filled with success, setbacks and new destinations. Owens delayed the start of her college career to raise her son, but once she enrolled in the College of Professional Studies, she worked hard and took advantage of College resources to earn her degree and boost her career along the way. “Balancing life, education and work was a challenge,” Owens says, “but the professors are so encouraging. They help you get through anything and are super available.”
The Dean’s List and Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society student took two non-credit HR certification courses to earn credentials to advance her career, even as she worked toward her Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Leadership. Owen’s academic success led her to be the CPS Commencement Speaker when she graduated in 2018. Today, Owens is an HR Manager at Canada Life Reinsurance, and is furthering her education in Villanova’s Master of Science program in Human Resource Development.
“One of my favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done,’” Owens says. “I really did not think it would possible to get my degree, to finish my journey, but I did it with the help of staff, peers and everyone who was there along the way … family, friends … I’m here. It wasn’t impossible.”
MEET LINDSEY KLEMYK
Lindsey Klemyk holds a significant distinction in the history of Villanova’s College of Professional Studies—she is the first graduate to complete her bachelor’s degree fully online.
Klemyk lives in Southington, Connecticut, and was promoted at the start of 2019 to Director; Strategy, Technology & Operational Effectiveness at Aetna. After earning an associate’s degree at Post University in 2013, Klemyk started at Villanova in 2015 and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Leadership in 2018. This mother of young twin girls was a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society and was presented with the College’s Grit Award for her passion, persistence and commitment to her education. Although she was an online student, Klemyk made the trip to Villanova for the College’s Awards dinner and for Commencement with her husband and daughters. Shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree, she received a promotion.
“Villanova allowed me to create a network of other working professionals and the classes were relevant to the work I was doing. It was nice to share stories and work through issues with people who might have faced something similar at their job. This online program is unlike any other I’ve encountered, it’s truly a community. Not only did my professional network expand, but I created some lifelong friendships.”
MEET WILLIE ABNEY
Willie Abney’s Villanova story is one of passion and persistence. He attended Villanova for three years in the early 1980s before leaving to serve in the Air Force. He later built a career with SEPTA, but his Villanova experience stayed with him.
Although he had a successful career, Abney wanted to finish his degree. There was only one place for him. “I’ve always been a Villanovan from the time I left to the time I came back,” Abney says. The road back was long. He had to take several prerequisite courses, and then enrolled in the College of Professional Studies to complete his remaining credits. “The difference this time was my determination to follow through and set an example for my five children and grandchildren,” he says, “and my willingness to ask for help rather than struggle alone.”
Abney earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2016 as part of the first class of CPS graduates, but that was not the end of his Villanova story—Abney graduated with his MBA from the Villanova School of Business this summer. Says Abney, “Tomorrow’s challenges are being addressed today by Villanova’s College of Professional Studies and I’m proud to be a part of its continued success.”