The Villanova alumnae who gathered in the Finneran Pavilion one evening in November represented an array of life experiences. They were teachers, surgeons, researchers, nurses, artists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Some were recent graduates, while others had been students here decades ago, representing the era when women had first been fully admitted to Villanova.
Yet the women all shared one aspect of their life stories—they had once been Villanova student-athletes. They had trained, competed, studied and excelled as Wildcats, and that experience had shaped their lives. At a gala that November evening, it was a time to bring together the generations of women athletes who have woven their stories into the rich fabric of the Villanova athletic tradition over the past 50 years. A time to celebrate all they have achieved, and the community that has supported them along the way.
“At heart, being an athlete is about having ambition. It’s about having a vision for yourself and your team. It’s about working hard, overcoming obstacles and striving to be your best self. All while elevating your team and those around you,” said Nnenna Lynch ’93 CLAS, a Track and Cross Country All-American and Rhodes Scholar who is now a Villanova Trustee, in her keynote address at the 50th anniversary celebration. “To have the health, energy and talent to participate, let alone the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level, is an amazing gift. And It’s a particular honor to represent this institution.”
Built over the decades by dedicated athletes, coaches and University leaders from a handful of teams into a powerhouse that has won national championships and earned countless accolades, more than 300 women are now Villanova student-athletes on 13 teams.
“There is so much history around our women’s athletic programs at Villanova, as well as incredible accomplishments. We celebrate these amazing women every day,” says Mark Jackson, director of Athletics.