Nova-Worthy | Villanova Magazine | Villanova University



Close-up of the iconic clock tower of Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana against a bright blue sky

From New Orleans to Villanova

Villanova has become the 59th partner institution of The Posse Foundation, one of the nation’s premier college access, success and youth leadership development programs. Founded in 1989, Posse recruits groups of high-achieving students with academic and leadership potential from cities around the country, and then works with its college and university partners to place the groups of students—called Posse Scholars—at each institution.

Villanova has committed to provide 10 Posse Scholars per year from the New Orleans, La., area with full-tuition scholarships, as well as academic, social and professional development support. The first cohort of Posse students will enroll at Villanova in fall 2020.

“Villanova has found in The Posse Foundation a strategic partner whose values closely align with our own. We each believe in the transformative strength of community and the importance of developing leaders from all walks of life who can go on to positively impact the world,” says University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS.

Boosting Inclusiveness in STEM Fields

Villanova has received a $3 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to support the advancement of women and underrepresented faculty in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Led by the project’s principal investigator, Amanda Grannas, PhD, associate vice provost for Research and professor of Chemistry, a multidisciplinary team will explore and address how institutions like Villanova can increase participation of women and underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields, with the goal of providing a model that other colleges and universities may follow.

A glass dropper depositing a drop of liquid in one of several clear glass tubes full of a light blue liquid

New Center Aims for Medical Breakthroughs

On the leading edge of research into gene therapy and its implications for the treatment of cancer and other diseases, Villanova’s College of Engineering has launched NovaCell, the Center for Cellular Engineering. The NovaCell lab will use state-of-the-art equipment and systems to explore personalized medicine, in which a patient’s own cells can be genetically modified to fight disease.

A Villanova Women’s Field Hockey player on the field engaged in play against a player from Connecticut

Field Hockey Returns to the Big East Tournament

The Wildcats punched a ticket for the Big East semifinals when they defeated Old Dominion via shoot-out decision 2–1. It was the team’s first appearance in the Big East tournament since 2015. Junior Abby Siana was named to the Big East All-Tournament team on the strength of her performance, netting a goal in the game. She had seven goals on the season, during which she was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week.

Behavioral Research Lab Enables Collaboration

Located in Bartley Hall, the new Laboratory for the Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research provides a physical space for Villanova School of Business faculty and students to conduct research studies using surveys, interviews, focus groups and other primary sources. Its state-of-the-art tools for data collection also make LAIR a valuable resource for course projects that require primary data collection and other activities that call for cutting-edge research practices.

Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award recipient Bryan Stevenson in a suit speaking at a podium

Hope for Bettering the World

Villanova recently honored individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition and to justice and peace.

The Civitas Dei Medal was awarded to Cardinal Walter Kasper, theologian and president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for his more than six decades of work advancing the Catholic Church’s ecumenical engagement and fostering dialogue with other world religions.

The Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award was presented to Bryan Stevenson who, as the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has advocated tirelessly on behalf of the marginalized and condemned. Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, was the 2018 One Book Villanova selection.

Two Villanova Men’s Indoor Track and Field team members running with two other runners close behind them

Run, Swim, Dive, Swish, Win

Four Villanova teams have added to their dominant runs in the conference with BigEast team titles.

Women’s Indoor Track and Field won its record 16th team championship while recording the highest score in the meet’s history. The Wildcats won nine individual events, including a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the mile race.

Men’s Indoor Track and Field dashed to its own team championship, the team’s fifth title in six seasons.

The Women’s Swimming and Diving team ruled the pool again, securing its sixth straight Big East Championship.

The Men’s Basketball team also won a Big East Tournament trophy, defeating Seton Hall, 74–72, to secure its record-setting third consecutive Big East title.

Studying Like Champions

Villanova student-athletes—consistently ranked among of the nation’s best for their combination of academic and athletic success—have continued their record of academic achievement.

In November, the NCAA released new Graduation Success Rate data, which shows the proportion of student-athletes on a team who earn a college degree. The NCAA’s report showed that all Villanova athletic programs had a GSR that beat the national average for their sports, and 12 teams recorded perfect 100 GSR scores.

A closer look at the teams’ other strong academic stats show they score high across the board:

3.286 cumulative GPA of Villanova student-athletes

17 student-athletes with a perfect 4.0 GPA

31 consecutive semesters with a student-athlete GPA greater than 3.0

8 consecutive semesters with a GPA above 3.2

380 student-athletes named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll

Hands holding a bowl full of brown and white eggs

Good Eggs

Becoming the first university of its size to commit to offering certified humane, pasture-raised shell eggs, Villanova has earned a spot in Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle. The program recognizes pioneering institutions that raise the bar in institutional food purchasing, leveraging their buying power to change the way animals are raised for food.

V’s Up

Where is Villanova? Everywhere! Responding to a call on social media, students and alumni shared photos of the remarkable places they’ve visited, and how they’ve taken their Nova pride with them—from landmarks to natural wonders, stunning vistas to outer space.

To submit your Villanova photo for consideration, email

A female Villanova student  in Stonehenge, England wearing a Villanova hat

Julia Leinhauser ‘19 VSB at Stonehenge, England

Two male Villanova alumni holding a Villanova banner in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Jonathan Royden ’12 CLAS and Brendan Lokka ‘12 CLAS in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

A female Villanova student holding an American flag Villanova banner in front of the green hills of Bray, Co. Wicklow in Ireland

Elizabeth Holmes ‘21 COE in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

A female Villanova alumna with her Vs up wearing a 2018 NCAA Champs shirt in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

Cara Mastrangelo ‘20 CLAS at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Two Villanova male alumni holding a Villanova banner with Lake Alpsee, Germany in the background

Michael McHale ‘18 COE and Michael Hennessey ‘18 MS at Lake Alpsee, Germany

A female Villanova student in a Villanova T-shirt in front of the Taj Mahal in India

Cardon Furry ‘20 COE at the Taj Mahal, India

A female Villanova nursing student standing in front of a thatched hut talking with Malagasi villagers in Madagascar, Africa

Amanda Findlay ‘17 CLAS, ‘19 MS in Madagascar, Africa

A group of three Villanova alumni holding a small white Villanova flag in the desert of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Kate McLain ‘10 VSB, Spencer Curtis ‘10 VSB, ‘13 JD and Taylor Curtis ‘10 COE, ‘13 JD in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Astronaut and Villanova alumnus Andy Allen holding a Villanova pendant inside a NASA Space Shuttle in outer space in 1992

Andy Allen ‘77 COE on board a NASA space shuttle in outer space in 1992

Five male Villanova students in Villanova T-shirts holding a Villanova banner in front of the Great Wall of China

Paolo Caponong ‘20 VSB, Sean Knowles ‘20 VSB, Harrison Reilly ‘21 VSB, Jack Lynch ‘20 VSB and Jeff Wang ‘21 VSB at the Great Wall of China

A student holding up a Villanova V over the V on the iconic Love statue in Philadelphia

Love statue, Philadelphia, courtesy Dana Schmidt, Visit Philly

Two female Villanova students wearing Nova Nation shirts in front of the Svartifoss waterfall in Iceland

Lia Scafura ‘17 COE and Sophia Lagdameo ‘17 COE, ‘22 MS at the Svartifoss waterfall, Iceland

A female student holding a Villanova American flag at the top of a mountain

Haley Randall ’20 CLAS, Yosemite National Park, Calif.