Ellie Wright '16 CLAS

Ellie Wright '16

In the spring of 2012, I was a senior in high school sending my deposit to Villanova and my mom made a comment that has stuck with me to this day. She was impressed by the size, commitment, and involvement of the University’s alumni network, and told me she was sure it would serve me well in the future. She couldn’t have been more right.

In my four years, I benefited immensely from the generosity of Villanova alumni. But it was one program in particular that granted me an opportunity most undergraduates don’t get, and one my friends at other big name universities couldn’t believe—the opportunity to produce a social justice documentary with my classmates.

As a sophomore, I discovered a passion for documentary filmmaking that fueled my success as an undergraduate – success that has helped me seamlessly transition into the post-graduate working world.
Thanks to the extensive resources funded by Villanovans that came before me and the guidance of top-notch professors who unlocked my passion for documentaries, I became a two-time Student Academy Award Finalist. That success has carried me to NBC Sports, where I now work as a Production Associate on the team that produces athlete profiles for the Olympics. You could say I’m living a dream, but it’s a dream I never even would have had, had it not been for the Villanovans before me who decided to give back.

It was for this reason I became involved with – and later was named President of – the Class of 2016 Senior Class Gift Committee. After all that I gained from Villanova, I wanted to give back immediately and encourage my classmates to do so as well. The beauty of the Senior Class Gift is in the ability of students to give back directly to organizations on campus that have shaped their time at Villanova. In doing so, seniors contribute to the experiences of future Villanovans who share their same passion.

One of the most important things I learned during my time at Villanova is that “Villanovans help Villanovans.” Monetary gifts enable our University to keep striving and thriving, but as a recent graduate who gained so much from the generosity of past generations of Villanovans, I think it’s important to point out that the importance of alumni extends so far beyond that.  I had more accessibility to alumni in the last four years than I ever fathomed possible, and each one has gone out of their way to help me in some capacity – on one condition: that I do the same when it’s my turn to help the next Villanovan behind me. It’s a tradition that I believe is deeply rooted in the identity of this great University we all love so dearly, and one that distinguishes what it means to be a Villanovan.

To those who came before me, thank you. You have left a legacy and instilled a culture that Villanovans will continue to build upon for years to come. To those coming behind me, take advantage of this incredible community that you are fortunate enough to be a member of. It will serve you well, and it might just shape you into the person you are to become.