The Villanova experience encourages students to dream big and supports them as they realize those dreams. Just ask Emily Hughes ’11 CLAS, ’12 MA. When she came to Villanova as a freshman with enough AP credits to earn an undergraduate degree in three years, she immediately set her sights on what she could accomplish in four. She decided to pursue both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communications in that time and was the first student to complete the five-year program a full academic year early. When she initially approached her professors with this ambitious goal, she was met with resounding approval. “They said ‘Yes, absolutely, let’s figure out how to get this done,’” she recalled.
Seven years later, Emily is Head of Growth at The Helm, a community and venture capital fund that make it easy to invest in women, and owner of her own digital marketing consulting firm, Loup Digital. Emily credits that extraordinary encouragement with empowering her to reach the position she is in today. “My Villanova experience gave me the confidence to challenge myself and try new things,” she said. It was also what inspired her to give back.
As a member of the Young Alumni Circle, Emily is one of Villanova’s leading young alumni supporters. She also became a member of the 1842 Heritage Society by naming Villanova as a beneficiary on her employer-provided life insurance policy—yet another way for young alumni to contribute. “To me, part of being a Villanovan is investing in the University’s future,” she said. “I was fortunate to have the chance to experience a Villanova education, and it’s meaningful to me to help create that opportunity for others.”
Although philanthropy is important, Emily also notes that there are many ways for alumni to get involved. A former Marketing Chair of the Manhattan Club and frequent speaker at on-campus and regional events, she currently serves as the youngest-ever member of the Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) Board. “Being involved with Villanova after graduation has been a different experience, but one that is just as rewarding,” she said. “Whether it is through mentoring current students or being active in a local alumni club, every Villanovan can make a positive impact in our community. You just have to raise your hand and do it.”
She hopes that the path she is forging inspires others to give back in their own ways, helping a new generation of VIllanovans realize their big dreams.