Skip to main content

Our Supporters

Connelly image

Villanova University has received a $1 million grant from the Connelly Foundation to support our  Center for Irish Studies. Villanova’s current Irish Studies Program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is one of the oldest programs of its kind and provides students with diverse academic and cultural experiences that connect to the University’s Irish Augustinian Catholic heritage. The elevation of this program to a Center for Irish Studies will allow the University to offer additional academic programs and increase opportunities for its study abroad and exchange programs.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Connelly Foundation for this generous gift that will greatly enhance the academic and experiential opportunities for students, faculty and scholars in Irish Studies,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “As an institution founded to educate Irish immigrants, it is particularly fitting that Villanova has a dedicated Center for Irish Studies that honors our rich heritage.”

Click here for more information


Since its inception in Philadelphia in 1771, the Society of The Friendly Sons and Daughters of Saint Patrick has been an active, vibrant organization within the Irish community. Members meet quarterly in the Philadelphia area to conduct Society business, share fellowship and experiences of common heritage.

The Society has always been non-denominational, welcoming members from all religious backgrounds. The Society exists to promote Irish culture, education and provide aid. It performs these duties in the form of scholarships and benevolence, as well through events and activities. 

In 2016 the Society generously donated $100,000 to endow a scholarship fund for Irish Studies students traveling to Ireland, and in 2017, augmented the fund with another $10,000.  The scholarship is being used to support the Irish Theatre Summer Studio and other study abroad and experiential education programs in Ireland.

Please view this page for more information


A big thank you to the The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Washington DC for scholarship donations.


Charles A. Heimbold Jr., born May 27, 1933, is an American businessman and diplomat.  He previously served as Chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. He is an honors graduate of Villanova University, having graduated in 1954.

The Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies was inaugurated in 2000 and has enabled Villanov to host an honor roll of Irish writers since then.  The writers give a public reading and teach two seminars for Villanova students and have made Villanova an important stop for leading Irish writers.  See here for more information on the Heimbold Chairs and their biographies.

Marty and Ann

The McGuinn Irish Scholars Program, a competitive annual scholarship assistance program, builds on Villanova’s longstanding relationship with The National University of Ireland, Galway, and covers costs for two Irish students for one semester at Villanova.  McGuinn, the former chairman and CEO of Mellon Financial Corporation, is now a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland and says his Villanova experience “shaped my career.” He wanted to make that experience available to deserving college students from Ireland who lack opportunities to study abroad due to high tuition costs.

The McGuinns gave $500,000 to found the program as part of their overall $5 million gift to Villanova that includes the endowment of the Martin G. McGuinn Chair in Business Law at the Villanova School of Law. “Villanova was originally founded in large part to serve Irish immigrant families, and we’ve seen how study abroad programs have benefited Villanova students,” McGuinn notes.


Tony Ponturo is a founding partner of Kirmser-Ponturo Group, a New York-based multidimensional production, consulting, and marketing company that has also raised millions for fine arts and education programs.  Ponturo is also CEO of Ponturo Management Group,LLC, consulting in marketing for business and new sports ventures.  He regularly comments on sports media and marketing on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox Business, Bloomberg News, CNBC, and other media outlets.

Ponturo serves on the Villanova University Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences and has advised Villanova's exchange Program with the Abbey Theatre.  In 2014, he established the Ponturo Experiential Learning Scholarship for study at the Irish Theatre Summer Studio, which supports two students annually to study at the Abbey, the National Theatre of Ireland.

Please view this page for more information

Gerard Cuddy  headshot

Gerard is a board member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is the recipient of many awards including the La Salle University’s Leadership Award, the Rutgers University Leadership Award, the Distinguished Catholic Graduate Award, and the American Catholic Historical Society’s Barry Award.

Gerard holds his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Villanova University and earned his Masters of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He and his family reside in Rosemont, PA.

Contact Information

Villanova University
SAC Room 105E
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Dr. Joseph Lennon
Phone: (610) 519-4647

Associate Director,
Dr. Jennifer A. Joyce
Phone: (610) 519-8953

Administrative Assistant, 
Kiersten Ludy

Phone: (610) 519-7517