August 2014

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The 2014-2015 academic year officially begins today with the start of classes. The renewed activity on campus follows another busy summer. In addition to those on campus for classes and Admission tours, we host many guests attending programs coordinated by the Office of Conference Services. Some 15,000 visitors participated in more than 125 different programs sponsored by University departments and external organizations.  Of special note were two National Science Foundation-funded conferences offered by our Mathematics and Chemistry departments, which brought scholars to campus from all over the world.

Now, the campus once again is full of energy and excitement for what the new academic year holds. As we look forward together, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.

Summer Projects

A significant amount of maintenance and renewal take place each year to ensure our buildings and grounds will always retain the character that makes Villanova feel like home for so many of us. The time between Commencement and Orientation provides the best opportunity to address projects large and small throughout campus. Below is a sample of some of the work completed by Facilities staff and contractors this summer:

  • The grass fields at the West Campus Soccer Complex were replaced with synthetic turf fields and a new scoreboard, team shelters and stormwater management system were installed.
  • Upgrades were made to Bartley Hall, highlighted by several classroom renovations and the creation of the Founders Lobby outside of the Dean's Suite and Clay Center.
  • An existing classroom in Old Falvey was renovated to create a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment; CEER 001 and two tiered classrooms in Mendel Hall were renovated; exterior work was completed on Alumni Hall, Simpson Hall and Connelly Center; and two tiered classrooms in Garey Hall were transformed into space that supports multimedia instruction and production.
  • Significant HVAC renovations and upgrades were completed at CEER, Mendel Hall, Stanford Hall and St. Augustine Center, and new underground chilled water feeds to serve western main campus were installed.
  • Seven new hydration stations were installed, bringing the campus-wide number to 14. The hydration stations provide fresh, filtered water and reduce the use of water bottles on campus. Stations now can be found in Bartley Hall, Connelly Center, CEER, Davis Center, Donahue Hall, Dougherty Hall, Nevin Fieldhouse, St. Mary Hall and St. Augustine Center.

I am grateful to our Facilities staff who worked on these and other projects while also accommodating regular summer campus activities, classes and events.

A Conversation With the President - August 28

Since 2011, I have invited the campus community to an opening address where I speak about University initiatives, pressing issues and our direction for the year. I value this opportunity to gather together, but would like for it to be a more interactive discussion. Therefore, I invite you to join me for a Conversation with the President this Thursday, August 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. Refreshments will be provided. I look forward to seeing you there.

2014 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration - September 25-28

The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration (STVC) offers a series of events each fall that celebrate the University's Augustinian mission and heritage. 2014 marks the ninth year of this multi-day format which provides opportunities for each member of the Villanova community to be involved.

The components of the Celebration remain the same this year, but the schedule is slightly different with the Community Dinner taking place after the Community Liturgy on Sunday. The full schedule of events is posted on the STVC website, but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight two events:

Thursday, September 25The St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture will be delivered by Wes More, best-selling author of this year's One Book Villanova selection, The Other Wes More. It is a particularly powerful story that already is generating great discussion throughout campus. I am pleased that the One Book Villanova program and STVC can be aligned in this way at the beginning of the academic year.

Saturday, September 27The St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service will once again unite thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and families in service to do the work the community has asked us to do. The Day of Service is defined by great fellowship, powerful service and lasting relationships with service partners, helping to set the stage for a year filled with opportunities to put our Augustinian ideals into action.

For more information about all of the STVC events and to register for the Day of Service, please visit

Your Assistance is Requested: Employee Transportation Survey

We regularly calculate our campus carbon emissions as part of the President's Climate Commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Employee commuting is part of our overall carbon emissions, as well as electricity and natural gas consumption. In an effort to calculate these emissions and develop new programs to encourage lower carbon emitting transportation habits, Villanova will be conducting a campus wide transportation survey that will be sent later this week to all faculty and staff by the Office of Planning and Institutional Research. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and help further our campus sustainability efforts.

Reminder: Commencement Nominations Due Friday, August 29

Nominations for Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients are due no later than this Friday, August 29. Please review the original call for nominations emailed in June for information to include. Nominations should be submitted via email to the Office of the President.

Orientation and Move-in: Thank you!

Our calendar is filled with large events that require extended hours and effort from many, yet none are as important as the beginning of the academic year when we welcome so many Villanovans to campus for the first time. A powerful and positive start sets the tone for the entire year, and I extend my sincere appreciation to the countless members of our community who played a role—large or small—in doing just that, especially:

  • The staff and students who delivered the First Year Student Orientation program at the School of Law and New Student Orientation for undergraduates. In particular, I would like to recognize the New Student Orientation staff of more than 100 students, under the direction of Joseph Lenz '15 CLAS, who helped ensure a smooth transition for the Class of 2018 and their families.
  • The Residence Life Staff and 110 Resident Assistants who prepared for and welcomed the approximately 4,400 new and returning students who moved into our campus residence halls
  • The staff of Dining Services, Facilities Management, Mail Services, Public Safety, Student Life, UNIT and the University Shop.

Thank you to these individuals and areas, and to everyone who contributed to making orientation and move-in a success!


Best wishes for a productive and fulfilling year, and thank you for your continued commitment to Villanova University!



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA