February 3, 2016

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

I am pleased to share that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which administers the official classification system for all U.S. colleges and universities, recently announced that it has elevated Villanova to the Doctoral Universities, Moderate Research category from the Master’s Colleges and Universities category.

This change comes at an exciting time in Villanova’s history. The University has been on an upward trajectory for the past decade, and this distinction is an important acknowledgement of what Villanova has become. Elevating to doctoral status is not merely a matter of classification; this new category ensures the interdependence of teaching, research and scholarship on our campus, while also enhancing the University’s national reputation.

Our new classification reflects our growing undergraduate and graduate research efforts and is critical to our future as a thriving academic institution, as well as being intimately tied to our mission, core strengths and competencies. By focusing on our institutional strengths—excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, strong professional schools, and our Catholic identity and Augustinian intellectual tradition—I believe Villanova can be a model in higher education of how producing high levels of scholarly research and strong graduate programs can strengthen our exceptional undergraduate experience.

A key component of our Strategic Plan is to enhance the University’s national stature, which, in turn, allows us to continue attracting the most talented undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to Villanova. For the past two decades, our standing as a comprehensive master’s-level university, with highly respected undergraduate and graduate programs, has risen steadily. However, in terms of our academic reputation, it is important to be associated with other top nationally ranked universities, and this change in our classification ensures that occurs.

One of the noteworthy outcomes of our new category is the U.S. News & World Report ranking. U.S. News uses the Carnegie Classification under different names for its annual “Best Colleges” ranking. Villanova has topped the Regional Universities North category for the past 23 years, but our elevated classification means that Villanova will appear in the National Universities category for the first time in fall 2016.

Our new Carnegie classification and national ranking highlight the quality and depth of the academic opportunities and experiences at our University. This year’s President’s Report, which you will receive later this month, gives a tangible explanation of our forward momentum.

These are exciting changes for Villanova, and I am looking forward to working with you as we embark on this next chapter in our history. Together, we will continue to innovate, have an impact and ignite change.



Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA