March 29, 2017

In this Message:

  • FY2018 Budget
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Campus Construction
  • Recent Athletic Achievements
  • Open Enrollment Scheduled from April 24 – May 3
  • NOVAfit! Events
  • Summer Hours for Employees
  • Commencement Volunteers

Dear Faculty and Staff,
It’s hard to believe that this weekend marks the beginning of April. Spring semester seems to be flying by and before we know it, the Class of 2017 will be preparing to celebrate Commencement. With less than two months until the end of the academic year, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.
FY2018 Budget
At its February 14, 2017 meeting, the University's Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018) budget, which includes an increase of 4% for tuition. The budget also includes a significant continued commitment to undergraduate financial assistance, as outlined in Villanova’s Strategic Plan. The University now provides more than $112 million in undergraduate financial assistance, an increase of $44 million—more than 60 percent—over the past eight years. In addition, the University's FY2018 budget establishes a salary pool for merit-based raises at 2.75%.
Last summer, Standard and Poor's and Moody’s Investors Service each affirmed their existing credit ratings for the University (A+ rating with a stable outlook from S&P, and A1 rating and stable outlook from Moody’s).  In their commentary, both of the rating agencies noted Villanova’s strong financial management practices. The FY2018 budget reflects the continuation of the fiscal discipline that has served the University well for many years.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

I am happy to share that two members of the Class of 2017 have been selected for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP), which provides three years of funding for graduate study. The students are Erin Peterson, a senior chemistry major from Birmingham, MI, who will be pursuing doctoral study in chemistry, and Valerie Bernstein a senior astrophysics major from Mount Joy, PA, who will be pursuing doctoral study in astronomy and astrophysics. I am also pleased to share that one of our alums, Joseph Schaadt, ’15 COE and a Fulbright Scholar in 2015-2016, was an NSF GRFP honorable mention. Congratulations to Erin, Valerie and Joseph!

Campus Construction

Construction activity on campus continues this spring with work beginning on the pedestrian bridge at Church Walk, and numerous other projects scheduled to take place this summer and beyond. There will be two meetings in April to review the major construction projects, including the Lancaster Avenue development, The Pavilion, the next phase of the Transformation of the Campus Landscape initiative which will focus on Mendel Field, SEPTA’s Villanova Station on West Campus, the Inn at Villanova and other activity taking place this summer.

The meetings are set for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, and Thursday, April 20. The meeting locations are still to be determined, but will be communicated in Campus Currents as we get closer to those dates. As always, the goal with any construction project is to keep disruptions to a minimum. I appreciate your cooperation and patience as we strive to significantly enhance the campus experience for our entire University community.

Recent Athletic Achievements
Our athletics programs have continued to achieve at an elite level both competitively and academically.

  • The women’s basketball team is in the midst of a terrific postseason run and has reached the semifinal round of the WNIT.
  • The men’s basketball team returned to the No. 1 ranking in both national polls and earned a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova also won the BIG EAST regular season title for the fourth straight year and won the postseason BIG EAST Championship for the second time in the last three seasons.
  • Men’s cross country senior Patrick Tiernan was the individual national champion. Patrick is the second men’s runner from Villanova to win an individual national title in cross country, and he became the first runner in BIG EAST history to win the individual conference crown four straight years.
  • Women’s track & field team swept the relays and won a total of eight events at the BIG EAST meet, including six women’s events and two relays on the men’s side.  The two teams combined for 38 All-BIG EAST honors and 10 All-America accolades during the indoor season.
  • Swimming and diving broke 18 school records during the BIG EAST Championships, and the Wildcats had 23 student-athletes combine to win 68 All-BIG EAST honors.
  • Villanova student-athletes had an overall grade-point average of 3.224 for the fall 2016 period. This is the 27th straight semester that the student-athletes have had a GPA higher than a 3.0.

Open Enrollment Scheduled from April 24 – May 3
Benefits Open Enrollment will begin on Monday, April 24, and end on Wednesday, May 3. This is the one time each year that you are able to review and make changes to your health and voluntary benefit elections. Further details will be provided by Human Resources via email, website and hard copy mailings the week of April 17.
NOVAfit! Events
There are a number of upcoming NOVAfit! events that I encourage you to participate in this spring. There is a Wellness Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Villanova Room, where you can learn about the range of benefits that the University offers for faculty and staff. On Tuesday, April 25, Villanova once again will sponsor a Walk@Lunch Day to encourage physical activity as part of the daily routine. There are two walks scheduled—at noon and 1 p.m.—that will leave from the Oreo and follow the walking trail through campus.
For those of you who participated in the Personal Health Assessment and Health Screening campaign, attendance at these events will qualify you for NOVAfit! incentive points. Please be sure to bring your Wildcard to confirm your attendance and receive your points. Further details can be found on the NOVAfit! section of the Human Resources website.
Summer Hours for Employees
I am pleased to announce that Summer Hours again will be offered this year. Full-time staff employees will have the opportunity for early dismissal at noon each Friday beginning May 19, and ending August 11. I encourage you to visit the Summer Hours policy  posted on the Human Resources website for additional information.
Summer Hours are an important part of the University's commitment to helping employees maintain a work/life balance. I recognize that many departments on campus will not be able to follow this policy exactly as outlined, especially those with 24/7 operations, or those with heavy workloads during the summer months. In these cases, my expectation is that department managers will identify other appropriate opportunities for their employees to achieve the work/life balance intended by Summer Hours. Please remember that in all cases, the needs of our students and internal and external communities must continue to be served in an exemplary fashion.

Commencement Volunteers
It’s less than two months until Commencement Weekend 2017, which begins on Friday, May 19. Commencement takes a multitude of volunteers to make the weekend special for our graduates and their guests. If you are a staff member, please consider volunteering some of your time this year to help with Commencement activities. Any time you can offer is very much appreciated. For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Commencement 2017 website.


It has been a busy academic year during which our community has experienced both highs and lows. Through it all, I appreciate our commitment to each other; our willingness to wrestle with difficult decisions; our openness to debate and dialogue; and our pledge to work for the common good. In this academic environment, let us continue the challenging journey to achieve Veritas, Unitas and Caritas. I truly value your presence and patience in elevating our community.
Best wishes for the remainder of your semesters, and thank you for all that you do on behalf of Villanova!


Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA