About the Center

Villanova University's Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy builds upon the Law School’s Augustinian Catholic mission and will create opportunities for new curriculum focused on advocacy, law and religion. 

The McCullen Center complements Villanova Law's three existing centers: the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance; and the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship


Curricular Innovation

New academic programming will be introduced under the auspices of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy, including innovative coursework, a visiting scholars program, and conferences and seminars on emerging issues in these fields. The Center, which will serve as a resource for the entire University community, will sponsor interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Additional initiatives being explored for inclusion as part of the Center include clinical opportunities and a concentration program in law and religion.


The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett on Constitutional Originalism and Continuity

February 25, 2019

The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017. Before joining the bench, she served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she continues to teach. A video of the lecture can be viewed here.


Law and the Augustinian Tradition Inaugural Lecture Series

August 28, 2018

Beginning in August 2018, The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy will be hosting a lecture series on "Law and the Augustinian Tradition.”

John Witte, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University School of Law, will deliver the inaugural lecture “From Gospel to Law: Martin Luther’s Reformation of Law, Politics, and Society.”


The Annual Donald A. Giannella Memorial Lecture

April 24, 2018

Anthony T. Kronman, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, presented at the 2018 Donald A. Giannella Memorial Lecture.

Called “The Sage of Yale Law” by The New Yorker, Anthony T. Kronman is the former Dean of Yale Law School and current Sterling Professor of Law. He has served on the Yale faculty for nearly four decades and teaches in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy, jurisprudence, social theory and professional responsibility. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and a JD from Yale University.

Professor Kronman has written several books on law, legal ethics, higher education and philosophy including Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life (2008) and The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession (1995). His most recent book, Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan (2016), was the subject of a column by David Brooks in The New York Times.


The 2018 Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law

April 10, 2018

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy welcomed Ross Douthat, Columnist, The New York Times, to speak on "Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism." Ross Douthat is an opinion columnist for The New York Times, covering politics, religion, moral values and higher education. He joined The New York Times in 2009 as an Op-Ed columnist. Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger for theatlantic.com.

Douthat is also the author of To Change the Church (2018), Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012), and Privilege: Harvard and Education of the Ruling Class (2005), and a co-author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (2008). He is also the film critic for National Review.


Villanova University Appoints Michael P. Moreland, JD, PhD, as University Professor of Law and Religion

Villanova University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, today announced the appointment of Michael P. Moreland, JD, PhD, as University Professor of Law and Religion. Among Villanova’s highest academic honors, the University Professor recognizes distinguished faculty whose extraordinary scholarly achievement and accomplishment spans disciplines and crosses traditional college boundaries. Dr. Moreland will also serve as the Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. More


Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Names the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in Recognition of Gifts Totaling $5 Million

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law announced today that its Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy will be named in honor of Eleanor H. McCullen, recognizing recent gifts totaling $5 million from her husband, Joseph T. McCullen Jr. ’57 CLAS. Mr. McCullen has supported the University and the Law School for many years, including the establishment in 2007 of The Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law. More...


The 2017 Joseph T. McCullen Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law

This annual symposium takes place on Friday, March 17, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Laurence E. Hirsch '71 Classroom (Room 101) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA). 

Click here for more information.  



About Joseph and Eleanor McCullen

Joseph McCullen is the Chairman of McCullen Capital, LLC (MCAP), a Boston-based family office formed in 2000 to manage and invest the assets of the McCullen family.  MCAP also provides administrative support to the McCullen family’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation known as the Flame of Love Foundation, which was established to provide assistance to distressed and poor individuals.

Mr. McCullen’s business career includes 25 highly successful years as an early-stage venture capitalist, focusing on high technology companies. Mr. McCullen was a board member and the founding investor in numerous private companies, several of which attained valuations in excess of a billion dollars upon sale or IPO. He served as a Managing Director of J.H. Whitney & Co. and OneLiberty Ventures (now called Flagship Ventures).

Mr. McCullen devoted 12 years to government service, four of them in the military as a young man, and later as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States (1971-1973). He went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Acting Secretary of the Navy (1973-1977).  Mr. McCullen also was an Associate Director of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Transition Team. During his service to the country, he was the recipient of two Distinguished Public Service Medals. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University in 1957 and received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater in 1976.  .

The McCullens, particularly Eleanor, have a long history of supporting legal issues related to religious freedom. Mrs. McCullen, a lifelong Catholic and pro-life activist, was lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case McCullen v. Coakley. In that case, which was adjudicated in June 2014, the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision that struck down a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone statute on First Amendment grounds. 

Mrs. McCullen is a lay Franciscan who previously was the Vice Minister of the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport, Maine. She has devoted much of her life to counseling pregnant women considering abortions; she has provided spiritual guidance, financial assistance, food, material items and has helped secure employment for mothers and fathers. In addition, Mrs. McCullen counsels prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, Massachusetts. With her encouragement, several inmates have received college degrees, authored books and produced poetry and works of art. She has assisted former prisoners when they returned to society.

Frequently featured on the national public speaker circuit, Mrs. McCullen has been profiled in publications such as The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and National Review. She has studied at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania and received an honorary PhD of Humane Letters from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut.

About the Director

Michael Moreland was appointed University Professor of Law and Religion and Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in 2017. Dr. Moreland joined the Villanova faculty in 2006 and served as Vice Dean from 2012 to 2015. At Villanova, he has taught Torts, Evidence, Bioethics and the Law, Advanced Torts, Constitutional Law II (First Amendment and Equal Protection), Justice and Rights (1L elective), and seminars in law and religion.

As University Professor, Dr. Moreland will promote cross-campus research, programming and collaboration; foster high-visibility academic initiatives at the national and international levels; have the ability to teach across the University; and position Villanova as a leader at the crossroads of law, religion and public policy. In his role with the McCullen Center, Dr. Moreland will oversee the creation of innovative academic programming, a visiting scholars program and conferences on emerging issues in these fields.

A renowned scholar of constitutional law, torts, bioethics and religious freedom, Dr. Moreland is frequently sought for commentary at national and international conferences, in the media, and before Congress. He has published articles in leading legal, public policy and medical journals, including Notre Dame Law Review, Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy and Law and Contemporary Problems. His chapters on law, ethics and religion have been featured in numerous books, including titles published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

Most recently Dr. Moreland was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame and the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture from 2015 to 2017. He was the Forbes Visiting Fellow at Princeton University in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions during academic year 2010-11. Dr. Moreland served as the project leader for The Libertas Project, a program from 2013 to 2015 at Villanova sponsored by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation exploring religious and economic freedom in the context of law and religion in American public life.

Dr. Moreland received his BA in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, his MA and PhD in theological ethics from Boston College, and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Following law school, Professor Moreland clerked for the Honorable Paul J. Kelly Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and was an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC, where he represented clients in First Amendment, professional liability, and products liability matters. Before coming to Villanova, he served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush, where he worked on a range of legal policy issues, including criminal justice, immigration, civil rights, and liability reform.