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Villanova University Names Michael J. O’Neill Vice President for University Advancement

O’Neill to lead development and alumni relations efforts focused on increasing philanthropic support, strengthening the endowment, and enhancing relationships with Villanova’s 90,000 alumni


VILLANOVA, Pa., May 12, 2008 – Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., announced the appointment of Michael J. O’Neill as Vice President for University Advancement, effective June 30, 2008.

In this role, O’Neill will oversee development and alumni engagement activities as part of Father Donohue’s senior management team. He will work to develop a coordinated approach to fundraising and alumni relations that increases philanthropic support, strengthens the endowment, and enhances the connection to Villanova among alumni, parents and friends.

“Mike brings a great degree of experience and leadership to Villanova and to this position,” said Father Donohue. “More importantly, he brings a great appreciation and passion for our Catholic, Augustinian and educational mission. These characteristics will be a great foundation for Mike as he works with the entire community to engage our alumni, parents and friends in creative ways to move Villanova forward.”

“Villanova University is a premier academic institution with a tremendous amount of forward momentum, and I am honored to join the Villanova community,” said O’Neill. “I look forward to building upon the success of the recently completed Transforming Minds and Hearts campaign and working strategically to support the Board of Trustees and Father Donohue’s vision and goals for the institution. I am especially excited for the opportunity to engage the University’s more than 90,000 alumni and friends in the life of Villanova as we work to build an ever stronger comprehensive development and alumni relations program.”

O’Neill brings nearly 20 years of experience in fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing. He arrives at Villanova after serving nearly five years as Associate Vice President for Development and University Relations at Fordham University, his alma mater. At Fordham, he worked closely with the President, Vice President, administrators and trustees to strengthen Advancement operations, improve communication and outreach to alumni, increase annual gifts and commitments, and plan and implement a $500 million capital campaign, which has currently raised nearly $200 million.

Prior to Fordham, O’Neill served as Senior Director of Development, Mid-Atlantic Region for The American Ireland Fund where his fundraising and outreach responsibilities included the greater Philadelphia region. His career also includes roles in development, alumni relations and athletic media relations at the Long Island Children’s Museum, Saint Peter’s College, Marist College, and a previous stint at Fordham.

O’Neill is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and has provided fundraising counsel to numerous non-profit and higher education organizations. O’Neill received both his M.B.A. in Communications and Media Management and Bachelor of Arts in English from Fordham University.

In December 2007, Villanova marked the successful conclusion of Transforming Minds and Hearts: The Campaign for Villanova. Launched publicly in 2004, the Campaign secured more than $300 million in commitments to support academic initiatives, student scholarships and capital projects, while also strengthening the University’s endowment. The Campaign concluded as the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the University having drawn record levels of participation and exceeding the total of all previous campaigns combined.

Villanova University is a co-educational Roman Catholic institution founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. The University offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs through four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information see