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Villanova University Appoints Debra F. Fickler as Vice President and General Counsel


VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has announced the appointment of Debra F. Fickler as Vice President and General Counsel. In this role, she will oversee all legal affairs for the University, advise the Board of Trustees, President, and administrative officers on a wide variety of legal matters, and serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet.  Ms. Fickler succeeds Dorothy A. Malloy, Villanova’s first General Counsel who held the position for over 24 years.  Ms. Malloy will now serve in the role “Of Counsel” for the University, advising the President on select matters of governance and policy development.

“Debbie brings a great deal of experience, skill and understanding to the role of the Vice President and General Counsel,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “She is the right person to advise and guide the institution through the increasingly complex issues facing higher education. I’m pleased to have her on my leadership team and look forward to working with her.”

Debra F. Fickler has over 25 years of experience as an in-house higher education attorney. Prior to being appointed Villanova’s Vice President and General Counsel, she held the position of Deputy General Counsel at Villanova. Previously, she served as the first General Counsel of Saint Joseph's University and corporate Secretary.  Earlier, Ms. Fickler served as Assistant and then Associate General Counsel at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Fickler began her legal career as an Associate at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. She also has served as an adjunct law professor at Temple University School of Law and Villanova University School of Law.  She earned her bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Temple University and received her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was named to the Order of the Coif and was an Associate Editor of the Law Review. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.