Skip to main content

Nova News: October at Villanova University

Nova News takes a monthly look at news and events across the University. This edition highlights noteworthy University-wide happenings, like the grand opening of Villanova’s new virtual reality CAVE (CAVE automatic virtual environment) facility, a campus-wide resource, research tool and interactive classroom. Also included is an announcement about the University’s second cohort of O’Toole scholars, an update on Villanova’s continuing sustainability initiatives, and news of upcoming Fall Break student service-learning trips to locations across the globe. Featured faculty experts from a variety of academic departments are highlighted as sources available to discuss a wide range of breaking news topics, from Enterovirus D68 to the NFL’s continuing controversy. Read on to learn more about what’s happening in October at Villanova.


Villanova Opens New CAVE Virtual Reality Environment

On Oct. 2, Villanova will officially open its new virtual reality CAVE facility in the University’s Falvey Memorial Library. The CAVE (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment) will be a campus-wide resource, research tool and interactive classroom that uses immersive video for telepresence applications as well as computer-generated graphics for 3-D visualization. This unique space can make students feel like they have been transported to the base of the Grand Canyon, the surface of the Moon, a historical cathedral in Europe, inside a molecule of dihydrogen monoxide, or to a busy highway – all during regular class time. It features an 18’ by 10’ by 7.5’ high enclosure in which viewers can view three-dimensional imagery and immersive video displays. The interdisciplinary project, led by Frank Klassner, PhD, professor of Computing Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was funded by a $1.67 million grant from the National Science Foundation. For more information, click here.

Utilize Villanova’s New On-Campus Broadcast Capabilities for TV/Radio Interviews

Villanova has recently expanded its on-campus broadcast capabilities to include a television studio with a VYVX uplink, making live or taped interviews quick and easy. In addition, Villanova can offer broadcast quality audio interviews via IP Codec. For media interested in learning more about Villanova’s faculty experts, click here.

Villanova Announces Second Cohort of O'Toole Scholars

After naming the inaugural O’Toole Family Presidential Scholars in Sept. 2013, Villanova has now announced its second cohort of O’Toole Scholars. A $10 million gift from Villanova alumnus Terence (Terry) O’Toole ’80, and his wife, Paula (Polly), in 2013 established this program to provide a four-year Villanova University education for students from the Archdiocese of Newark. The O’Toole’s transformational gift affords high-achieving high school students from the Archdiocese of Newark – who currently receive funding for their high school education through The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children (SFIC) – the opportunity to receive their college education at Villanova. To learn more, click here.

Reunited in Art 60 Years On: Sibling Artists’ Joint Exhibit Featured at Villanova University Art Gallery

Brother and sister Vladimir and Tamara Adashkevich grew up amid the post-World War II rubble of Minsk as gifted art students hoping to become fine artists. With small likelihood that the destroyed Soviet city could support such aesthetic ambitions, they reluctantly chose more secure career paths. Now, 60 years after they painted together as children, they are reuniting in art. Their first ever joint exhibit, 'Vladimir and Tamara: Together Again,' opens Oct. 16 in the University Art Gallery. A free public reception to meet the artists will be held from 5-7 p.m., Oct. 24 in the gallery located in the Connelly Center. For more information, click here.


Villanova’s Computing Sciences Department among Select Group to Participate in Diversity Initiative

Villanova has been chosen as one of a select group of university computer science departments to participate in the Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative, aimed at increasing the percentage of undergraduate majors that are female or are students of color. BRAID is a joint initiative led by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a non-profit organization focused on advancing women in computing, and Harvey Mudd College. Funding for the three-year initiative comes from Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft. Under BRAID, the institutions will implement a number of approaches including expanding outreach to high school teachers and students, and developing joint majors in areas like computer science and biology to encourage interdisciplinary approaches. To learn more, click here.

Supporting the New Generation of Data Scientists

Data science is a growing field with companies from Fortune 500 firms, to large nonprofits, large pharmaceuticals, and even political organizations seeking their expertise. However, Experts predict that by 2018 the U.S. could face a shortage of between 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep quantitative skills, as well as a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who know how to analyze big data to make effective decisions. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Center for Statistics Education a $285,000 Data Science grant, as well as a $571,000 TANGO Statistics Education (Training a New Generation of Statistics Educators) grant. The funding will enable the Center to educate current and future statistics educators and future data scientists. To learn more, click here.

Sustainability Gains Foothold at Villanova

The Center for Energy and Environmental Education in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences fosters interdisciplinary communication and opportunities in the areas of environment, energy, climate and sustainability. Already this semester, the Center has spearheaded a campus-wide sustainability panel that has resulted in more earth-friendly procedures being adopted in first-year Villanova Chemistry classes that prepare scientists of tomorrow for careers in green chemistry. Headed by Amanda Grannas, PhD, and Jared Paul, PhD, the Center will host noted experts throughout the year, including Nobel Prize winner Richard Alley, PhD on Nov. 4 and 5. To learn more, click here.

Master of Theatre Program Shines in Local Theatre Awards

The Master of Theatre program continues its legacy of producing successful professionals in the performing arts. Seven alumni were nominated for awards in 26 categories for this year’s Barrymore Awards of Excellence, including Carla Belver ’76 MA who won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Three faculty members were also nominated. Many graduates of the program are employed nationally as well as locally with theatres such as The Wilma Theater, The Arden Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Delaware Theater Company, Missouri Repertory Theater and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. For more information, click here.


Villanova University Ranked #22 in International Business by U.S. News & World Report

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) has been recognized among the top International Business programs in the nation by a recent U.S. News & World Report ranking, coming in at #22. The International Business program’s success recognizes the excellence of VSB’s faculty, staff, curriculum and student services. VSB is also known for its cutting-edge research, academic rigor, state-of-the-art learning facilities and for its integration of ethics and service into curricular and extracurricular experiences. To learn more, click here.

Villanova Women’s Professional Network Holds “Dress for Success” Clothing Fund Drive

The Villanova Women's Professional Network (VWPN) will collect donations of suits and other items of women’s professional apparel for its Dress for Success Clothing Drive Oct. 6-10 in the Clay Center, Bartley Hall room 1054. Donations will be sent to Dress for Success, an international non-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing them with professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to thrive in work and in life. To learn more, contact Media Relations.

Business Professor Available to Provide Expertise in Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding began as a tool for innovators and entrepreneurs, but is now morphing into a survival tool for financially strapped individuals who need money just to survive. According to Villanova School of Business professor Stephen Andriole, “Perfect strangers are ‘investing’ in something in which they believe and where they believe they can have immediate impact.” Andriole is available to discuss this one-to-one relationship with professionals, organizations and ordinary people in need. For more information, contact Media Relations.


Chemical Engineering Professor Working to Improve Gene Therapy Treatments

Chemical Engineering professor Jacob Elmer, PhD has been awarded a three-year $174,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for gene therapy treatment research. Dr. Elmer explains the basis for his research, “While we have gotten very good at delivering genes into cells to treat genetic diseases like cancer, we are now finding out that cells have many different ways to prevent foreign genes from expressing.” With this grant, Dr. Elmer and two collaborators from Arizona State are focused on trying to modify the regulation process such that, instead of turning off therapeutic genes, the process will turn them on at high levels. As an expert in genetic engineering, Dr. Elmer’s specific role in the project is to make the bacterial DNA used for gene therapy look more like a human chromosome, thereby preventing negative responses that turn off the foreign genes. For more information, click here.

VESL Plans Fall Break Service Trips to Ghana, Panama and Nicaragua

Students participating in the Villanova Engineering Service Learning program (VESL) will spend Fall Break Oct. 10-19 helping to improve the lives of rural villagers in locations across the globe. Three groups of students and their advisors will travel to Ghana, Panama and Nicaragua to work on water systems, bridge design, and a site assessment for a new chapel. For details about these VESL projects, contact Kiera Daly at

College of Engineering to Partner with MythBusters Co-Host and M5 Industries’ Jamie Hyneman for Innovative Senior Capstone Project

Villanova University’s College of Engineering is partnering with Jamie Hyneman, Co-Host and Executive Producer of the Discovery Channel program “MythBusters” and owner of M5 Industries, for an innovative senior capstone project. Hyneman will co-advise and consult with a team of senior mechanical engineering students, whose project seeks to utilize solar thermal energy to heat water inexpensively for residential heating use. Students will work on system design and materials testing during the fall semester and focus on building and testing a prototype in spring 2015. For more information, click here.


Professor Available to Discuss Wide-Spread Children’s Respiratory Virus

Enterovirus D68, a respiratory virus sickening children across the country, has arrived in Philadelphia and the tri-state area. Several cases have been treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia alone. What can be done to stop the transmission of an illness that has no known vaccine or medications to cure it? Michelle Kelly, PhD, CRNP, a clinical assistant professor in the Villanova University College of Nursing is available to comment on the treatment and effects of this fast-moving virus. For more information, contact Media Relations.

College of Nursing Sponsors Screening of Original Villanova University Social Justice Documentary

As part of its Health and Human Values Lecture Series, the College of Nursing will host an Oct. 23 discussion about healthcare issues that affect the homeless in Philadelphia. A screening of “All of Us Home,” a short documentary written, directed and produced by a social justice documentary class in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will follow. “All of Us Home” highlights the work performed by the Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP) which works to bring attention to the ongoing problem of homelessness in Philadelphia and cities across the country. For more information, click here.


Villanova School of Law Hosts Symposium on McCullen v. Coakley

The Villanova School of Law will host a special symposium at 1:30 p.m., Friday, October 17 on The US Supreme Court’s McCullen v. Coakley decision. The Court’s decision last term unanimously struck down, on First Amendment grounds, a Massachusetts statute that allowed for an abortion clinic buffer zone. The lead plaintiff in the case, Eleanor McCullen, will participate along with the attorney who represented her before the Supreme Court. For more information, click here.

Sports Law Expert Can Discuss Ongoing NFL Issues

Domestic violence in professional sports has been at the forefront of the news since the release of a video showing Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching his then fiancée, and now wife. With some 83 NFL players having been arrested since the year 2000, domestic violence is clearly a widespread problem in the sport. Andrew Brandt, director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, is available to discuss what can be done to ensure more accountability in professional sports. For more information, contact Media Relations.

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 six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies 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.