Skip to main content

Villanova University School of Law Receives $5 Million Naming Gift from John F. Scarpa for the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship

Center serves as the hub for the School’s cross-disciplinary programming, groundbreaking coursework and real-world learning opportunities at the intersection of law and business

Villanova University School of Law Receives $5 Million Naming Gift from  John F. Scarpa for the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship

Villanova, Pa. – Villanova University School of Law (VLS) announced today that John F. Scarpa, former Co-Chairman and Founder of American Cellular Network Corporation, and his wife, Jana, have committed $5 million for the naming of The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship. The Center serves as a vital resource for all Villanova Law students to gain wide-ranging academic and practical experience at the intersection of law and business, further aligning the educational experience with the demands of 21st-century practice.

In describing his passion for and dedication to entrepreneurial ventures, Mr. Scarpa remarked, “We must foster an intuitive relationship between business and law because new job creation will come from innovators or the businesses they create. These innovators will energize an organization and give vision, purpose and passion. To quote Albert Einstein, ‘Logic will get you from A to B; imagination will take you everywhere.’”

He continued, “Through this Center and its initiatives, Villanova Law is creating a new generation of lawyers who will further integrate these two vital and interrelated fields. The work of these future lawyers will support and inspire a more dynamic business landscape.”

The gift is part of the University’s $600 million Comprehensive Capital Campaign, “For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.” Villanova launched the public phase of its Campaign in Oct. 2013, and to date has raised $417 million towards its $600 million goal. The most ambitious in the University’s 173-year history, Villanova’s Campaign is aimed at cultivating academic innovation across its schools and colleges, investing in recruiting and retaining the finest teacher-scholars, dramatically enhancing financial aid and student opportunities, and continuing to build a premier living-learning environment on the University’s 260-acre campus.

"This gift, which endows The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship, is a remarkable investment in Villanova Law's transformative approach to legal education and an important step in our campaign," said Michael J. O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement. "This support will ensure that the Center has consistent and valuable resources to help Villanova Law students develop the creative and analytical thinking that better prepares them for today’s complex and interconnected legal landscape."

“As the driving force behind our recent curricular innovations, the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship is transforming the educational experience at Villanova,” remarked John Y. Gotanda, Arthur J. Kania Dean and Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law. “We are deeply honored that John Scarpa—an individual whose life’s work so perfectly captures the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the Center—is lending his name to such a vital resource. I, along with the entire Villanova Law community, am grateful to John and Jana for their continued dedication and generous support.”

Central to Villanova’s cutting-edge approach to legal education is The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship, which serves as the hub for the School’s cross-disciplinary programming, groundbreaking coursework and real-world learning opportunities. Under the auspices of the Center, new learning modules— focused on the intersection of business and law—were added to the School’s core curriculum for JD candidates. These courses are designed to immerse all Villanova students in the practical application of their law studies and better prepare them for today’s business-centric legal practice.

Vital hands-on experience is also offered through the Scarpa Center’s Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship, which provides legal services to start-up ventures and budding entrepreneurs and serves as a resource for the Law School, the University and the Delaware Valley region. Working with full-time faculty, clinic students become a primary counselor to emerging businesses—advising on a diverse array of challenges common to launching, operating and growing sustainable ventures. While contributing to the Greater Philadelphia entrepreneurial ecosystem, students are empowering local innovators to turn their dreams into realities.

The Scarpa Center is also a driver within the legal and business communities, hosting an annual national conference and speaker programs that bring together thought leaders from across the globe. These events provide a forum for affecting change through collaborations between experts and institutions, while also exploring significant issues facing business and industry today.

The 15-member Scarpa Center Advisory Board—comprised of notable entrepreneurs and industry leaders— will provide guidance and counsel to the Center director, as well as students, faculty, administration and alumni. The Advisory Board will offer invaluable insight, perspective and council that will help Villanova Law build an incubator-style program that trains students on how business relates to law and prepares them to approach their profession with a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Scarpa Center is one of the growing number of Centers of Excellence at Villanova University and joins the Law School’s two additional Centers—The David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance and The Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law.

About John F. Scarpa

John Scarpa is an entrepreneur in the cable television and cellular communications industries. His groundbreaking work in these fields began in 1982, when he founded and served as president and COO of American Cellular Network Corporation. The following year, his company became the first publicly traded cellular telephone company in the U.S. Mr. Scarpa went on to co-found Unitel Wireless Communications Systems, where he helped build and manage cellular telephone systems throughout the U.S. until he sold the company in 2001. He was one of the original members of the Cellular One Network and was instrumental in establishing the New Jersey and the Northeast Cable TV Associations. 

Mr. Scarpa has generously supported Villanova University School of Law over the years, notably donating $1.5 million in 2004 for the establishment of The John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies and the annual John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics and Culture. A member of the Law School’s Board of Consultors, he received an honorary doctorate from Villanova Law in 2009.

A dedicated philanthropist, he supports education, healthcare and disadvantaged families through The John F. Scarpa Foundation. Mr. Scarpa is the key benefactor of the Frank and Edith Scarpa Regional Cancer Center (Vineland, NJ), Adopt-a-Family (Lake Worth, Fla.) and Home Safe (West Palm Beach, Fla).  A resident of Palm Beach, he serves on the board of directors of the Town of Palm Beach United Way and previously served as a director of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Mr. Scarpa is the recipient of numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from the American University of Rome, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville National Award, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Breath of Life Award and the National Italian American Foundation Special Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit. 

About Villanova University School of Law: Founded in 1953, Villanova University School of Law provides broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, offers seven in-house clinics and more than 150 externship opportunities that immerse students in the real-world application of their legal skills. Villanova is home to three Centers of Excellence—the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance; the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship; and the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law—which provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience and mentorship.

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.