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Alumna Anne Welsh McNulty ’75 Invests $5 Million to Establish New Institute for Women’s Leadership at Villanova University

Anne Welsh McNulty ’75

Villanova, Pa. – Villanova University has announced the creation of a new Institute for Women’s Leadership with a $5 million gift from Anne Welsh McNulty ’75 (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), co-founder and managing partner of JBK Partners and former member of the Villanova Board of Trustees. This interdisciplinary institute recognizes the importance of advancing women as leaders on campus and in the world and solidifies Villanova’s commitment to cultivating leaders. The McNulty Institute will launch in 2017, fifty years after the 1967 Villanova board decision to become fully co-educational across all disciplines. This gift is part of the University’s $600 million Comprehensive Capital Campaign, For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.

“One of the most powerful ways to ignite change is to develop the next generation of passionate, ethical leaders,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “Anne is one of those leaders. Her gift will meaningfully increase Villanova’s ability to empower and support women leaders and will have an impact well beyond the borders of our campus.”

The Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership will foster women’s advancement through education, advocacy, community-building and the collaborative creation of new knowledge. In addition to supporting new research and leadership development opportunities, the McNulty Institute will act as a centralized resource where Villanovans can find academic, extracurricular and professional programs that will stimulate conversations about women in leadership and develop the skills and experiences that can help women excel in their chosen fields and act as agents of change. The Institute will practice a spirit of inclusiveness, welcoming women and men of all backgrounds, disciplines and abilities. Similarly, the Institute will function as an interdisciplinary partner, working closely with existing programs and departments to coordinate, collaborate and communicate the many activities that foster women’s leadership across campus.

“When I went to Villanova 40 years ago, women had only recently been admitted across all colleges at the University, and those of us on campus were ambitious and adventurous and ready to take on the world. We were convinced the rapid changes around us would continue and that progress would be made much more quickly than it had been. Now more than ever, we need to focus on how we develop and elevate women as leaders,” said Anne Welsh McNulty. “The exceptional community at Villanova provides a strong and inclusive space to expand understanding and to promote and empower women to assume leadership roles of all kinds. As the Institute evolves it will serve as a platform through which Villanova can initiate and contribute to national and global conversations about women in leadership.”

The McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership will focus on four main areas:

  • Research and Knowledge Development: Recognize, support and disseminate research on women and leadership.
  • Capacity Building and Skills Development: Develop leadership abilities of Villanovans through rigorous leadership and academic programs.
  • Networking and Enabling Connections: Facilitate connections and build support networks throughout the Villanova community and beyond. 

  • Advocacy: Raise awareness about obstacles to women’s leadership within social and institutional structures as well as within individuals; promote policy changes to help eliminate those obstacles and establish environments where gender equity flourishes. 

“The McNulty Institute will take a holistic approach to fostering the success and leadership of women,” said Amy Fleischer, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Chair of the McNulty Institute Steering Committee. “We aim to provide new programming that supports Villanovans as they take on leadership roles—here on campus and throughout the world, while also maximizing what’s currently successful on campus.”

Villanova launched the public phase of its Comprehensive Capital Campaign—For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change—in October 2013. To date, more than $500 million has been raised 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.

“The Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership evolved through an exceptionally thoughtful and collaborative partnership with the McNulty Foundation. Anne has been directly and personally involved in the inception of this Institute, which makes this gift particularly meaningful,” said Michael J. O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement.  “We are grateful for Anne’s investment in the University and in all Villanovans who will benefit—from students and alumni to faculty and staff.”

About Anne Welsh McNulty:

Anne Welsh McNulty is co-founder and managing partner of JBK Partners, with businesses including investment management and a private philanthropic foundation. Before starting JBK Partners, she was a managing director of Goldman Sachs and served as a senior executive of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group. Anne holds an MBA from the Wharton School and was valedictorian of her class at Villanova University.

Anne and her late husband John founded the John P. and Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation in 1985, which supports education and leadership development of individuals who strive to make a difference in the world. She served on the Board of Trustees at Villanova University for 10 years and currently serves on the Board at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Anne is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Institute, the Metropolitan Opera of New York and the Child Mind Institute. In addition, she is a Trustee of the Naples Children and Education Foundation, which benefits children’s charities in Collier County, Florida.

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 Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.