VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has received a $10 million commitment from Albert Lepage ’69 CLAS, retired co-chairman of Lepage Bakeries Inc., to establish the Center for History in the Public Interest. This commitment marks the largest-ever gift to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University’s oldest and largest college.
“Understanding the history and the diversity of the human experience is incredibly powerful. It helps fuel self-discovery, transformation and growth, which are central to the Villanova academic experience,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “I am incredibly grateful to Albert for recognizing this, and for his generous gift that will provide our students with exceptional opportunities to better understand the past in order to improve our future.”
The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest will be a multifaceted resource that draws upon the past to impart lessons for the modern world. Through academic programs, research, publications and events, the center will engage the public, policymakers, scholars, teachers and students from history and other fields—contributing to a more informed and engaged public. Among its greatest goals, the Lepage Center will strive to have a visible and tangible impact on the way history is taught to future generations.
With the Center, Villanova will infuse academic knowledge into classrooms and curricula through programs and partnerships with local secondary and higher education administrators and teachers. Mr. Lepage’s commitment provides immediate and sustaining support for the Center, which will launch in fall 2016.
“My hope is that the good study of history will foster a greater understanding of today relative to yesterday,” said Lepage. “History often repeats itself, and the Center will bring historical perspective to current events.”
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to establish such an influential Center at Villanova, and most importantly to share our insights with those in our region and around the world,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “As a historical scholar myself, I am especially proud that our distinguished History faculty have a new way to expand upon the innovative historical research, teaching and professional collaborations that already occur at the College.”
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 $550 million has been raised towards its $600 million goal. The most ambitious in the University’s 174-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 generous gift represents what our campaign is about—creating opportunities for Villanova students and faculty to have a greater impact on the world,” said Michael J. O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement. “We are grateful to Albert Lepage for making this investment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”
Albert Lepage is the retired co-chairman of Lepage Bakeries, Inc., a 113-year-old maker of breads, rolls, English muffins and donuts. Lepage joined the family business in 1971 and served as co-owner from 1978 and chairman from 1983 to 2012, when the company merged with Flowers Foods. He also served as chairman of the Quality Bakers of America Co-operative and treasurer of the American Bakers Association.
Throughout his career and continuing in his retirement, Lepage has been an active volunteer and philanthropist, serving on the boards of St. Mary’s Health System, Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Lewiston-Auburn Arts, the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Governor’s Business Council.
Lepage graduated from Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1969. Prior to his recent gift, Lepage established the Albert R. Lepage Endowed Professorship in History at the College.
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. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.