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Winners of Villanova University’s ICE Institute Pitch Day, Meyer ICE Awards Announced

Logo of ICE Institute

VILLANOVA, Pa. Villanova University’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute has announced the winners of its seventh annual Pitch Day competition held April 19. Pitch Day gives students from across the University’s schools and colleges the opportunity to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, while gaining real-world experience in building an idea from the ground up.

Pitch Day features the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), in which student entrepreneurs presented original ideas and prototypes to a panel of alumni and guest judges involved in business development, investments, marketing and technology. In addition to the $10,000 that will be awarded to student startups through VSEC, students received invaluable feedback from mentors and advisors that can help advance their ideas.

“Pitch Day is the culminating event for our innovators and entrepreneurs,” said II Luscri, Executive Director of the ICE Institute. “Having the opportunity take action on ideas is a major key in the entrepreneurial process, and that’s what the day is all about. Whether working to innovate in social ventures or create the next cutting edge mobile app, Villanovans across campus continue to find unique ways to ignite change.”

Pitch Day also includes the announcement of Villanova’s annual Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards winners. The ICE Awards were created and endowed by Patrick Meyer '74 VSB in honor of the Meyer family (Patrick '74, Edward '86, and C. Paul '30) to recognize the spirit of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship that enhances Villanova University. The Meyer ICE Award is conferred on a student in each of the University’s schools and colleges, as well as one faculty recipient.

Winners from the 2018 Pitch Day:


  • Memorable Care 1st Place – Power Pearls 
  • Burke Family 2nd Place – Renew
  • DealerWeb/Grey Advertising 3rd Place – Peris Tech 
  • “VUers” Choice – Chiron Interactive Resume Builder 
  • Halloran Social Venture - Renew 
  • Klingler Unitas Prize - HelmeTrax 

REALtech Competition:

  • 1st – Ascension
  • 2nd -  BECA – Business Executive Concierge Assistant
  • 3rd - WorkPass

Virtual Reality Competition:

  • 1st – Kingdom Carver
  • 2nd -  Popup Philly

2018 Meyer ICE Award Student Winners:

James Ghiorse, ’18, College of Engineering, created an app that gives users the opportunity to round up their transactions to the next whole dollar, the remainder of which goes toward a donation to vetted charities and philanthropic organizations. The app has grown greatly in relevance on campus as Ghiorse continuously seeks to further develop and expand its capabilities.

William Repetto, MA ’18, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was a driving force behind crafting the Falvey Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Resource Guide, a community-curated webpage that includes both library and user-generated content to create a space that encourages community building, outreach, and intersectionality.

Agnes Cho, ’18, M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, mentors first-year and new multicultural students as they acclimate to Villanova. She was selected as a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow in summer 2017 to explore the role of pediatric nurses in preventing unintentional gun violence by toddlers. She is the first nursing student in several years to pursue an Honors Degree by writing a thesis on philosophy and nursing.

Reece Cooke, ’18, Charles Widger School of Law, served as a member of the Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship, working with Sanctuary Farms, an innovative nonprofit start-up developing community farm spaces to engage Philadelphia’s homeless and housing-unstable population with work, food and social services. Cooke developed a workable governance structure, created bylaws, established a board of directors, led the first board meeting, and created policy and disclosure guidelines for Sanctuary Farms.

Brady Acton, ’18, Villanova School of Business, has throughout his college career co-founded and grew a multi-million dollar tech startup, operated his own non-profit organization, developed several gaming and studying apps, and volunteered for CodedbyKids, an organization that helps underprivileged youth acquire coding and technology skills. He is an award-wining inventor and entrepreneur, and nationally-recognized student who consistently prioritizes mentoring his peers.

2018 Meyer ICE Award Faculty Winner:

Shawn Howton, Faculty Director of The Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate and Professor of Finance at Villanova School of Business has been an innovator at Villanova University for many years as the creator and developer of the DiLella Center for Real Estate, its courses and many of its programs. Dr. Howton has been working toward a more cross-college approach to the study of real estate since the DiLella Center was founded in 2007. For the past two years, he has explored real estate-related offerings across campus and in 2016, he put together a committee of professors representing real estate development, investment, urban planning, architectural history, and GIS. As a team, they created a series of courses that will be experienced by students campus-wide. The new Built Environment certificate program will teach students to strategically examine how the built environment reflects and shapes lives and impacts issues concerning social justice, racial equality, distribution of and access to public goods, and engagement in political life.

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 M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit