Villanova University has announced a $5 million cash and estate commitment from alumnus Richard K. Faris, ’69 CE, ’70 MSCE, and his wife Marilyn, to the College of Engineering. The gift will provide support for expansion plans to the Center for Engineering Education and Research (CEER) and ensure an inspiring and cutting-edge research and learning environment for students and faculty. In recognition of this gift, the College of Engineering has named the Richard K. Faris ’69 CE, ’70 MSCE Structural Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory.
“My Villanova Engineering education has been a major help in my career,” said Dick Faris. “My work with the Villanova engineering boards that I serve on—and especially my work with the students—has impressed me with how extraordinary the Villanova Engineering education has become – the curriculum, the faculty and the individual students. I am especially impressed with the interdisciplinary aspect of today’s Villanova education, and how Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and Computer Engineering students work together to solve real life problems.”
An active philanthropist, Faris has served on the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board since 2015 and is an inaugural member of the Engineering Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, formed in 2017, for which he guest teaches entrepreneurship classes. He is currently working with Villanova engineering students to develop software for facial recognition of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo, where Faris serves on the Board of Directors and named the Faris Family Education Center. He was the co-founder of Primavera Systems, Inc., developer of the project management software used in the construction of major structures worldwide. Primavera was acquired by Oracle in 2008.
“The College of Engineering has benefitted greatly from all that Dick and Marilyn do—from their support for the enhancement and expansion of our facilities, to teaching in the college, mentoring our students and acting as a resource to our faculty and administrators,” said Randy Weinstein, PhD, interim dean of the college. “This gift is a testament to the belief in our program and its dedication to creating engineers who can solve complex problems and make meaningful change in the world.”
In addition to this gift, the couple previously established the Faris Family Endowed Fund for Engineering Outreach at Villanova to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational programs, and supported renovations to the Finneran Pavilion, the home of Villanova Basketball, which is set to re-open this fall.
“Our alumni, parents and friends are excited about the transformations taking place throughout the University, and it is their philanthropy that is driving this progress,” said Michael J. O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement. “We are grateful to Dick and Marilyn for the many ways they support the College of Engineering, and especially for investing so generously in our engineering facilities, which are critical to the success of our students and faculty.”
These gifts were part of Villanova’s comprehensive capital campaign, “For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change,” which closed on May 31, at $760 million—exceeding its goal by more than $160 million. Of that total, $64.8 million was raised to support the College of Engineering. For more information on the Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change, visit www.forthegreatergreat.com.
About Villanova University College of Engineering: Founded in 1905, Villanova University’s College of Engineering is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence and a liberal arts education within the framework of the University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition. The result: Engineers who pursue both knowledge and wisdom, and aspire to ethical and moral leadership within their chosen careers, their community and the world.
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 www.villanova.edu.