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Villanova University Partners with The Posse Foundation, a Premier College Access, Success and Youth Leadership Development Program

Villanova University has announced a partnership with The Posse Foundation, one of the most prestigious and comprehensive college access, success and youth leadership development programs in the United States.

VILLANOVA, Pa.—Villanova University has announced a partnership with The Posse Foundation, one of the most prestigious and comprehensive college access, success and youth leadership development programs in the United States. Through the Posse program, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, Villanova will expand its recruitment efforts in New Orleans, supporting 10 high-achieving area students per year with full-tuition scholarships to attend the University. The first cohort of Posse students will enroll at Villanova in fall 2020.

“Villanova has found in The Posse Foundation a strategic partner whose values closely align with our own. We each believe in the transformative strength of community and the importance of developing leaders from all walks of life who can go on to positively impact the world,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “The Posse program complements who we are as an Augustinian Catholic institution and is a tangible way in which we can bring our values to life.”

Posse has a long and proven track record of helping young people gain access to institutions of higher education. The Foundation draws from an extensive pool of talented student leaders from across the country who might otherwise be overlooked through the traditional admissions process. This partnership will provide Villanova greater access to students in New Orleans, an area from which the University does not extensively draw. Villanova’s partnership with The Posse Foundation complements and will integrate with the University’s existing leadership and access scholarship programs.

Father Donohue continued, “A posse is often described as a group of people who are there to support you—much in the same way the Villanova community supports one another. We look forward to welcoming Posse Scholars from New Orleans to Villanova. We are always eager to welcome students with strong leadership qualities and a diversity of experience to our community and know that our Posse students will enrich the intellectual and social life of the University.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Villanova and excited to work with Father Peter Donohue and his dedicated team,” said Posse President and Founder Deborah Bial. “New Orleans is home to so many amazing students. Those who become Villanova Posse Scholars will have the chance to contribute to an already vibrant campus community as well as benefit from the outstanding education it affords.”

Founded in 1989, The Posse Foundation seeks to expand the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds, including cultural, socio-economic, racial and religious diversity. Through the Foundation’s unique evaluation process, Posse staff identify a group of high-achieving urban students—most from non-traditional backgrounds—for each institution. Candidates then participate in individual interviews and a finalist workshop, with administrators from each partner college ultimately selecting the 10 individuals who go on to form the year’s Posse.

During the program’s 30 years, Posse Scholars have proven to be among the most engaged leaders on their respective campuses, actively promoting collaborative communications, positive change and growth. The campus leadership and academic success of Posse Scholars have propelled numerous alumni to influential roles in the workforce, with alumni serving as leaders in government, medicine, education, academia, NGOs and business.

About The Posse Foundation: Posse was founded in 1989 by Deborah Bial—inspired by a student who said, “I never would’ve dropped out of college if I’d had my posse with me.” The simple idea of sending a group of students together to college so they could “back each other up” became the impetus for a program that today has identified, recruited and trained more than 9,200 students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential. Vanderbilt University was Posse’s first partner school, awarding scholarships to five students from New York City. Since then, the program has expanded to 10 major cities and grown to include STEM and post 9/11 U.S. Veterans initiatives. To date, Posse Scholars have won more than $1.4 billion in scholarships from 58 partner colleges and universities. Since opening its doors 30 years ago, Posse has received many significant acknowledgements. Notably, Bial was awarded a  MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2007, and in 2010 President Barack Obama honored Posse with a portion of his Nobel Peace Prize grant. To learn more about the Posse Foundation, click here.

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