VILLANOVA, Pa.— Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced a transformational $7.5 million gift from an anonymous donor to establish the William and Julia Moulden Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), the University’s oldest and largest college. This gift will allow the College to invest in key programmatic and student-focused initiatives, while honoring the late William and Julia Moulden, a Black, Catholic couple who provided crucial support to the Augustinian founders of Villanova College in the 19th century.
“This is a transformational gift for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Father Donohue. “We are grateful to the donors not only for their financial commitment, but for honoring the important legacy left by the Mouldens—a family whose generosity to Villanova and the Augustinians left an indelible mark on the University.”
Born to enslaved parents, William Moulden would go on to gain his freedom through Pennsylvania’s Gradual Abolition Act of 1780. William and Julia married in 1841, living in the Villanova area until their deaths. During this time, they forged a close relationship with the Augustinians who established Villanova College. The Mouldens worked for the Augustinians at Villanova for 40 years and were the first to donate money to build St. Thomas of Villanova Church. The final stipulation in William’s will was that after his wife and children passed away, ownership of his property and any personal estate be passed to the Augustinian College of Villanova. In addition to the CLAS Dean position named for the Mouldens, the University—in 1994—named a residence hall, Moulden Hall, in honor of William and Julia Moulden.
“I am honored and humbled to serve as the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, William and Julia Moulden Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “This generous endowment will have a profound, positive impact on the College’s ability to deliver a vibrant educational experience for our students, as well as support the path-breaking research conducted by our faculty.”
The gift will provide significant resources to the CLAS Dean to invest in key College initiatives, allowing it to enhance its curriculum, launch new academic programs and Centers of Excellence, bolster existing centers and programs, and support innovative faculty and student research and scholarship opportunities. It will also establish a new endowed fund for the Office for Undergraduate Students that will enrich the student experience by providing supplemental support to deserving Villanovans for participation in internships, professional development experiences, immersion programs and other experiential learning opportunities that are key to personal and professional growth, as well as success in today’s workplace.
The inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dean Lindenmeyr began her tenure at Villanova as a faculty member in the History Department in 1987—later serving as chair of the department. She would go on to become the Dean of Graduate Studies, before being named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2014. The College has flourished under Dean Lindenmeyr’s leadership, launching a new doctoral program in Theology and a master’s program in Environmental Science, as well as several new undergraduate majors and minors. She has overseen a period of enhanced research activity and recognition at CLAS, hired more than 150 new full-time faculty, led the College’s efforts to advance diversity and sustainability and supported the launch of four new Centers of Excellence—the Center for Irish Studies, the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, the Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stewardship and the Center for Political Theology. An internationally recognized expert in modern Russian history, Dean Lindenmeyr continues to be active as a scholar. Her latest book, Citizen Countess: Sofia Panina and the Fate of Revolutionary Russia, was published by University of Wisconsin Press in 2019.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.
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.