The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, has served as Villanova University’s 32nd president since June 1, 2006. Under his leadership, the University has charted a course of significant transformation that includes embarking on an ambitious ten-year strategic plan, launching the University’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign, initiating a vibrant physical campus renovation, and dramatically expanding student opportunities.
Bolstered by this vision, the University has introduced new initiatives, become more nationally recognized for its academic prowess and broken University admission records. Father Donohue has also worked together with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to strengthen the Villanova community and renew its commitment to the institution’s Augustinian, Catholic educational mission.
Under Father Donohue’s leadership, Villanova launched a new Strategic Plan—"Igniting the Heart. Inspiring the Mind. Illuminating the Spirit."—which is designed to build upon the success achieved in recent years and to guide the University through 2020. Core to the Plan are Villanova's distinctive attributes of academic excellence, strong community, service to others, personal attention, and a platform for success. The Strategic Plan identifies academic and programmatic priorities and a Villanova Campus Master Plan that will guide the transformation of the University's physical plant to meet current and future needs.
Father Donohue also has spearheaded the University’s environmental sustainability efforts, highlighted by his signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which pledges that the University will work to achieve climate neutrality.
Throughout this transformative period in Villanova’s history, Father Donohue is committed to assuring that the University’s distinctive identity as an Augustinian Catholic institution is maintained. A champion of the role of service learning at Villanova, Father Donohue instituted an annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service as a way for the University community to propel its Augustinian ideals into action. Each September, nearly 5,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni take part in projects throughout Greater Philadelphia. This is just one of the many service learning opportunities at the University, which boasts more than 250,000 hours of service in the local, national and international community.
Father Donohue is steadfastly dedicated to providing a distinctive academic experience to students across all colleges and disciplines by forging student-faculty partnership that connect teaching, research and extracurricular initiatives; identifying new and distinctive pedagogical approaching to teaching and learning; and developing Centers around distinctive institutional competencies. Under his leadership, the University has increased its commitment both to interdisciplinary learning and the creation of new Centers of Excellence.
Born in Bronx, NY, and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan, Father Donohue earned a BA, with a concentration in theatre and communication arts, from Villanova University in 1975 and was ordained an Augustinian priest in 1979. He holds an MA in theatre from the Catholic University of America, a MDiv from the Washington Theological Union, and a PhD in theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing his doctorate, Father Donohue taught theatre at the University of Illinois, where he received honors for outstanding teaching. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.
Father Donohue is a tenured professor at Villanova who served as chair of the University’s department of theatre from 1992 to 2006. He annually directed musical theatre productions on campus, earning six Barrymore Award nominations and one Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.
Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD
32nd President of Villanova University