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A Message from the President: March 2019

March 25, 2019
  • Sustainability and Climate Change
  • Academic Recognition for Villanova Students and Faculty
  • FY2020 Budget
  • 2017–18 President’s Report
  • Recent Athletic Achievements
  • Summer Hours for Employees
  • 2019 Commencement: Volunteers Needed
  • Information Security Training Program Reminder

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It’s hard to believe that we are already past the midway point of the spring semester. As we finish out the spring semester, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.

Sustainability and Climate Change

I would like to thank the students, faculty and staff who added their voices to the Villanova Climate Strike/Walk-Out on Friday, March 15. I appreciate and applaud your passion and commitment to this cause. The Sustainability and Climate Council is working to develop Villanova’s Sustainability Plan. Their hope is to seek approval for the plan by the fall semester. Once approved, the implementation will become a central part of our new Strategic Plan and updates will be provided as decisions are made.

If you would like to be engaged in this work, please contact the Sustainability and Climate Council. I encourage you to actively participate in the established committees of the Council and offer input on the sustainability plan currently in development. Its my hope that the entire community to join with me in pledging our institutional and personal commitment and resources to achieving the comprehensive goals of this plan. It is imperative that everyone join in this commitment. Those who follow us, will thank us.

Academic Recognition for Villanova Students and Faculty

I am pleased to share that, in addition to once again being named as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Students, Villanova has many students and faculty who continue to be recognized nationally for their academic achievements.

  • Two Villanova students—Bridget Gile ’19 and Andrew Lee ’19—are among 68 students from around the world selected as part of the 2019 cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University. The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program awards a small group of high-achieving students from around the world full funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford. In addition to pursuing graduate studies, Knight-Hennessy Scholars participate in experiential learning through the King Global Leadership Program, which provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, global study trips and personal development opportunities.
  • Two Villanova faculty members were named recipients of the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to advance research in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and neurobiology. Edward Kim, PhD, assistant professor of Computing Sciences, will focus on the development of a radically new AI framework that should mimic and model human intelligence and behavior. Troy Shirangi, PhD, assistant professor of Biology, will study the role genes play in creating and producing instinctive behaviors. According to the National Science Foundation, CAREER awards are conferred “in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”

Congratulations to Bridget, Andrew, Edward and Troy!

FY2020 Budget

At its Feb. 12, 2019, meeting, the University's Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) budget, which includes a tuition increase of 3.75 percent. The budget provides for a significant initial investment in the new Strategic Plan and includes additional expenses that will result from the operations of the new residence halls in The Commons and of the Performing Arts Center. The budget also continues the University’s ongoing commitment to undergraduate financial assistance. The University now provides more than $125 million in undergraduate financial assistance, an increase of $57 million—more than 80 percent—over the past 10 years. In addition, the University's FY2020 budget establishes a salary pool for merit-based raises at 3 percent.

In January, Standard & Poor's raised the University’s credit rating to AA- (with a stable outlook) from A+, noting Villanova’s strong financial management practices in their commentary. The FY2020 budget reflects the continuation of the University’s longstanding commitment to financial sustainability.

2017–18 President’s Report
The 2017–18 President’s Report is now available online. Our students embody what is best about Villanova, and with this report we are celebrating them for who they are—smart, accomplished and on a journey of academic discovery and growth. Through the eyes of these 11 students, we are sharing what makes the Villanova educational experience so unique—particularly the strength and personal attention of our community—while also highlighting our rigorous academics and national stature.

Recent Athletic Achievements

Villanova student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.286 for the fall 2018 semester. This is the 31st straight semester that our student-athletes have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher, with 17 student-athletes earning a 4.0 GPA. In addition to their success in the classroom, I am pleased to share the following recent athletic achievements that highlight how our student-athletes and athletic programs continue to compete on an elite level.

  • Men’s Basketball won the 2019 BIG EAST Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. With their victory over Seton Hall, Villanova became the first team in conference history to win three consecutive tournament titles. Jay Wright was named the Big East Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career, and Phil Booth ’18 and Eric Paschall ’18 were first team All-BIG EAST honorees.
  • Women’s Swimming and Diving captured its sixth consecutive BIG EAST championship. Head coach Rick Simpson and his staff were named the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year, Kelly Montesi ’22 earned the Big East Championship Most Outstanding Swimmer Award, and Bridie Dunn ’20 was the meet’s Most Outstanding Diver. The Women’s team won 19 of the 20 events at the meet.
  • For Men’s Swimming and Diving, Todd Michael claimed the Men’s Diving Coach of the Year Award and Michael Perra ’20 was named the Most Outstanding Diver at the BIG EAST Championships. 
  • Men’s Track and Field capture its fifth BIG EAST Conference indoor title in the last six years. Distance runner Casey Comber ’20 was named the Outstanding Track Performer of the meet, while head coach Marcus O'Sullivan and his coaching staff were presented with the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year trophy. Casey went on to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, where he was the runner-up in the mile and earned first team All-America honors.
  • Women’s Track and Field made history at the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships, as Villanova won its record 16th team title with the highest team score in the 37-year history of the meet. Sprinter Trudy-Ann Williamson ’20 shared the Outstanding Track Performer Award and also tied for being the meet's highest point scorer, while head coach Gina Procaccio and her staff accepted the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year trophy. Freshman high jumper Sanaä Barnes ’22 became the first Villanova woman to be an indoor All-American in a field event with a fourth-place finish in the high jump at the NCAA Championships. Sanaä also broke the school record in the high jump for the second time this season. Villanova also earned first team All-America honors in the distance medley relay, while senior distance runner Nicole Hutchinson ’19 was a second team All-American in the 3,000 meters.
  • Men’s Lacrosse had an 11-10 win over No. 1 ranked Yale, giving the Wildcats their first-ever win over a top ranked opponent. The win was also the 100th career victory of head coach Mike Corrado’s Villanova career.

Congratulations to all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff!

Summer Hours for Employees

I am pleased to announce that Summer Hours will be offered again this year. Full-time staff employees will have the opportunity for early dismissal at noon each Friday beginning May 17 and ending Aug. 9. I encourage you to visit the Summer Hours policy posted on the Human Resources website for additional information.

Summer Hours are an important part of the University's commitment to helping employees maintain a work/life balance. I recognize that many departments on campus will not be able to follow this policy exactly as outlined, especially those with 24/7 operations, or those with heavy workloads during the summer months. In these cases, my expectation is that department managers will identify other appropriate opportunities for their employees to achieve the work/life balance intended by Summer Hours. Please remember that in all cases, the needs of our students and internal and external communities must continue to be served in an exemplary fashion.

2019 Commencement: Volunteers Needed

Commencement is a memorable occasion for our graduating students, and much credit goes to the dedicated staff volunteers who help make the celebration special for our graduates and their guests. We hope you will consider volunteering to assist with the various ceremonies taking place during graduation weekend this May. Volunteers are needed for three events—one on Friday, May 17, and two on Saturday, May 18.

Friday, May 17

Undergraduate University Commencement Ceremony

4:30 p.m. | Villanova Stadium

Saturday, May 18

College Convocations

9 a.m. | Various Campus Locations

Saturday, May 18

Graduate University Commencement Ceremony

1 p.m. | Villanova Stadium

In appreciation for volunteering your time, all full-time staff who volunteer on both days—at the Friday event and at one of the Saturday events—will be able to make two of the designated summer Fridays a full day off instead of a half day. Additionally, all Commencement volunteers will receive a new, Villanova-branded windbreaker jacket to wear during graduation weekend.

Please consider volunteering for as many events as you are able. Click here for more information and to sign up. If you have any questions, please contact Nick Tumolo, Assistant Dean of Students, at Thank you for your consideration, and we hope to see you during graduation weekend to send the Class of 2019 off in true Villanova fashion!

Information Security Training Program Reminder

As a reminder, all full-time and part-time faculty and staff must complete the Information Security Awareness Program by Friday, April 12, 2019. The program raises awareness of information security and highlights the significant role that each member of our community plays in protecting the University’s information. The safeguarding of personal information, confidential University data and intellectual property are paramount to protecting the University and to avoiding a disruption to campus operations. Thank you again to UNIT for coordinating this initiative, and to everyone who has already completed the training. If you have questions, please contact UNIT at

Finally, as our community celebrates this Lent, I encourage us all to take advantage of the Festival of Forgiveness on April 9 – 10. The Festival  offers a time for personal reflection and spiritual peace. For more information, please contact Campus Ministry.

As always, thank you for all you do for Villanova, and best wishes for the remainder of the semester.