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A Message from the President

June 17, 2021

Dear Members of the Villanova Community,

I am writing to share a few updates from around campus.

COVID-19 Update
On Monday, June 28, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania masking order will be lifted. With this change, if you are fully vaccinated, masks in all campus spaces—both indoor and outdoor—are optional. For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, wearing masks indoors is still strongly recommended.

As I shared in my email earlier this month, all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus must be fully vaccinated by August 1, 2021, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons. In the coming weeks, the Student Health Center and Human Resources will provide specific information about the documentation and verification process for community members in advance of returning to campus.

My hope is that by requiring the vaccine for all community members, we can lift most of the mitigation measures from this past year, provide the safest possible environment for both the University and local community, and that many of our typical events and activities can resume. More details about events and event planning will be shared by the Event Management Committee next week.

As of today, Fall 2021 will be a normal fall semester. Classrooms will be at full capacity without social distancing, and all undergraduate and graduate courses are planned to be in-person unless they had been traditionally taught in a different modality (e.g., 100% online).

Rooted Project
This Saturday is the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. In observance of Juneteenth, the University is closed, and all classes are canceled tomorrow. On this day of observance, you can now follow the progress of the Rooted Project, a University-sponsored initiative that is uncovering the relationship between Villanova and minority communities in the region, on Twitter and Instagram at @NovaRootedProj.

The Rooted Project is currently directed (2020-21) by Judith Giesberg, PhD, Robert M. Birmingham Chair in the Humanities, who is working with University Researcher Angelina Lincoln ’18 CLAS, ’20 MA. Angelina is researching the life of William and Juliana Moulden, a Black couple who were integral to Villanova’s founding and its survival. Born an indentured servant and later freed, William Moulden helped the Augustinians by, among other things, donating his Rosemont estate to the College of Villanova after his death in 1893. In upcoming years, the Rooted Project will be directed by Craig Bailey, PhD (2021-22) and Shannen Williams, PhD (2022-23).

The Rooted Project aims to produce an updated and complete history of Villanova University that recognizes the central contributions of William Moulden and diverse other 19th and 20th century individuals to Villanova’s founding and its survival. For more information, follow @NovaRootedProj.


University Leadership Updates
I previously announced the retirements of two longstanding University administrators—Vice President for Student Life the Rev. John P. Stack, OSA, and Executive Vice President Ken Valosky. Kathy Byrnes was named to the role of Vice President for Student Life in March, and a search is currently underway for Ken Valosky’s role. With these leadership changes, I have decided to make a few organizational updates effective on July 1:


  • The Office of Financial Affairs, led by Vice President for Finance Neil Horgan, previously reported to the Executive Vice President. Financial Affairs will now report directly to the President and Neil’s title will be Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
  • The Division of Student Life previously reported to the President but will now report to the Office of the Provost. This reporting structure is similar to that of our peer institutions and places the vast majority of our student-centered activities under one office.
  • The Office of Internal Audit, which reported to the Executive Vice President, and the University Compliance Office, which reported to the Office of the President, will now report to the Office of the General Counsel.

I believe these changes enable our University community to take full advantage of our talented leadership team and provide the necessary focus on important, upcoming strategic initiatives.