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A Message from the President

August 23, 2021

In this Update:

  • COVID-19 Update
  • Opening Address to the Villanova Community – Thursday, Sept. 9
  • Student Welcome Back Mass and Block Party
  • 9/11 Memorial: 20 Years
  • 1842 Day
  • Pedestrian Bridge Named
  • Middle States Peer Evaluation Team Visit
  • The Refectory
  • Villanova’s Sustainability Plan
  • President’s Office Hours for Students

Dear Members of the Villanova Community,

Our community is once again full of energy and enthusiasm as we welcome the Class of 2025 and our returning students to campus. The start of an academic year is always an exciting time as it brings new faces, new stories and new experiences to Villanova. I extend my sincere appreciation to the countless members of our community who played a part in welcoming our new and returning students.

As we look forward to this fall semester, I am happy to provide the following updates and announcements:

COVID-19 Update
I am pleased to share that our percentage of fully vaccinated community members has increased, moving from 93% to 95%. Future updates regarding the percentage of fully vaccinated community members, and any adjustments to our current guidance or plans, will be communicated in Community First email updates, which will start next week. Additionally, the COVID-19 dashboard is live and will be updated every morning by 10 a.m. ET.

Last academic year was unlike any in recent history. At Villanova, it forced us to think, plan and operate differently. We learned a great deal about what worked and what didn’t, which creates some opportunities and possibilities moving forward. I tasked a cross-section of community members, led by Dr. Randy Weinstein, Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, to conduct a comprehensive examination of the positive effects of COVID on campus life. Some of the suggestions from The Lessons Learned task force report are already in place, and some are currently under consideration. As we review these suggestions and observations, I ask for your patience and flexibility, and I look forward to sharing more information about these recommendations in the coming weeks and months.

Opening Address to the Villanova Community – Thursday, Sept. 9
Please join me for the 10th annual Opening Address to the Villanova community, on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 2:30 p.m. on the Rowen Campus Green (rain location is the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center). This event is a wonderful way for our entire community—students, faculty and staff—to come together to mark the beginning of the academic year, outline shared goals and discuss upcoming initiatives for 2021-22 and beyond.


Student Welcome Back Mass and Block Party
After being unable to gather in our usual manner for over a year, I invite all students to join in a special Welcome Back Mass outdoors on the Rowen Campus Green on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 5 p.m., followed by a celebration with food trucks and music on Mendel Field. There will be no other Sunday evening campus masses on this day. Students of any or no religious tradition are most welcome to attend. Bring your portable chair, bring your roommate and join us for this special event. Visit the mass pages for additional information and any weather location updates, as needed.  

9/11 Memorial: 20 Years
This September marks two decades since the September 11 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people, including 15 Villanova alumni. On this 20th anniversary, I invite all on campus to remember and reflect upon one of the more tragic days in recent American history with a series of events, discussions and reflections from Wednesday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 10. 

1842 Day
Villanova’s fifth annual 1842 Day is Tuesday, Sept. 21. The full, on-campus experience returns, including a music and food festival at the Riley Ellipse and the popular Cat Cabs trivia game. New this year, all members of the Villanova community are invited to participate in a virtual 5K. There will be a live stream broadcast throughout the day, capped off with a primetime special from the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. Most importantly, on this day, Villanovans will be able to support a myriad of areas and programs across the University. I encourage everyone to watch and take part in what is sure to be a fun and inspiring day.

Pedestrian Bridge Named
This fall, the pedestrian bridge over Lancaster Avenue will be officially named the Mildred Boyd Adams Community Bridge in recognition of the philanthropic support of Dee ’86 BSN and Nick Adams, and in honor of their grandmother. Dee and Nick are long-time supporters of the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing and its demonstrated commitment to the well-being and advocacy of patients. They have generously invested in the College’s students and faculty—helping to educate the next generations of Villanova nurses. The Adams’ son, Pierce, recently graduated from the Villanova School of Business and their nephew, Noble, is a senior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Dee is also a current member of the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Board of Consultors.

Middle States Peer Evaluation Team Visit
A Middle States Peer Evaluation Team, led by Fordham University President the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, SJ, will make a virtual site visit to Villanova from Sept. 26 to 29. The visit is the culmination of a Self-Study process at Villanova that has been underway for more than two and a half years. The peer evaluation team will read our self-study report and assess whether Villanova continues to meet the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s (MSCHE) Requirements for Affiliation and Standards for Accreditation. I encourage each of you to read the report in preparation for the team’s visit. The self-study report and related information about the accreditation process can be found on Villanova’s Middle States webpage. I am extremely thankful for the hundreds of Villanovans, led by a Steering Committee of 25, who have contributed to this important endeavor.

The Refectory
I am happy to share that The Refectory will reopen this fall with a new operator. The details for the opening are being finalized, but I am pleased that this on-campus eatery will once again be available to our University community. More information will be shared soon.

Villanova’s Sustainability Plan 
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read about Villanova University’s Sustainability Plan 2020–2030, I encourage you to do so. The plan provides a comprehensive road map for Villanova’s sustainability efforts over the next decade. It adopts an inclusive definition for sustainability—one encompassing efforts to support the planet and its people and to ensure prosperity for all. Many aspects of the plan are already in motion, with numerous initiatives and milestones for the next several years. I hope that in reading the plan, our community is inspired to embrace new habits and commit to an ethos of sustainable living in all aspects of our lives. For an overview of the plan and to learn more about the plan’s methodology and projects, visit the Villanova Sustainability Plan website.

President's Office Hours for Students
I set aside time on my schedule each semester to meet with students who would like to share ideas, raise concerns or ask questions. Dates and times for the Spring 2020 semester have been posted and can be accessed online. I want to encourage all students to take advantage of this opportunity.

I am excited to have you all back, and I look forward to a wonderful fall semester.