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A Message from the President: August 2018

August 27, 2018

In this Message:


  • Opening Address to the Villanova Community – Tuesday, Sept. 4
  • The Transformation of Campus
  • Summer Visitors
  • For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change
  • Opening Mass to Celebrate the Feast of St. Augustine – Aug. 28
  • 2018 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration – Sept. 14–16
  • Commencement Nominations are Due Wednesday, Sept. 5

Dear Members of the Villanova Community:

Campus is once again full of energy and enthusiasm as we welcome the Class of 2022 and our returning students. The start of an academic year is always an exciting time as it brings new faces, new stories and new experiences to our University community. I extend my sincere appreciation to the countless members of our community who played a part in creating a memorable welcome for our new and returning students, including:

  • The staff and students who delivered the New Student Orientation for undergraduates and the First-Year Student Orientation program at the Charles Widger School of Law. In particular, I would like to recognize and thank the New Student Orientation staff of 120 students, under the direction of Geri Stanus ‘19 VSB, who helped ensure a smooth transition for the Class of 2022, transfer students and their families.
  • The Residence Life staff and 110 resident assistants who prepared for and welcomed the more than 4,000 new and returning students moving into our campus residence halls.

Thank you to these individuals and to the countless other departments on campus that helped ensure Orientation and Move-In were a success. As we look forward to this fall semester, I am happy to provide the following updates and announcements.

Opening Address to the Villanova Community – Tuesday, Sept. 4

Please join me for the eighth annual Opening Address to the Villanova community, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. This event has become a wonderful way for our entire community—students, faculty and staff—to gather together to mark the beginning of the academic year, outline shared goals and discuss upcoming initiatives for 20182019 and beyond.

The Transformation of Campus

It’s been another very busy summer on campus, and a great deal of progress has been made on campus projects—both large and small. I will provide a detailed update on the transformation during my opening address, but I would like to thank and recognize the Office of Facilities Management for the incredible amount of work that was completed over the summer to maintain and improve our beautiful campus.

Summer Visitors

The Office of University Admission welcomed a record 16,729 visitors to campus (compared to 15,256 last year and 14,409 in 2016) between May 3 and Aug. 10 for daily Nova Nation presentations, campus tours, group visits for high schools, camps, community-based organizations or self-guided tours for walk-in visitors.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Visitors came to campus from 48 states (all but Mississippi and North Dakota), Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. 
  • Visitors also came from 35 non-US countries (Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom), compared to 17 non-US countries last summer.


  • Our Admission staff gave 116 Nova Nation Presentations, of which 50 percent were at or above capacity, compared to 46 percent last year and 44 percent in 2016.

In addition to prospective students and their families, each summer our campus is host to numerous groups, programs and organizations. Altogether, there were more than 120 conferences and camps with 12,567 attendees over the course of the 10-week summer season. I would like to thank and acknowledge the Office of Conference Services for its efforts, as well the numerous campus units that partner with Conference Services including Dining and Catering Services, Facilities Management, Custodial Services, Connelly Center, UNIT and the Registrar’s Office.

For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change

On May 31, we closed our historic comprehensive campaign, For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change. I am humbled by the overwhelming generosity of more than 78,000 donors who contributed more than $760 million to the University. Students, faculty and staff were a big part of our success, with a record 68 percent of the senior class participating in the senior class gift last year and more than 1,340 faculty and staff contributing over the course of the campaign. I would also like to thank and recognize the remarkable efforts of the Office of University Advancement for making this campaign a record-breaking success and ushering in a new era of philanthropy at Villanova.

I invite you all to participate in 1842 Day—Villanova’s second annual day of giving—on Tuesday, Sept. 18. This one day brings the entire Nova Nation together to ignite change, and, with your help, we can once again demonstrate the transformative power of the Villanova community.

Opening Mass to Celebrate the Feast of St. Augustine – Aug. 28

I invite you to join me for an Opening Mass on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 12:05 p.m. in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church to celebrate the Feast of St. Augustine. All faiths are welcome. Immediately following Mass, please join the Augustinians for ice cream at the Riley Ellipse.

2018 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration – Sept. 14–16

The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration (STVC) provides our University community with a unique opportunity at the beginning of the academic year to celebrate our Augustinian mission and values. This tradition continues in 2018 with three days of special events for Villanovans to get involved and give back. The full schedule of events is posted on the STVC website, but I want to highlight two events:

  • Saturday, Sept. 15 The St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service will once again unite thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and families in service to the community. The Day of Service is defined by great fellowship, powerful service and lasting relationships with service partners, helping to set the stage for a year filled with opportunities to put our Augustinian ideals into action.

I would also like to recognize and thank Michelle Milone ’19 VSB and Collin Brunnock ’20 VSB, the 2018 student co-chairs, for their leadership and dedication to making this year’s celebration a success. For more information about all of the STVC events and to register for the Day of Service, please visit

REMINDER: Commencement Nominations are Due Wednesday, Sept. 5

Nominations for the 2019 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients are due no later than Wednesday, Sept. 5. Please review the original call for nominations from July for information to include. Nominations should be submitted via email to the Office of the President.

Best wishes for a productive and fulfilling academic year!