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A Message from the President: January 2017

January 13, 2020

  • Board of Trustees: New Members
  • University Athletics Update
  • 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration
  • University Staff Council Awards
  • President’s Office Hours for Students
  • Sustainability Leadership Council Update
  • Middle States Accreditation Update

Dear Members of the Villanova Community:

Welcome back! It’s wonderful to see the campus full of life and activity after the winter break. With the new semester underway, I am pleased to share the following information and updates with you.

Board of Trustees: New Members

The Board of Trustees serves as the governing body of Villanova University. It is comprised of alumni, parents and friends who volunteer their time and expertise to provide critical oversight and guidance for the University. Two new members joined the Villanova University Board of Trustees as of Jan. 1, 2020.

  • Thomas J. Holt Jr. ’85 VSB, president and CEO of Astro Holdings, Inc.
  • Christina Larson Kelly ’74 FCN, president of Larson Financial Planning, Inc.

The dedication of Tom and Christina to Villanova make them true assets to our community. I look forward to working with them—and the entire Board of Trustees—to ensure Villanova’s continued success.

University Athletics Update

I am pleased to announce that Mark Jackson has been named to the position of vice president. As vice president and director of Athletics, he is responsible for providing executive leadership, strategic direction and oversight for all of Villanova’s 24 varsity sports and more than 600 student-athletes. Please join me in congratulating Mark on this new appointment. For more information on the announcement, please visit the webpage.

2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

Next week, our campus joins together to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Highlighted by service, fellowship and dialogue, this annual event is a wonderful way for our campus to start the spring semester and work together toward achieving Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community.”

The 13th anniversary of this event kicks off next Monday, Jan. 20, with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a day when hundreds of Villanovans volunteer at sites throughout the Philadelphia region. I encourage you to consider participating in the day of service, as well as in the other events planned as part of this year’s celebration, including:

  • On Wednesday, Jan. 22, Peace and Justice Education will host the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Address, delivered by Valarie Kaur, civil rights lawyer, award-winning filmmaker and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming book Revolutionary Love.
  • On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Freedom School will offer hour-long sessions hosted by various faculty members, staff and students that relate to and extend the vision of Dr. King.

University Staff Council Awards
Each academic year, the University Staff Council (USC) oversees the distribution of three awards to members of the Villanova University staff. The Above and Beyond Award, Distinguished Service Award and Work Process Improvement Award are presented annually to outstanding members of the Villanova community.

While the nomination process varies for each award, recognition for all award recipients occurs at an awards luncheon hosted by my office in the spring. I hope you will take some time to nominate any deserving colleagues. All award nominations are due on Friday, March 6. For more information, please visit the University Staff Council webpage.

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.

Sustainability Leadership Council Update

The University Sustainability Leadership Council presented its final draft plan to the President’s Cabinet in early December. The plan is tightly integrated with the University’s new strategic plan and covers the same 2020–2030 time period. This month, further discussions will be held on several implementation priorities before a more formal announcement is made on next steps. I want to thank the Sustainability Leadership Council for its invaluable work on this plan.


Middle States Accreditation Update

Villanova’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Self-Study Accreditation process is well underway. The various working groups are beginning to draft the self-study chapters. These efforts will continue throughout the remainder of this academic year and into the fall, culminating in a Peer Evaluation Team visit to Villanova next spring.

I want to thank the Steering Committee Chairs—Dr. Jerusha Conner, Kevin Grubb and Dr. Jim Trainer—the Steering Committee members and all those who have participated in this important process to date. For more information and to view the upcoming University-wide forum schedule, please visit the Villanova Middle States webpage.

Best wishes for a productive and fulfilling spring semester!