A Message from the President - August 2012

Dear Faculty and Staff:

While the summer months provide opportunities for rest and relaxation for many of us, it remains a very busy time on campus. The summer conference season just wrapped up last week after hosting nearly 15,000 guests who participated in 124 separate campus meetings, events and camps. Classes and trainings took place, while numerous projects were completed or advanced. Now, our attention shifts as the campus fills with energy and excitement for the new academic year. As we welcome our students and look forward together to a productive semester, I am pleased to share with you the following information and updates.

Summer Projects
The campus has been extremely active since classes ended in May as Facilities staff and construction crews set out to tackle a very long “to-do” list. Many projects have been finished while some are scheduled for completion during the semester. Below are some highlights of this summer's activity:

  • As part of Phase II of the Transformation of the Campus Landscape initiative, the Sheehan/Sullivan Quad has been redesigned and work continues on both the Kennedy Ellipse—the area in between Kennedy, Corr and Dougherty Halls and the Connelly Center—and the new Grotto in between Austin and St. Rita Halls.
  • At the Fedigan Gate, a permanent Public Safety booth was constructed and the Villanova University sign that formerly was located at the intersection of Lancaster and Ithan Avenues was installed.
  • Café Nova was created in Dougherty Hall, replacing the Corner Grill and Italian Kitchen. It officially opens on the first day of classes.
  • Exterior painting, repairs and enhancements of the St. Thomas of Villanova Church are nearly complete as the campus and parish communities prepare to celebrate the building’s 125th anniversary this year.

In addition to the list above, several other major and minor projects were completed in a very short timeframe. Large or small, every project is important to the University’s commitment to providing an exceptional living, learning and working environment. I am grateful to our Facilities staff who worked on these projects while also accommodating regular summer campus activities, classes and events.

President’s Opening Address to the Villanova Community - August 30
I invite you to join me in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center next Thursday, August 30 at 3 p.m., for the second annual Opening Address to the Villanova community. This event, which has replaced the president’s annual address to the University Senate, provides an opportunity for me to provide an update on key initiatives and outline objectives for the coming year. Refreshments will be provided. I hope you will take part in this community gathering to mark the beginning of a new academic year and learn more about the goals we will we work together to accomplish in 2012-13 and beyond.

Course for All Faculty and Staff on Preventing Workplace Harassment
Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic values call us to create a community based upon mutual love and respect. To ensure that all members of our community experience that respect, Villanova is committed to providing a work and educational atmosphere that is free of harassment. Harassment of any kind has no place in our community. It diminishes our ability to create an environment where each person's potential may be realized.

In active support of this commitment, this fall all Villanova faculty and staff members will participate in either an online or live course designed to build awareness and understanding about different types of harassment and how to prevent such behaviors in our workplaces.

At Villanova, we take pride in the strength of our community and creating an environment that supports individual differences. The value of this educational undertaking cannot be overstated as we strive to live our Augustinian values each day. I thank you in advance for your time and support of this important initiative. More details and specific information will be emailed to you in early September.

2012 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration - September 20-23
The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration (STVC) provides our community with a unique opportunity at the beginning of each academic year to celebrate the University’s Augustinian mission and heritage. Each component of the Celebration has been thoughtfully developed to reflect our community’s shared ideals. I am pleased that so many of our faculty, staff, students and alumni have embraced the opportunity to participate each year.

This year’s Celebration begins with the St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture delivered by Susan Dentzer, the editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading journal of health policy, and an on-air health analyst with The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Her lecture, entitled "The Neediest Among Us: U.S. Health Care, The Poor and The Uninsured," is particularly timely considering the issues facing our society and the heightened attention they are receiving during this election year.

Once again, the centerpiece of the Celebration will be the Day of Service scheduled for Saturday, September 22. On this one day, thousands of Villanova students, faculty, staff, alumni and families travel to nearly 200 sites locally and throughout Greater Philadelphia to do the work the community has asked us to do. We are able to accomplish a lot together, but the Day of Service is just the beginning. It is the first step in a year filled with opportunities to put our Augustinian ideals into action. I encourage you to volunteer for the Day of Service with your office, department, family or as an individual, and to continually find ways to make service an important part of your life.

For more information about all of the STVC events and to register for the Day of Service, please visit www.villanova.edu/stvc.


The beginning of the academic year is a reminder that regardless of our department or discipline, we share a commitment to providing an environment where students learn to think critically, act compassionately, and succeed while serving others. Thank you for all that you do to support Villanova and its Augustinian mission.

Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A.