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Keeping Traditions Alive

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Villanovans discovered new ways to share special moments.


A male first-year student surrounded by his family watch on a laptop as Father Peter gives a virtual blessing
Incoming first-year student Jeffrey Walsh and his family shared a special moment in Lake Tahoe through Father Peter’s blessing during New Student Orientation.

Although COVID-19 prevented the Villanova community from gathering together in person, the global pandemic created new ways for Villanovans to connect.

  • University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, celebrated Easter Mass in St. Thomas of Villanova Church with more than 11,475 people across the country and the world. 

  • The Class of 2020 raised their glasses for the senior toast—and more than 9,000 watched—May 15 during Villanova’s 177th Commencement and the very first online degree conferral.

  • The Class of 2024 received an enthusiastic welcome, along with some digital Villanova pride swag, when some aspects of the 2020 New Student Orientation moved to a virtual format in August. For the first time, the class was commissioned via an online ceremony.