“They are committed to helping you figure out who you want to be and helping you find balance between academics and athletics,” says Biology major Bella Burda ’19 CLAS, a member of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. It’s a unique culture, she adds, which helps her excel in all facets of university life.
Last season, Bella was recognized with one of the premier academic honors in college sports: the Elite 90 Award, given by the NCAA to the student-athlete with the highest GPA who has made the finals in his or her sport.
Bella is the second Villanovan to win the Elite 90 Award, and she’s just one of the University’s many athletes who have turned heads with stellar classwork.
Director of Athletics Mark Jackson expects the tradition of achievement at Villanova to continue—and to elevate to new heights.
“We strive to develop complete studentathletes, and we are succeeding,” he says. “We are succeeding academically. We are succeeding athletically. We are succeeding in providing a life-changing college experience.”
Faculty Representative to Athletics Jeremy Kees, PhD, the Richard J. and Barbara Naclerio Endowed Chair in Business, feels this exceptional performance in all areas makes Villanova a distinctive presence in college sports. “As a former student-athlete, I understand the challenge facing our coaches, staff, faculty and student-athletes,” he says. “Villanova has set the bar very high for academics and athletics. But our student-athletes continue to achieve greatness because everyone works together toward one goal.”