The Grounds Department maintains a diverse and healthy landscape that looks attractive year-round
Maintaining a diverse and healthy landscape that looks attractive year-round is a responsibility that falls on the Grounds Department, which has been overseen by Horticultural Supervisor Hugh Weldon for the past 12 years.
The Irish-born Weldon began his career at Villanova in 1995 as a member of the Grounds crew and in the 28 years since has been promoted to manage a group of more than 30 employees. Weldon’s experience and expertise are matched by his enthusiasm for ensuring a campus that’s environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing and academically supportive.
To keep their skills sharp, the Grounds Department makes every effort to stay informed about beneficial plants, pest management, fertilization and soil science. And in conjunction with the University’s commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and its dedication to participating in Pope Francis’ 7-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology, the Grounds Department cares for the campus in a way that reduces waste, chemical use and invasive species. Pollinator-friendly plants are abundant and every year 70 to 80 new trees are planted on campus.
It’s a role that Weldon considers incredibly rewarding on many fronts. “Watching what we plant grow and flourish through the different seasons and be appreciated by those on campus is immensely gratifying,” says Weldon. “It’s also great to see the Grounds crew be willing to learn and work towards knowledge that they in turn pass along to others.”
PHOTO: HUGH WELDON