Donohue sings University’s praises at Senate meeting

Julie Balzarini

University president Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., began his annual address to the University Senate by reflecting on the many contributions made by students and faculty this year, including the induction of 35 undergraduate students to Phi Beta Kappa, one of the most prestigious liberal arts and sciences honor societies in the United States.

“We are one of only 20 Catholic universities that house a chapter,” Donohue said.

The address took place at the Senate’s fourth meeting on Dec. 4, following a prayer of remembrance for all Villanova students, alumni, faculty and staff who died last year.

Donohue commended University sports teams for their success in the past year, including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer and track and field.

He also applauded the fact that the overall GPA of Villanova student athletes exceeds 3.0.

“While some teams received more press than others, all of them are outstanding ambassadors for Villanova University,” Donohue said.

Donohue said work has begun on establishing an Augustinian Heritage Month and acknowledged the establishment of the Society of Saint Augustine, a community open to those dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom and truth, exploration of the Catholic faith and the study of Augustinian spirituality.

UNIT was also commended for its recognition by over 10 national organizations for outstanding technological advancement.

Donohue also applauded the extension of the campus wireless network to over 85 percent coverage.

Donohue recognized the University’s sustainability efforts.

“Many divisions have contributed to these efforts, but I would like to highlight the incredible efforts of dining services and UNIT’s Vprint program,” he said.

Donohue also commented on the way the University responded to the financial crisis, noting that the University achieved full enrollment and avoided any layoffs.

“In all of this turmoil we have managed ourselves well,” Donohue said. “Although we need to continue to exercise discipline in University finances, it is important to move forward.”

Donohue highlighted the opening of the new law school as the completion of a long journey.

“We need to address the physical needs of Villanova University with caution, prudence and an eye toward our future students,” Donohue said, mentioning the Campus Master Plan. “Topping the list of summer projects is the first stage of renovations of Sullivan and Sheehan Halls.”

Donohue then acknowledged the University’s achievements in community building, including the success of Special Olympics and the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service, in which 4,000 Villanova community members participated.

“Next year I would like to break 6,000,” Donohue said. “We need to aim high.”

Donohue also commended the University for being one of five schools to win the Washington Center Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.

Donohue praised SGA for holding a Student Leadership Dinner to unite student organizations on campus.

“This event was a great success,” Donohue said.

Improved communication methods were also mentioned, including the University’s social media strategy, the launching of a parent’s website and UNIT’s development of myNOVA.

“MyNOVA has improved access to information for every member of the Villanova University community,” Donohue said.

While noting the numerous achievements of the University community, Donohue said that improvements could still be made in some areas, including attendance at diversity-centered events and the One Book Villanova program.

“We need to rally around this program, and not see it as just one domain of the ACS program,” Donohue said.

Donohue ended by reflecting on the University community’s dedication to service activities including weekly service opportunities and service break trips.

“The hope is all of these activities are motivated by care for others,” Donohue said. “Villanova heralds the ability to transform, but the truth is this will only happen if we continue to be a caring community for one another.”