Alumni association basketball receptions generate support

‘Tis the season for basketball, but not just any basketball – Villanova Wildcats basketball.

The ‘Nova Nation is poised and ready to take the team to new heights of fan support.

And the Villanova University Alumni Association has scheduled Coaches’ Nights and pre-game receptions across the country to keep the ‘Nova Nation united and growing, to help our ‘Cats score big and to continue to strengthen alumni connections.

Each year, the VUAA hosts thousands of alumni, parents, students and friends at Coaches’ Nights and receptions held in conjunction with men’s and women’s basketball games at home and away.

“Basketball receptions are a great way to learn about our ‘Nova Nation,” Harold Jensen said.

Jensen, class of ’87, was a Wildcat great from the ’85 NCAA championship team.

‘Nova Nation is a phrase he feels “captures the Villanova spirit and sense of community.”

Coach Jay Wright agreed.

“It’s a term that represents something very unique,” Wright said. “It embodies every aspect of our University – fans, students, alumni, staff and faculty.”

A past VUAA president, Jensen sees pre-game receptions as a great service to the entire Villanova community.

“They learn about what’s happening at the school and get to meet coaches and key University faculty and leaders,” he said.

Wright likes to bring players to receptions. “These events expose our players and all involved in the basketball program to the people who support the team and the University in a way that e-mail or publications cannot,” Wright said.

“Our basketball events offer the entire Villanova community a chance to learn how they can be part of the mission and future of this great University,” said Gary Olsen (’74), the VUAA executive director. “Receptions are a great place to network for alumni and students. We have many stories of business connections and employment contacts being made at Alumni Association events like these.”

“We have loyal, passionate alums,” Wright said. “This is very important to our program.”

Wright has witnessed how the excitement generated by receptions produces tangible results that benefit students.

“We have built relationships at these events that have led to some significant donations for Villanova, the athletic department and our programs,” he said. “There are new scholarships for student managers, and a number of individuals have contributed to the IARF (Intercollegiate Athletic Recreation Facility).”

For current students, alumni events like basketball receptions demonstrate “the importance of staying connected,” Jensen said.

“Students come to know that they have a place and people they can count on as they move forward in their lives,” he said.

Wright said the alumni support players receive is important to them as students and as future alumni. “It offers them connections in the business world that can prove invaluable,” he said.

Not only do basketball receptions increase alumni support and ‘Nova Nation support, but they also express the substantial Wildcat fan support that exists beyond campus boundaries.

“Last year we established a new attendance record for a college basketball game in the state of Pennsylvania,” Wright said. “We’re always looking at ways to enhance our profile nationally. Great home crowds create a tremendous home court atmosphere that the rest of the country sees on television. This helps Villanova’s national image and revenue.”

Jensen would like to see more students at alumni basketball events. “I think they will enjoy themselves so much, they’ll want to know when the next one is and bring a friend,” he said. For a complete event listing, including local events scheduled for Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and Dec. 20, visit the Alumni Association Web site at