Fr. Peter Donohue named as next president

On Tuesday, December 13, the Board of Trustees of Villanova University elected Father Peter Donohue, O.S.A., as the University’s next president. He will succeed Father Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., who previously announced his intention to step down as president at the conclusion of the 2005-2006 academic year. The decision caps a six-month selection process.

“We are all greatly indebted to Father Dobbin for his 18 remarkable years of exceptional leadership,” said John Drosdick, Chairman of the University Board of Trustees. “We are very appreciative of all the significant advancements made by Villanova during his tenure. All one needs to do is tour our campus, engage in a conversation with students about our mission, review our national academic rankings, and understand the outstanding qualifications of our student body, to realize the legacy he has left for Villanova.”

Father Donohue is currently a tenured associate professor and the Chairperson of Villanova’s Theatre Department since 1992. He is a member of the Augustinian Institute Advisory Board and has served on numerous committees at Villanova including, as faculty representative: the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the University Judicial Boards. In addition he served on the NCAA Certification Self-Study committees of 1996-1997 and 2001-2002. Father Donohue served two terms as a member of the Board of Trustees of Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Added Herbert F. Aspbury, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Special Committee, “Father Donohue is an extraordinary choice to become Villanova’s 32nd president. He combines significant academic strengths with demonstrated administrative skills and tremendous charisma.”

Father Donohue is also the long time Chaplain of the University’s Navy ROTC program, offering counsel to midshipmen, presiding over the annual commissioning Mass and lecturing in the Senior Leadership Seminar.

Student response at the time of announcement was generally favorable.

“I’m glad that Father Donohue will be our new president.” said Patrick O’Brien (’07). “In my time here at Villanova I’ve seen him lead students not only in the academic profession, but also in the Augustinian tradition, and I think he’ll do a great job leading the whole university in both respects.”

Added Alexis Whitaker (’07), “It gives me great pleasure in knowing that someone who is so easily identifiable to our student body will be the face of Villanova. I’m happy for him and I’m sure this isn’t the last feat on his list of many accomplishments.”

The 53 year-old Father Donohue is a native of Bronx, New York. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the Order of Saint Augustine in 1979 and graduated from Villanova University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in theatre/communication arts. He received an M.A. in theatre from The Catholic University of America in 1983. In 1985, he received a Masters of Divinity from the Washington Theological Union. In 1992, he received his Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Illinois where he also received outstanding teaching honors.

“I thank the Board of Trustees for the honor and responsibility of leading Villanova University,” said Father Donohue. ” I look forward to working closely with Father Dobbin in preparing for a smooth transition.”