University Establishes Moulden Endowed Dean of CLAS Position


Adele Lindenmeyr, Ph.D, was named the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of CLAS.

Lydia McFarlane, Co-News Editor

The University has received an anonymous gift of $7.5 million to establish an endowed dean position within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the University’s oldest and largest out of the six colleges, founded in 1842 and offering 43 majors. The new honorary position is named after William and Julia Moulden, a Black Catholic couple from the 1800s who provided support to the local Augustinian order who founded the University itself.


“This is a transformational gift for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A. Ph.D., said of the monetary gift and establishment of the position. “We are grateful to the donors not only for their financial commitment, but for honoring the important legacy left by the Mouldens—a family whose generosity to Villanova and the Augustinians left an indelible mark on the University.”


William Moulden was born to enslaved parents but later went on to gain his freedom through Pennsylvania’s Gradual Abolition Act of 1780. After marrying wife Julia in 1841, the Mouldens moved to the Villanova area where they lived out the rest of their lives until their deaths. 


The Mouldens became close with the local Augustinians during this time, which happened to be around the founding of the University itself. For 40 years, the Mouldens worked for the Augustinians at Villanova and became the first donors to the construction of the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. In addition to the endowed dean position being named after the Mouldens, a residence building on West Campus is also named after them – Moulden Hall.


Adele Lindenmeyr, Ph.D, was named the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of CLAS. 


“I am honored and humbled to serve as the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Lindenmeyr was quoted saying in a press release. “This generous endowment will have a profound, positive impact on the College’s ability to deliver a vibrant educational experience for our students, as well as support the path-breaking research conducted by our faculty.”


When The Villanovan reached out to Dean Lindenmeyr, she said of this opportunity, “I am thrilled and honored to be the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of CLAS. This gift recognizes the excellence of the liberal arts educational experience at Villanova. I am also deeply grateful to the donors for their decision to honor the Mouldens and their major role in the history of Villanova.”


The new position and gift will allow for the CLAS Dean to invest in initiatives involving curriculum, academic programs and supporting students and faculty development. It will also establish a new Office of Undergraduate Studies endowed fund that will provide resources to students such as professional development, internships, immersion programs and much more to set Villanovans apart from other students. 


Dean Lindenmeyr began her tenure track at The University in 1987 as a professor in the History department, which she later served as the chair of. She went on to become the Dean of Graduate Studies before becoming the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2014. Dean Lindenmeyr oversaw the development of CLAS and the emergence of several new centers of excellence within the college. She is an internationally recognized expert in modern Russian history with several books published, the most recent of which being published in 2019.


As the University recognizes Dean Lindenmeyr as the inaugural William and Julia Moulden Dean of CLAS, students are excited for what this means for the future of CLAS. 


“It’s exciting to be a student in CLAS at a time like this,” sophomore History major Alivia Lanoue said. “The donation will create innovative experiences for existing students and develop new initiatives for future Villanovans.”


With the CEER construction underway and recent renovations to Villanova’s business building, Bartley Hall, liberal arts and sciences students are pleased to see funds directed their way towards the betterment of the college and to the benefit of students and faculty alike.