Faculty Spotlight: Virginia Esguerra


Natalie Zickel / Villanovan Photography

Virginia works in the south campus dining hall.

Hannah Sweeney, Co-News Editor

Virginia Esguerra is among the many hardworking staff members in Villanova’s Dining Services. Yet, her sociable and enthusiastic personality has quickly made her one of the most well-known and well-liked faculty members on campus. Just last year, at age 76, Esguerra came out of retirement to work at Villanova’s Donahue Court and Donahue Market. Within just a few months of her working at Villanova, groups of students began stopping by to greet her at work almost every night.  

Villanova sophomore and dining hall employee Kristina Cooper witnessed these interactions first-hand. 

“As a cashier at Donohue Court, I have the pleasure of witnessing Virginia’s positive impact on the student body,” Cooper said. “As the students come in for dinner, when they see Virginia, they immediately light up and she greets them with warmth and positivity. It’s very clear to see that she makes each student at Villanova feel very special.” 

Student Isabella Balian also commented, adding that her trips to the dining hall were always made better by Esguerra’s warm welcome. 

“Virginia is one of the most kindhearted and special people I have met at Villanova,” Balian said. “As a freshman, I would go to the market every so often to get ice cream and Virgina would meet me with the sweetest smile and compliments. She deserves the world and her enthusiasm and joy lights up the entirety of Spit.” 

Cooper’s and Balian’s responses when asked about Esguerra were just a few of many positive comments. Yet, Esguerra feels just as positively about the students as they feel about her. 

“I came back to work because I love working with students,” Esguerra said, when asked about her decision to come out of retirement to work at Villanova. “They are giving me a long life. Serving them keeps me happy and healthy.” 

However, Esguerra’s love for helping students began long before Villanova. In the Philippines, where Esguerra is from, she taught high school and college calculus. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Esguerra moved to the United States and settled down in Philadelphia. There, she attended Drexel University and, in 1988, graduated with a master’s degree in business administration. Esguerra then found a job in New York City as a quality control manager for manufacturing in the fashion industry. She worked this job for 30 years, until temporarily retiring. 

Now, at Villanova, she has found a place where she can use her experience to work with students again. 

“Sometimes students come in and ask me to read over their essays,” Esguerra said. “Other times they come in and ask what medicine they should buy when they are sick. Helping students is why I come to work every day, rain or shine.”

Before Spring Break, several students even expressed their appreciation for her by greeting her at her car with flowers and chocolates. 

“It gave me goosebumps,” Esguerra said. “I almost started to cry.”

In addition to caring for all the students at Villanova, Esguerra has two kids of her own and seven grandchildren, whom she talks about to all her students. One of her grandchildren is even following in her footsteps and attending Drexel University this year.  

“She is always so proud of her grandchildren, who are doing well in school and advancing in their career,” Balian said. 

Esguerra’s love for family is what makes her connection with Villanova students so special. 

“Virginia is like my grandma away from home,” Balian said. 

Student Kiely Fleming echoed this point. 

“She cares for all of us so much, especially freshmen, which is really comforting since we are all away from home for the first time,” Fleming said. “It means so much.” 

“Villanova University is the extension of my family,” Esguerra said.