Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. Offers Insight Into “Rooted. Restless.” Strategic Plan

Erin Gormley News Editors

On Thursday, September 5th, 2019 President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. unveiled the “Rooted. Restless.” Strategic Plan in the Finneran Pavilion to a crowd eager to hear about the next steps for the University. In the days since the grand reveal, students, faculty, and community members have eagerly read the plans that Donohue announced, but The Villanovan sat down with him to look deeper into how these plans will be accomplished throughout the next decade.

The University intends to add $70 million of additional investment to the annual budget each year until 2030, along with raising $400 million from annual giving. The $70 million each year will primarily come from reallocation of assets and an analysis of faculty positions for professors who are primarily involved with lab work and research. The large sum added to the budget will not come from a hike in undergraduate tuition, as some students and parents assumed, but increasing tuition is a possible outcome that comes naturally with rising costs in the world over the next ten years. 

At the Strategic Plan Celebration a few weeks ago, Donohue firmly committed the University to meeting 100% of demonstrated undergraduate need by 2030 and promised to continue this support well into the future. The guarantee will be fulfilled primarily from the school’s endowment, which will be raised through the “Rooted. Restless.” campaign as well as additional fundraising. “We have to build that up, and that would be through the campaign so donors can contribute directly to the endowment,” Donohue emphasized. 

    One aspect of the “Rooted. Restless” Strategic Plan that caught the crowd’s attention was the idea to look into housing for graduate students at the University. “Many full-time graduate students are not local. They are coming from various areas, other countries, and thus, it would be nice to have some sort of graduate housing here on campus,” Donohue said. “It would give graduate students a sense of supporting each other.” 

The University has many opportunities to pursue such a hefty task, and Donohue explained the many possibilities to carry this out in Bryn Mawr or here on campus. Donohue further articulated the chance to outsource apartments dedicated for graduate students at the University at The Villas of Bryn Mawr, looking into designing and building up the Southwest portion of Main Campus, or working with Radnor Township to reconstruct and rezone the portion of campus just west of The Commons where many offices are located. 

While the Strategic Plan is still in its earliest phase, The Villanovan staff was curious about which updates students could expect to see first. Donohue mentioned future refurbishments and resdesigning of the Center for Engineering Education and Research (CEER), and said that although still being outlined, students may be able to see changes in as soon as two years. “CEER is next on the docket. We’re in the process of planning that addition,” he said. 

Donohue additionally spoke with vigor about the changes to come to Falvey Memorial Library and Tolentine Hall, which students and faculty both desperately need. “There are plans for the library, as you’ve seen pictures of in the Strategic Plan and after that, I’d love to renovate Tolentine,” Donohue said. 

In addition to the many plans to upgrade campus features, Donohue reiterated the University’s commitment to a sustainable future for students and faculty. Along with efforts the school will make, “Everyone has to make an effort” Donohue said. The University will focus on buying renewable energy along with composting in various dining halls. Upgrading campus features is expensive, but Donohue reaffirmed the school’s promise to sustainability in an important time of climate change.

So far, the “Rooted. Restless.” Strategic Plan has been well received by the school community. Donohue and the rest of the administration are excited for plans to move past the design phase and begin to impact the University.