Robert Moran Set to Address the Class of 2018


Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Jack Judge

“The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.” This quote from Saint Augustine reverberates throughout the entire Villanova community in light of the monumental construction projects that have transformed campus. These projects are soon coming to completion along with the culmination of the University’s “For The Greater Great” fundraising initiative. 

These new facilities and resources demonstrate that the University is investing in a deeper foundation in order for future students to reach higher heights while staying true to its Augustinian values. 

With the onset of a new and much different Villanova experience, there is also some bittersweet feelings— particularly for the Class of 2018 as they graduate before the construction will be completed. However, for Robert F. Moran ’72, the current condition of the campus is far different from his time at the University. In fact, he is responsible for significant components to the current change on campus such as the new Track and Field facilities as well as the The Robert F. Moran Sr. and Elenore C. Moran Center for Global Leadership.

Moran has been selected to address the Class of 2018 at this year’s commencement and offer words of guidance as they venture into postgraduate life and work to build upon their experience at the University.

Moran has remained very involved with the University after earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Villanova School of Business. 

After graduating, Moran spent 20 years with Sears, Roebuck and Company in a various financial and merchandising roles, including President and Chief Executive Officer of Sears de Mexico. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Galerias Preciados of Madrid, Spain from 1991 through 1993.

 In 1999, Moran joined PetSmart as President of North American stores. Before that,  Moran was employed with Toys R Us, Ltd., Canada, where he was President. In 2001, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, and in 2009, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of PetSmart.  

Moran retired in 2013 from his position as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PetSmart, Inc. The company being the largest specialty retailer of pet food and supplies in the U.S., with more than 1,200 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Moran was also appointed Chairman of the Board in January 2012, retaining the title of Chief Executive Officer.

 Moran was recently elected to the Villanova Board of Trustees joining the University’s 34-member Board. He also previously was affiliated with the University as a member of the VSB Dean’s Advisory Council. 

In addition to his role on Villanova’s Board, as of 2014, he is a member of the Board of Directors for Hanesbrands, Inc., GNC Holdings, Inc. and the USA Track & Field Foundation.

When Moran committed to support the University’s fundraising campaign in 2014, he provided insight regarding the impact that the University had on his life. “I attribute a significant amount of my success to the great education I received at Villanova University,” Moran said. “I feel that my 16 years of working internationally helped drive my future success and I want to pass along that same opportunity to [Villanova] students.”

Commencement is set for Friday, May 18 and will feature Moran as the main speaker. A number of honorary degrees are set to be given out as well.