Where Are They Now? Alumni Spotlight on Terry Delaney Class of ’83


Terry Delaney

By: Cassie McHugh Co-Editor-in-Chief

Did you know that the CEO of Wawa went to Villanova? Or that NASA astronaut Andrew M. Allen is a Villanovan? Villanova has a network of over 123,000 alumni, many of whom have gone on to do incredible things. They have stories to tell, advice to share, and amazing memories of their own Villanova experiences. 

In this column, we will share their stories, both of their time here at the University and beyond. This week, we kickoff by featuring Terry Delaney, a 1983 economics major who went on to work at MetLife and later Gallagher Benefit Services, working his way up to become Vice President before retiring in 2012. He now serves as the current president of the Villanova University Alumni Association.   

The Villanovan (TV): What was your first big break?

Terry Delaney (TD): I would say getting a job my senior year with campus interviews. That really set me off on my path. I graduated with a job and direction. The job suited me, and I stayed in that business for my whole career. So, I think that my big break was really being lucky enough to have that start in a career that I stayed in for 30 years.

TV: If you could relive one year of your Villanova experience, which year would you pick?

TD: I’m going to say junior year. It’s by process of elimination. Freshman year, you’re still transitioning, you’re trying to figure out where you stand and who you are. Senior year, there’s a fair amount of angst that’s associated with ‘gee what am I going to do next?’ and I would say between sophomore and junior year, you kind of know your way around. You know a lot of the people. You’re more comfortable. The reason I pick junior year is because now you’re an upper classman.

TV: What’s your best piece of advice for a Villanova student.

TD: Be more inquisitive than declarative. I run into a lot of people who sort of act like they know everything. This is a time, as a young person, to find out as much as you can about as many topics as you can by asking a lot of questions and having real conversations where you’re asking follow up question . . . You’re going to learn a heck of a lot. You’re going to formulate your own ideas about the world based on those conversations. But if you’re always in ‘tell mode’. . .and you’re telling all the time, you’re not getting information coming in that will help your own thinking.

TV: Where were you when Villanova won the Championship in 2016?

TD: I was at the game. My wife and I followed the team the whole way… It was thrilling, absolutely thrilling. One of the coolest experiences of my life.

TV: If you came back to Villanova to teach a class, what class would you teach?

TD: It probably would have something to do with professional development and have a bend towards the practical side of life. If you think about it, (you’re) going to graduate . . . and all of a sudden you’re going to have a budget and you might have to buy a car and you might have to rent an apartment and get health insurance and do all of these things that you haven’t really had to worry about too much thus far . . . I see my own children who have all graduated college, and they have to deal with budgets and paying mortgages and buying insurance. So having a little bit of a working knowledge of all of that stuff, I think would be useful.

TV: What’s the best connection you made during your time at Villanova?

TD: It was the friends that I had… All of those guys had profound impacts on me. I wouldn’t single out one person – I would say that it was really the collection of my friends and teammates . . . all of whom are still very close friends all these years later, that was my best connection.

TV: I would imagine saying something very similar.

TD: Yeah, I think you will. Through my role with the alumni board, I’ve gotten to know people all over the country of all different ages − the alumni association is made up of people from 22 to 92, and at every decade, you find very similar things, of people who were friends since they were freshman. They met at orientation or they roomed together or whatever, and then they were in each other’s weddings and maybe they were godparents to the children or maybe they went into business together… and it’s repeated. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s on up. It’s a repetitive story, and so I think that you can expect that that’s what your story’s going to be.

One of the things that strikes me funny is that you’re 17, and you’re at that accepted students day, and you can’t fathom that you’re making a decision for your life. You’re going to be connected to this community for your life . . . It’s something that you don’t know, and it’s a really cool byproduct. 

TV: In what way did your Villanova experience best prepare you for the rest of your life?

TD: Well, I think I grew up. My mind was opened to a lot more possibilities, and I think I learned to think more broadly. And again, I think that’s the influence of not only the classes and the professors and all of the administrators who run the school, but also your friends. 

To nominate an alumni to be featured in a future edition of ‘Where Are They Now,’ email [email protected].