Villanova Welcomes New Faces of Leadership



Chris Deucer

The Class of 2020 will not be the only new faces on campus this year. The search for new leadership in the University’s School of Business, Charles Widger School of Law and Enrollment Management ended with three new appointments.

After an extensive national search, Joyce Russell, Ph.D has been named as the Dean of the Villanova School of Business. She will assume the responsibilities of Chief Administer, facilitate the annual budget and implement long-term strategies.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege for me to be named The Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business,” Russell said. “I look forward to working with VSB faculty, students, staff, alumni and many others across the University community to continue to move the School of Business forward as one of the most prestigious in the country.”

Prior to this position, Russell served as both Vice Dean and Senior Associate Dean of the School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park.  Additionally, she is a weekly columnist for The Washington Post. 

“Dr. Russell’s proven track record as a visionary leader makes her a perfect fit to lead the Villanova School of Business into its next great chapter,” Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., PhD. said. “Dr. Russell is a true teacher-scholar who has been recognized for her teaching and research as, well as her commitment to service.”

Mark C. Alexander, J.D. has been named Dean of the Charles Wider School of Law. While at the University, he intends to emphasize the “When Law Meets Business” partnership and other interdisciplinary affiliations.  Prior to his appointment, Alexander served as Associate Dean for Academics and Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he spent two decades on the faculty.  

“Mark Alexander brings tremendous academic and practical skills to his new role as Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law,” Donohue said. “Our search centered on finding an individual who understands the changing landscape of the legal industry, believes in the values of Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic tradition and has the breadth of experience to sustain and build upon the Law School’s forward momentum.”

“It is a tremendous privilege for me to be named the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Charles Widger School of Law at such an exciting time in the Law School’s and University’s history,” Alexander said. “I am also honored to be the first African-American Dean in the history of Villanova Law and look forward to working collaboratively with all constituencies in the Law School to build a diverse, thriving academic community that holds itself to the highest ethical standard.”

The search for a Dean of Enrollment Management ended with the appointment of J. Leon Washington, who has 35 years of experience in the field.  As the title suggests, he will oversee the Offices of University Admission, Financial Aid, University Outreach and the Registrar.  “The Dean of Enrollment Management is a key position at the University as students are the lifeblood of our community,” said University Provost, Patrick G. Maggitti, Ph.D. 

“Leon Washington comes to Villanova with an impressive track record that includes both depth and breadth of experience and knowledge of enrollment management practices in higher education,” Donohue said. “I know that Villanova will continue to attract and enroll an increasingly impressive student body under Leon’s leadership.”

Before accepting the position, Washington served as Vice Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid at Lehigh University.  Prior to his time at Lehigh, he acted as the Assistant vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Student Academic Support at the University of California-Davis.

 “I am delighted to have the honor of becoming the next Dean of Enrollment Management at an institution as prestigious as Villanova,” Washington said. “The ability to partner closely with the University’s senior leaders to determine the enrollment and financial aid landscape during this time of forward movement is an exciting opportunity.”