Meet Our Donors
Nancy and Bernard ’74, ’81 MS Cavanaugh
Located at the heart of Main Campus, Falvey Memorial Library is an interdisciplinary academic hub for the Villanova University community. The library’s resources, programs and facilities continue to grow and adapt to the needs of modern, digitally-savvy students and faculty, thanks to generous donor contributions, including a recent bequest from Nancy and Bernard ’74, ’81 MS Cavanaugh.
Bernie’s education did not follow the typical path: He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics over the course of seven years. Bernie worked full-time at Bell of Pennsylvania—now Verizon—and took one or two night classes per semester. Instead of driving home between class and work shifts, he made Falvey Library his home base, spending countless hours doing homework and research.
This intellectual atmosphere helped fuel his desire to learn, and he went on to earn his master’s degree in computer science from Villanova in 1981.
“I’m proud to call myself a Villanovan and be associated with this great University,” says Bernie. “My education has helped me a lot in the business world, not because of the equations I learned, but because my professors taught me how to think critically.”
Another perk from Bernie’s Villanova connection—catching the attention of his wife, Nancy. Nancy had taken some courses through the University. When she saw Bernie wearing his Villanova t-shirt at Bell of PA, she immediately struck up a conversation. They wed in 1976.
Beyond their educational ties to Villanova, the Cavanaughs, who now live in Virginia, chose to invest in the University because its Augustinian values are strongly aligned with their own.
“Villanova provides a wonderful environment for young people to become good citizens. I hope that our bequest to Falvey Library will help students develop a greater sense of intellectual curiosity—that they are excited to explore and understand beyond the easy answer,” says Nancy.
A portion of the Cavanaugh’s gift will also benefit student scholarships.
Make a Gift to Support What Matters Most to You
Your future gift to Villanova will help prepare the leaders of tomorrow. Contact Steve Grourke, CAP®, CFRE at email@example.com and 610.519.3587 to learn more.
Frank Falcone ’70 COE, ’73 MS and Robert Pizzano ’70 COE sat across from a group of Villanova students, all of them exhausted from another day of digging trenches and laying pipework to bring clean water to their host community in Panama. It was hot, humid and unforgettable.
“You talk about powerful impressions—we’re there with our students, carrying buckets of water to these houses with no water. Our students get it; it changes their lives,” Frank says.
For Bob, the experience was a turning point, shaping his philanthropic commitment to the University and ensuring a positive impact for Villanova students.
As 1842 Heritage Society members, longtime friends Frank and Bob have each made a planned gift to Villanova. Their gifts will have a significant payoff for future generations of Villanovans—in the meantime, the pair is actively involved in the areas they support.
After retiring in 2014, Bob sought a way to apply his talents and resources to a good cause. His son, a member of the Class of 2019, told him about Villanova Engineering service trips to Panama—part of a 25-year partnership between the University and a Catholic missionary.
Bob connected with Frank—whom he first met when they were civil engineering students and midshipmen in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at Villanova. An Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering, Frank has been involved in the Panama service project since 2010. The program was initiated in 1990 when a graduating student expressed an interest in devoting his engineering skills to those in need. The partnership works to provide approximately 16,000 rural and impoverished Panamanians with a consistent supply of fresh water—an accomplishment that’s the first of its kind anywhere in Central America.
Throughout the weeklong trek, Bob and Frank worked, participated in daily reflections and explored the local culture alongside students. On rides to the worksite, the group shared stories about their Villanova experiences—present and past.
“I’ve done volunteer work before, but this trip was more than that for me. I really felt like I was connected to Villanova again,” Bob said.
That feeling spurred another action. When Bob returned to the U.S., he contacted Villanova’s Office of Planned Giving to make an estate gift. He designated the funds to the College of Engineering, with the purpose of offsetting the cost of future service trips for students.
“When Bob told me about his gift, something in my mind clicked. I wanted to do something more for Villanova,” Frank said. “A planned gift is a very reachable way to make a difference.”
So, Frank made his own commitment to the Professional Development Track Program, a new initiative in the College of Engineering. Frank recognized the difference his support could make in propelling students and alumni to their dream careers.
The lesson Bob and Frank hope to share with others?
“Become a part of your gift,” Bob said. “Go on a service trip, or just come back to campus. It truly opens your eyes to the importance of supporting Villanova students.”
Read more about how the Villanova Engineering Service Learning project in Panama began, featured in the College of Engineering’s annual report (page 31).
Raymond and Elizabeth Hanley
God blessed us with five beautiful children. While neither of us attended Villanova, four of our children chose Villanova and our youngest son will start his freshman year this fall. Each chose Villanova for different reasons, and we’ve been happy with each of their experiences. In addition to world-class academics and activities, we have witnessed the important role the Villanova experience plays in the formation of good character and strong moral values.
Strong values and principals are at the core of the Villanova’s simple, powerful motto: Veritas, Unitas, Caritas, or truth, unity and love. Wikipedia lists more than 200 mottos for U.S. colleges and universities. Many of these include references to “truth,” some to “unity,” but very few to “love.” At Villanova, we found that the difference is love.
A motto can be hollow words if it doesn’t reflect the character and essence of the institution. We’ve had many opportunities to witness Villanova as an institution that truly lives by its stated guiding principles. The core Augustinian values embedded in Villanova’s founding more than 170 years ago are very much present today—and they are evident at all levels of the organization. The University is blessed to have alumnus Fr. Peter Donohue as its Presidents, and its administration, faculty, staff and students share the values that make Villanova a welcoming place for students of different faiths and backgrounds—a place where strong, lifelong friendships are formed.
Villanova offers excellent educational opportunities and preparation for career success, and there is a vital difference in how these services are provided. We have seen firsthand that the professors are accessible to the students and truly care about them. The administrators and staff are anxious to help students. And the students themselves appreciate the difference in values that makes this such a special place.
The Villanova culture values academic achievement and, importantly, community service. While many universities have strong academic cultures, far fewer combine academics and service as successfully as Villanova does. This combination promotes formation of the whole person as service opportunities connect the student to the broader community and promote values and achievements that transcend career success.
Through these and other opportunities, Villanova produces graduates who are not only strong academically but have also experienced the profound, even life-changing experience of offering their time and talent solely for the benefit of others.
As we have come in contact with staff and students over the years, we have noted a profound Villanova difference. Veritas, Unitas, Caritas—the difference is Love. And this difference led us to support Villanova in a special way through our planned gift.
For more information, contact Steve Grourke, CAP®, CFRE at 610-519-3587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.