Meet Our Donors
Randy Ruch ’67
The wall beside Randy Ruch's desk in his home office in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania is home to a framed collection of papers and photographs dedicated to the person he credits as having the most influence on his education and subsequent success—his mother, Mary.
"If there was one person that has had the most influence on me, I know who that was—it was you," he states in one of the letters, written to her upon his graduation from Villanova in 1967.
Mary Ruch worked as a meat wrapper at the Food Fair supermarket in the family's native Allentown. Because she was a full-time employee, her son benefited from the company's college scholarship program, which offered $500 per year toward tuition at select area schools. The amount represented a fifth of the annual cost at the time. And that scholarship assistance his mother worked long hours to earn was what allowed Randy the chance to pursue his Villanova education.
When discussing what inspired him to fund the Randall R. Ruch '67 Endowed Scholarship, he says the genesis was fairly simple: he wanted to ensure that other eager students were afforded the same opportunities he was.
In Randy's case, those opportunities were put to good use. Villanova proved to be an important part of his life in several different ways. Originally interested in becoming a teacher, he was an education major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. But once he completed his Villanova-required student teaching, Randy realized that education was not for him. And after working as an engineering programmer for several years, Randy again found himself looking for a new opportunity.
Combining an entrepreneurial spirit with his lifelong love of athletics, he founded Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods, opening his first retail location in Phoenixville in 1971. The company expanded to a second location in Quakertown 8 years later, and its success grew from there. Citing a few important business and learning opportunities along the way, Randy states that upon his retirement in 2010 the company, now known as Schuylkill Valley Sports, boasted 19 locations. He was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2012.
Reflecting on his successful career, Randy credits Villanova with teaching him how to think both logically and philosophically—skills that proved invaluable in business. Now with seven children and 13 grandchildren, the Villanovan identity has become an important part of Randy's legacy.
And of course, it is only natural that a man whose professional life revolved around athletics should be a proud and active Wildcat fan. That loyal fandom began as soon as Randy stepped on campus—he lost his student job at the Pie Shop in Dougherty Hall because he refused to miss a basketball game between Villanova and Princeton with legendary coach Bill Bradley. Randy and his son Robert '01 CLAS also celebrated the 2018 NCAA Championship together in San Antonio.
In addition to setting up a scholarship that benefits students now, Randy has also included a provision in his estate plan to continue the award's legacy long into the future. He hopes that the students who have the chance to join the Villanova community because of his philanthropy will feel the same sense of pride that he does.
And when the first Ruch Scholar steps onto campus, perhaps they will begin to draft a letter of thanks to the person who was most influential in their lives to help them reach that point; something that would undoubtedly make Mary Ruch very proud.
If you would like to learn how you can make a scholarship gift to benefit future students, please contact Steve Grourke, CAP®, CFRE at 610-519-3587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Anne Carlson Morgan ’70 MA
Since its creation in 1958, the Villanova University Department of Theatre has educated and inspired student-artists pursuing careers from acting and playwriting to dramaturgy and teaching. Through the generous support of donors, the department is fortunate to offer several awards for these budding talents—including the Brian G. ’67, ’70 and Mary Anne Carlson ‘70 Morgan Endowed Scholarship and Award.
Established in memory of Mary Anne’s late husband Brian, the award continues the Villanova story they began together.
Mary Anne first noticed Brian, a fellow graduate Theatre student at Villanova, in the late summer of 1966. She had just moved to the area from St. Charles, Illinois, when she saw him in the University’s production of, “Just a Local Revolution,” a play about the American Revolution written by the founder of the Theatre Department, Dr. Richard Duprey.
“I thought Brian was a gifted actor—I even wrote his name down,” Mary Anne says. “I was already thinking about my first directing project, and I knew that getting the chance to work with an actor like him on it would make a difference.”
The pair did, in fact, meet and bonded over their shared passions. They married at St. Thomas of Villanova Church in June 1970.
Both continued to act and direct after graduation, sometimes together. Mary Anne became the director of Theatre Arts at Radnor High School, while Brian served as a professor of theatre at Penn State and the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Brian eventually devoted himself fully to acting and was well-known in the Philadelphia theatre community and beyond.
After her husband’s passing in 1989, Mary Anne wanted to do something to honor his memory and benefit the theatre community they loved so dearly. Thinking back to their time at Villanova, she knew the perfect fit.
The Brian G. ’67, ’70 and Mary Anne Carlson ‘70 Morgan Endowed Scholarship and Award is presented annually to an outstanding second-year graduate student pursing a Master of Arts in Theatre.
“The recipient is selected by department faculty and staff, so being chosen validates and recognizes the student’s abilities,” she says. “It’s been a pleasure to connect with the awardees and see them grow in their careers.”
For the past 17 years, Mary Anne has devoted countless hours and resources to maintain the award. She hosts an annual fundraising dinner at her home and conducts personal outreach to raise awareness among fellow art lovers.
It was only natural that Mary Anne eventually decided to include a provision in her estate plan to continue her award’s legacy long into the future.
“Theatre changes you as a human being, and for me, that happened at Villanova,” she says. “I hope that through my bequest I will help generations of students have transformative experiences like I did.”
If you would like to learn how you can make a gift to Villanova, like Mary Anne did, please contact Steve Grourke, CAP®, CFRE at 610-519-3587 or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and 610-519-3587 to learn more.
For more information, contact Steve Grourke, CAP®, CFRE at 610-519-3587 or email@example.com.