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Commitment to Personal Development

  • Freshman Student-Athlete Orientation to Athletics Dept.
    • This new program was initiated in the fall of 2010 after it was determined that an orientation to the Villanova Athletics Dept. would help with the transition from high school to Villanova; especially the transition to being a collegiate student-athlete
    • All freshmen student-athletes are invited and attendance is mandatory
    • The orientation dinner is held on the first night of classes in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center on campus
    • Freshman student-athletes have a chance to meet their Athletics Mentor and get to know the Mentoring Program before the dinner!
    • All freshman student-athletes receive their Student-Athlete Handbook and Planner and are introduced to and reminded of the important upcoming dates.
    • The Athletics Director and Associate Athletics Directors are on hand for the dinner, so an introduction could be made between student-athletes and Athletics Dept. Staff. The Offices of Academic Support, Compliance and Student Services are also invited to attend to meet the freshman student-athletes on their first day of classes!

  • Freshmen Life Skills Seminar Series
    • The freshman student-athlete seminar series is a comprehensive program designed to help make our student-athletes transition from high school to college smooth. The seminars are generally an hour in length and are focused on educational topics supported by the NCAA. The seminars are presented by Villanova faculty and staff, former Villanova student-athletes, now in the work field and NCAA approved speakers. The Freshman Seminar Series is mandatory for all Villanova freshmen and sophomore transfer student-athletes. Attendance is mandatory at all events, unless excused by the Coordinator of Student Services. If a team has practice or travel plans during a Life Skills event, an alternative learning experience will be planned to make up for the absence.
    • 2010 and 2011 Topics Covered:
      • An introduction to the Office of Academic Support for Athletes
      • Academic Integrity
      • Study Skills
      • Alcohol Awareness
      • Nutrition
      • Gambling
      • Drug Awareness
      • Social Justice topics
      • Mental and Stress Health
      • Athletes & the Law
  • Student-Athlete Leadership Institute
    • The Leadership Institute is an interactive educational series designed for our student-athletes that promotes critical thinking, good decision making, and positive action. The purpose of the seminar series is to encourage and help build leadership skills, character strength, and moral and ethical behavior, on and off the playing field. The Leadership Institute introduces different leadership styles, philosophies, and case studies that touch on current every-day situations that student-athletes face. Through study, lively discussion, and group participation, student-athletes begin to see themselves as leaders and discover ways they can make a difference in the world around them. The series also features selected dynamic speakers who are proven leaders in their own field. The Institute is a two part seminar series.
  • Career Networking Events
    • The Villanova Athletics Department in conjunction with the Villanova Athletics Fund has created new opportunities through networking events for current Villanova student-athletes to develop relationships with former student-athletes now working in diverse career fields. In its inaugural year, two events were held on-campus that engaged student-athletes in networking, resume building and planning for their futures after Villanova.
  • Senior Etiquette Dinner
    • Each year, the Villanova Athletics Department and the Villanova University Office of Student Life co-host a professional development business etiquette dinner for seniors. Upon entering the post-college world, students may be a part of a business meeting or interview in a meal setting with a potential client or employer. The main goal of the Senior Etiquette Dinner is to educate our seniors on the correct social and professional standards for such an occasion.
    • The four course dinner is presented by a Professional Etiquette Instructor; the instructor addresses general "do's and taboos" in dining and social etiquette.
    • This event is always a favorite of our senior student-athlete's. In 2010, the Athletics Dept. had over 50 student-athletes attend.
  • Villanova Senior Student-Athlete Reception
    • Each year, the Villanova Athletics Department hosts the Senior Student-Athlete Recognition Reception for our senior student-athletes and their parents. This year's event was hosted in the Connelly Center on campus and a record attendance, with over 300 seniors and their family members join us for our celebration!
    • The Athletics Department recognized 104 senior student-athlete's from the Villanova University Class of 2012 for their hard work, dedication, and successes both on and off the field and court during their time at Villanova.
    • Each senior was presented a gift on behalf of the Athletics Dept., as well as a Varsity Club pin in recognition of their time spent as a student-athlete and as symbol of their initiation into the Villanova Varsity Club.
    • One Villanova senior student-athlete was recognized at the reception as Villanova's Institutional BIG EAST Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Katie Ryan, senior member of the Women's Soccer team was named Villanova's Institutional Female Scholar Athlete award winner. Katie was presented with a plaque from the BIG EAST Conference.
    • The Villanova Athletics Department also took the opportunity to recognize its senior members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). 15 members of the senior student-athlete class dedicated countless hours to meetings, student-athlete events and community service projects. The Athletics Department recognized this group for their commitment and enthusiasm for SAAC during their tenure at Villanova.
    • The Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award established within the Athletics Department in 1985 to honor one outstanding male and female student-athlete a year for "unselfishly sacrifices time, effort, body and soul to lead and motivate his or her teammates in excelling for Villanova University through inspiration." Head Men's Lacrosse Coach presented the male student-athlete award winner of the Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award to Michael Vigilante.
    • Villanova Athletics recognized two outstanding seniors from the Class of 2012 as the Male and Female Scholar-Athlete's of the Year, the highest honor Villanova Athletics bestows annually upon its student-athletes. Mathew Mildenhall, Men's Cross Country and Track and Field and Maggie Mergen, Volleyball, both excelled tremendously for Villanova on and off the field of play. Individually, they made significant contributions to their teams and to Villanova Athletics' as a whole. Both student-athletes participated in numerous service projects on campus and established themselves as true leaders on their teams. Mathew and Maggie both exhibited a true passion for Villanova, and the Athletics Department honored both for their four year commitment and dedication to excellence.
    • The senior student-athletes and their parents left the Senior Recognition Reception with the message: "Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat!"
Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award
The Senior Scholar-Athlete Award is given to the top male and female Villanova senior student-athlete who excels both in athletics and in the classroom. The winner must have at least a 3.2 GPA, in addition to being a significant contributor to her/her team.

2011-2012 Villanova Senior Scholar-Athlete Award Winners
Maggie Mergen-Volleyball
Mathew Mildenhall-Men's Cross Country & Track and Field

2010-2011 Villanova Senior Scholar-Athlete Award Winners
Sheila Reid-Women's Cross Country & Track and Field
Brian Karalunas- Men's Lacrosse

2009-2010 Villanova Senior Scholar-Athlete Award Winners
Nicole Schappert- Women's Track, Field and Cross Country
Angelo Babbaro- Football

Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award
This award was established in 1985 to honor an outstanding student-athlete. The recipient of this award is described as "the student-athlete who unselfishly sacrifices time, effort, body and soul to lead and motivate his/her teammates in excelling for Villanova University through inspiration."

2011-2012 Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award Winner
Michael Vigilante-Men's Lacrosse

2010-2011 Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award Winners
Anne-Marie Kearing- Women's Rowing
Keith Capecci- Men's Cross Country & Track and Field

2009-2010 Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award Winner
Connor Esposito- Men's Soccer

Nnenna Lynch Award
The Nnenna Lynch Award is presented annually to the Wildcat team with the highest cumulative grade point average.

2010-2011 Nnenna Lynch Award Winner
Men's Cross Country

2009-2010 Nnenna Lynch Award Winner
Women's Cross Country

Big East All-Academic Team
Nominations for the All-Academic Team are submitted by each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions. To be eligible for the honor, a nominee must have competed in a BIG EAST-sponsored sport, earned a varsity letter, attained a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for the preceding academic year, and completed a minimum of two consecutive semesters or three consecutive quarters of academic work, with a total of 18 semester or 27 quarter credits, not including remedial courses.

2010-2011 BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Award winners
Brian Karalunas- Men's Lacrosse
Shelia Reid, Women's Track, Field and Cross Country

2009-2010 BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Award winners
Daniel Lewis- Men's Track, Field and Cross Country
Nicole Schappert- Women's Track, Field and Cross Country

The BIG EAST Conference recognizes a male and female student-athlete annually from each BIG EAST institute. The BIG EAST prides itself on its student-athletes who demonstrate success both in and out of the classroom. The BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete award was presented at our annual Senior Recognition Reception by Dr. Daniel Regan and Ms. Amy Morgan, Director and Associate Director (respectively) of the Villanova University Office of Academic Support for Athletics.