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Villanova University joins the national classification

For the past 23 years, Villanova University has taken home the crown of being the #1 Regional University in US News & World Reports rankings. This is about to change.

In a letter to Alumni, Parents, and friends, University President, Fr. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, has announced that Villanova has been elevated to the "National University" category by the Carnegie Foundation.

Full Letter:

Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends,

Five years ago, I traveled to 30 cities, logged more than 42,000 miles and talked to thousands of Villanovans across the globe to share the Strategic Plan, which would guide our great University through the next decade. It is an ambitious plan designed to help navigate the challenges of a rapidly evolving higher education landscape, while remaining true to our Augustinian values and traditions.

To date, I am incredibly proud of our progress, and I would like to take this opportunity to share some highlights.

  • We continue to attract high-achieving students, with record-breaking numbers for undergraduate applications for the past several years.
  • We have impressive student outcomes with strong job and graduate school placement rates, and we were recently recognized by The Economist for being among the top three institutions in the U.S. for the value of a degree.
  • We have rejuvenated physical spaces with the transformation of the campus landscape and have begun work on the long-anticipated South Lancaster Project, which will create a premier living and learning environment for students, highlighted by new residence halls and a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.
  • We have also made significant headway on the "Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change," reaching 85% of our $600 million goal a little more than two years after its public launch.

Another exciting milestone occurred this week, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which administers the official classification system for all U.S. colleges and universities, announced that it has elevated Villanova to the Doctoral Universities category from the Master's Colleges and Universities category. This is a noteworthy moment for Villanova because U.S. News & World Report uses the Carnegie Classification for its annual "Best Colleges" ranking. 

As many of you know, for the past 23 years Villanova has been ranked by U.S. News as the #1 Regional University in the North. While this is a wonderful acknowledgement of the strength of our academic programs, labeling Villanova as a regional university does not accurately reflect the breadth and depth of our academics and achievements. Villanova is a national university, with nationally prestigious academics, nationally funded research, a nationally recognized athletics program and national reach. In terms of academic reputation, it is important for us to be associated with other nationally ranked universities.

As a result of our new classification, Villanova will be ranked for the first time this fall in the "National Universities" category alongside the most prestigious and well-respected universities in the country. Being formally recognized as a national university is something that all Villanovans should be incredibly proud of, but it does not change who we are as a University. We remain steadfastly committed to academic excellence, to our Augustinian values and to preparing our students to create positive change wherever life takes them. 

These traditions are at the heart of Villanova, and even with all the changes over the past few decades, they remain constant. They are what unite and define the Villanova community, and they speak volumes about the unique experiences students can expect to have when they join us on campus, and long after they graduate.

These are exciting times for Villanova, and I hope you feel enormous pride in being a Villanovan. I look forward to celebrating this next chapter with you, as we continue to innovate, have an impact and ignite change.


Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA