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Villanova receives $22.6m gift for Pavilion renovations

The month of April continues to bring amazing new to Villanova. On the heels of winning the Men's Basketball National Championship two weeks ago and being honored with the #1 Undergrad Business School earlier this week, University President Fr. Peter Donohue announced that William B. Finneran ('63, VSB) has made a $22.6 million donation to the University's "For the Greater Great" Capital Campaign. The gift will "support renovations to The Pavilion," which opened in 1986, as well as funding day-to-day operations of the Villanova’s men’s basketball program.

Finneran, who has endowed the head coaching position for 'Nova, is the chairman and co-founder of EXOP Capital, a hedge fund firm in New York.

According to a release, "Redesigning the Pavilion will enhance Villanova's ability to recruit and train the nation's best and brightest student-athletes. It will create a high-quality, game-day experience for fans while also providing a tremendous home-court advantage". The venue will also provide support for other aspects of the University and the Athletics Department.

Planning phases for The Pavilion renovation will begin immediately and continue throughout 2016. The process is designed to be inclusive amongst the Villanova community, season ticketholders and Wildcat fans, and will include market feasibility studies, focus groups and surveys.

Read Fr. Donohue's letter.

Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends,

I am pleased to announce a $22.6 million leadership gift from alumnus William B. Finneran ‘63 VSB, former University Trustee, to support renovations to The Pavilion and Villanova’s men’s basketball program. This is the largest gift ever to Villanova Athletics and the third largest to the University. To date, Villanova’s Comprehensive Capital Campaign, For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change, has raised $530 million, including more than $90 million for Athletics.

Bill’s generous commitment comes at a truly exciting time for Villanova University, and in particular our men’s basketball program. After the team captured the 2016 NCAA National Championship, the enthusiasm surrounding our University is at an all-time high. Given Villanova’s increased visibility nationally—and the world-class stature of our Athletics program—this remarkable gift will allow the University to continue its forward momentum and further solidify our reputation as a national powerhouse in academics and athletics.

This gift also allows us to move forward with a strategic plan to transform The Pavilion into a sports arena that reflects Villanova’s athletic prominence and enables student-athletes to compete at the highest levels of Division I athletics. This vital renovation will enhance our ability to recruit and train the nation’s best and brightest student-athletes and provide the strongest home court advantage possible. It will also enable us to offer a high-quality, game-day experience for students, alumni and fans, and support the facility’s use for significant University-wide activities, including Commencement events, Candidates’ Days and the Special Olympics.

The planning phase for The Pavilion renovation will begin soon and continue throughout the remainder of 2016. I know there is tremendous passion for Villanova Athletics, and our national champion men’s basketball program, so it’s important to me that the process be an inclusive one that engages our University community and allows for a wide range of input. The redesign process will include market feasibility studies, focus groups and surveys to solicit feedback from the University community. Our goal with The Pavilion renovation, and throughout the entire planning phase, is to continue our Athletics program’s storied legacy as it moves into even greater levels of athletic distinction.

I am truly grateful to Bill, who previously endowed the Villanova men’s basketball head coaching position, for this transformational gift and for his continued belief in our institution and our community. Bill is a long-time, passionate supporter of Villanova Athletics, and his generous support demonstrates the deep commitment Villanovans have to the student-athlete experience and an unwavering confidence in its future. As a University community, we are always stronger together so I am hopeful that this gift inspires others to support Villanova Athletics and help make this renovation a tremendous success.

Please join me in thanking Bill for his extraordinary generosity, and go Cats!


Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA