VILLANOVA, PA — Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, announced a recent $13 million gift from Charles Widger, Esq., ’73 JD and Barbara Widger that will propel the Charles Widger School of Law to the forefront of professional development and leadership programming in legal education. In 2016, the Law School was named for Mr. Widger in recognition of a transformative $25 million leadership gift to the school; with this gift, the Widger family’s lifetime giving to the University increases to more than $43 million.
“I am extremely grateful to Chuck and Barbara for their enduring generosity. Their gift enables Villanova Law to continue providing a transformational experience for our Law students, empowering them to become tomorrow’s leaders in the legal profession,” said Father Donohue. “Their generous commitment allows us to strengthen our professional development and leadership initiatives, advance faculty research and create a new program for young alumni to establish endowed student scholarships.”
“It is our hope that creating these new initiatives and investing in existing ones will enable the Law School to launch into its next great chapter,” Charles Widger said. “In strengthening the focus on professional development and leadership for our students, the Law School will help guarantee lifelong success for those practicing law grounded in ethics and a commitment to the common good. It is imperative for our lawyers of tomorrow to have the ethical understanding, leadership skills and business acumen to solve the complex problems facing the world today.”
The Widger family’s new gift, in part, will expand Villanova Law’s Professional Development and Leadership Program. It will provide support for programmatic needs, as well as create several new positions of critical importance to lead and expand the program, including an endowed associate dean for Professional Development and Leadership, a director for Professional Development and Leadership, a director for Public Interest and a faculty liaison for Professional Development and Leadership.
“I am grateful to Chuck for envisioning what is next for the Law School and for helping us to turn it into a reality,” said Mark C. Alexander, JD, the Arthur J. Kania Dean and Professor of Law. “These funds will solidify Villanova Law’s position at the forefront of professional development and leadership programming in law schools across the country, an area that is continuously identified as necessary by the American Bar Association and employers. Ethical, professional leaders are much needed in today’s challenged and changing world. I am extremely grateful for Chuck’s continued guidance and involvement in the Law School, and that he and Barbara are, once again, placing their trust in us in such an extraordinary way.”
In addition, the gift will build upon the foundation established by Mr. Widger’s naming gift to support the Where Law Meets Business philosophy that has guided the Law School over the last several years. Funding will be used for a practitioner in the John F. Scarpa Center for Entrepreneurship and Law and a new visiting professor position in intellectual property, as well as other strategic initiatives at the Law School.
The gift will also strengthen faculty research and scholarship overall, including support for the development of scholarship in the areas of economics, business, entrepreneurship and related regulatory issues. Additionally, it will provide a first-of-its-kind match to young alumni for the establishment of endowed student scholarships.
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