THE INTERVIEW: Villanova’s Peter Donohue on leadership during the pandemic
Philadelphia Business Journal
Despite having about 5,000 students living on campus this semester, Rev. Peter Donohue says Villanova University is disquietingly … quiet.
The coronavirus pandemic has prevented student gatherings of any kind at the Catholic college in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, so there’s “really nothing going on but academics,” said Donohue, now in his 14th year at the school’s helm.
The downtime has enabled the Augustinian priest to reflect on the role of a college president during a global pandemic — and on leadership in general — while simultaneously encouraging a community of young adults to sacrifice their individual needs to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the entire group (i.e. adhere to Covid-19 protocols). So far, his self-described stint as Villanova’s chief cheerleader has paid off with minimal confirmed coronavirus cases on campus and an otherwise uneventful start to the 2020-21 academic year.
Donohue recently spoke with The Business Journals’ Hilary Burns about how his job has changed since Covid-19 struck, and the effects the pandemic is having on college pricing and on-campus learning. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.