Dear Members of the Villanova Community:
I am writing to share the sad news of the loss of Dr. Gary A. Gabriele, who served as the Drosdick Endowed Dean of Villanova University’s College of Engineering since 2006. After a courageous battle with cancer, Dean Gabriele passed away peacefully early this morning, surrounded by his family.
As dean for more than a decade, Dr. Gabriele guided the College of Engineering as it continued its trajectory as a leading engineering program rooted firmly in the University’s Augustinian values. Throughout his tenure, he infused these values into the College through innovative curricula, pedagogy and research, with the goal of developing an intellectual and humanitarian engineer who is both a technical innovator and a contributor to the greater community.
Believing that the best way to learn engineering is to do engineering, Dean Gabriele sought to provide students with hands-on experiences, allowing them to tackle real-world projects supported by industry. He was particularly proud of the opportunities afforded through the Villanova Engineering Service Learning program, which provides life-changing experiences for students to put their skills to work serving others here and around the globe. This commitment to service, which reflects the College’s Augustinian spirit, has become a hallmark of a Villanova Engineering education and of Dean Gabriele’s legacy.
Over the past 12 years, the College’s graduate programs have grown significantly, adding master’s degrees in new fields and establishing a highly successful PhD program, which was instrumental in Villanova’s doctoral classification. Dean Gabriele was equally committed to advancing the College’s impact in engineering research, establishing three new research centers. During his tenure, two faculty were awarded the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER grants, the first such awards in the College’s history.
Dean Gabriele was also a strong supporter of providing more inclusive access to engineering education. The father of four daughters, including one who is an engineering professor, he succeeded in his mission to increase the number of women in the College, steadily growing the percentage of female undergraduates and faculty members to record numbers.
Dean Gabriele took a leading role with the Engineering Deans of Catholic Colleges and Universities, authoring the group’s national op-ed response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical. The topic was one he was passionate about as he continually sought ways to educate future engineers who would make a lasting and profound difference in the area of sustainability.
Please join me in remembering Gary, and I ask that you keep his wife, Cynthia, his daughters and grandchildren, and all his family, friends and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.
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