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Villanova Law receives ‘transformational’ $15 million gift from telecom pioneer John Scarpa

The donation brings the total the Scarpas have donated to the law school up to $20 million.

John F. Scarpa at the Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship at Villanova University's Law School.
John F. Scarpa at the Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship at Villanova University's Law School.Read moreDavid DeBalko

A foundation funded by telecom pioneer John F. Scarpa has quadrupled its investment in Villanova University’s law school with a $15 million donation aimed at “strengthening entrepreneurial expertise, innovative thinking, and collaboration across the University,” Villanova president Rev. Peter M. Donohue announced.

The gift — the largest yet by the John F. Scarpa Foundation — is in addition to a previous $5 million contribution from Scarpa, the founder of American Cellular Network Corp. and cofounder of Unitel Wireless Communications Systems.

“This transformational gift will encourage the next generation of Villanova entrepreneurs by expanding their opportunities in the Law School and across the entire University," Donohue said. “I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor John than to name the Law School building in honor of his steadfast commitment.”

The previous gift, made in 2015 by Scarpa and his wife, Jana, established the John F. Scarpa Center for Law & Entrepreneurship at Villanova. The Scarpas live in Avalon, N.J., and Palm Beach, Fla.

The new money will fund an endowed faculty position dedicated to entrepreneurship at Villanova’s Charles Widger School of Law.

“As a long-time supporter of Villanova and its mission, this new investment will foster an entrepreneurial mindset across campus," Scarpa said. "I believe in Villanova University and in its Law School and know that — together — we can inspire tomorrow’s leaders who will change the world for the better. If the Law School is ‘where law meets business,’ then the Scarpa Center is ‘where law meets innovation’.”

In recent years, the Scarpas have become major funders of higher education in the Philadelphia region. In December, the Scarpa Foundation gave $8 million to Stockton University in New Jersey — the largest gift in its history. In recognition of the entrepreneur’s generosity, Stockton named two campus buildings after the Scarpas, the academic center on the Atlantic City campus, and the health sciences center on the Galloway campus.