Villanova University Appoints Michele Marcolongo, PhD, PE, as the Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering

Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Michele Marcolongo, PhD, PE, as the Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering, effective July 31. Dr. Marcolongo’s engineering career spans more than three decades and encompasses roles as an academician, researcher, administrator, inventor and entrepreneur. This key appointment is the result of a rigorous national search led by a committee of faculty, administrators, students and alumni.

“On behalf of the entire Villanova community, I am delighted to have Dr. Marcolongo spearheading our College of Engineering,” said University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “Dr. Marcolongo is a well-known and respected leader whose wide-ranging experience made her stand out in a pool of very talented candidates. I am pleased that she is joining Villanova and that the College of Engineering’s students, faculty, staff and alumni will have such a talented and experienced leader at the helm. I look forward to formally welcoming her to our University community.”

A faculty member at Drexel University College of Engineering for more than 20 years, Dr. Marcolongo has held numerous leadership positions at the university and college levels. She has served as associate vice provost for Research, senior associate vice provost for Translational Research and associate dean for Intellectual Property Development. In 2018, Dr. Marcolongo was appointed co-chair of the university’s strategic plan, leading a committee of university leaders charged with setting the vision and focus for the next decade of innovative education at Drexel. She is currently department head and professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege for me to be named Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering,” said Dr. Marcolongo. “The Villanova College of Engineering is outstanding in its education of world-class engineers who are technically strong and who have a broad liberal arts background to contextualize real-world solutions for the needs of society. This approach, along with the creative research and scholarship, is what drew me to Villanova. I look forward to working with the community to continue to innovate Villanova’s contributions to our world.”

Dr. Marcolongo’s extensive research focuses on biomaterials and engineered biomedical solutions to treat disease. Widely recognized for her expertise and innovative work, she was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Her research has been funded by such agencies as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Education. Dr. Marcolongo serves on the editorial boards of two publications—the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research and Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine—and is the founding president of the Philadelphia Spine Research Society.

“Our search for a new Dean centered on finding an individual who champions innovative teaching and scholarship, appreciates the opportunities of engineering to positively impact society, and has extensive experience working with major research corporations and agencies,” said University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD. “Dr. Marcolongo brings all of these qualities, along with a steadfast commitment to supporting our world-class faculty and students to reach their full potential. I am confident that with Dr. Marcolongo at the helm, the College of Engineering will continue to build upon its storied legacy.”

A staunch proponent of the teacher-scholar model, Dr. Marcolongo advised or mentored more than 200 graduate and undergraduate students at Drexel while pursuing her research. She was an integral part of the team that developed Drexel’s innovative first-year undergraduate engineering curriculum, and she received the Drexel College of Engineering’s Teaching Award in 2003. She also is a longtime advocate for inclusivity in engineering education, supporting and mentoring female faculty and graduate and undergraduate students in STEM.

In addition to her extensive work in academia, Dr. Marcolongo is a successful entrepreneur who has co-founded three biomedical technology startup companies and is a co-holder of 15 patents/patent applications. Inspired by her experiences in academia and entrepreneurship, she authored a book, Academic Entrepreneurship: How to Bring Your Scientific Product to a Commercial Discovery, which serves as a how-to guide for academic faculty, graduate students and post-doctorals on translating research from the lab to commercialization.

Prior to joining Drexel’s faculty, Dr. Marcolongo was a biomedical engineer at DePuy DuPont Orthopaedics, a role in which she invented, designed and tested medical devices. She began her career at General Electric Aerospace. Dr. Marcolongo earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware; a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel; and a Master of Science and PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

As the Drosdick Endowed Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Marcolongo will serve as the chief administrator of the College, providing vision and leadership for its long-term strategic and academic planning, faculty research and teaching innovation; strengthening the student experience; promoting community and industry outreach and partnerships; providing financial oversight; and overseeing fundraising and alumni relations.

About Villanova University College of Engineering: Founded in 1905, Villanova University College of Engineering is committed to an educational program that emphasizes technical excellence and a liberal arts education within the framework of the University’s Augustinian Catholic tradition. The result is rigorously educated, socially grounded, conscientious thinkers and doers who are professionally prepared to make meaningful change in the world.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit