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In Memoriam: The Rev. George F. Riley, OSA

The Rev. George F. Riley, OSA, PhD, ’58 CLAS (second row). Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library (Belle Air 1963).


Image courtesy of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova.

The Rev. George F. Riley, OSA, PhD, ’58 CLAS, ’61 MA, passed away on Friday, Sept. 16, at the age of 87. A beloved member of the Villanova community for 65 years, Fr. Riley was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery and Villanova University in 1962. “He taught religious studies and ethics at Villanova; served as the Province’s Vocation Director (where he also served as Secretary and Archivist); was the University’s liaison for the Peace Corps; served as the Special Assistant to the President of Villanova University; and also worked as Vice President for University Relations.” In addition to serving on numerous boards and authoring many publications and sermons, Fr. Riley began the Villanova Magazine in 1984.

Assisting with the University’s first two capital campaigns, Covenant I & II, Fr. Riley helped raise more than $83 million for Villanova. Riley Hall, which houses University Advancement, is named in his honor. The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, expressed the community’s admiration for Fr. Riley in his message to Villanova faculty, staff, students, and alumni on Sept. 16:

“Villanova is a better place for Fr. Riley being a part of it. His knowledge has brought wisdom, his humor has brought joy and his dedication has brought inspiration to so many of those around him. His legacy and lasting impact on Villanova are evident in the stories and recollections of the generations of Villanovans, who speak so fondly of Fr. Riley and recall the significant role he played in their lives.”

View Fr. Riley’s full obituary here. A viewing will be held Monday, Sept. 26, at St. Thomas of Villanova Church from 3–7 p.m., followed by the funeral mass at 7 p.m. A livestream link of the viewing and funeral mass will be available on this webpage.

Support the Fr. George F. Riley, OSA Fund for Augustinian HealthCare here.

Fr. Riley’s personal papers were transferred to the University Archives last year. His personal papers are from his time working at Villanova and include his writings, sermons, homilies, speeches, research material, Villanova event materials, and personal photographs. The collection was processed by Jessie Pagan, Theology and Religious Studies doctorial student, and will be publicly available for research soon.


 


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  1. Comment by Carmine Fiore — October 1, 2022 @ 8:49 PM

    Beloved friend with amazing
    Fortitude for loving and understanding people.
    He will be very missed.

  2. Comment by Diane Howe-Stercho — October 20, 2022 @ 9:48 PM

    I worked with Father Riley for 10 years while employed in the Public Relations Department at Villanova University. He was an incredible fundraiser, devoted to the cause of Villanova. I always enjoyed his sense of humor and our pleasant interaction in the years that we worked together in Austin Hall and then in Geraghty Hall (now called Alumni Hall). He was a wonderful person and priest.

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Last Modified: September 26, 2022