Villanova Scholarship Program

The Villanova – Canuso Connection

Fifty-four Canuso family relatives have graduated from Villanova University since the 1930?s, so it made sense that the Canuso Foundation reached out to help Villanovans by providing scholarship funds to students affected by cancer or other catastrophic illness.

In 1986, The Canuso Foundation established the Babe Canuso Fischer Endowed Scholarship to provide scholarships for dedicated students who were experiencing financial hardship due to their own serious illness or illness within their family. The University began distributing scholarships from the annuity in 1991.

As of 2009, The Canuso Foundation has awarded 61 partial scholarships to Villanova University students with diverse backgrounds and academic interests. The common thread is a life touched by serious illness or disease, and a desire to succeed in spite of the obstacles presented by such hardship.

A Helping Hand in Time of Need

“We are proud to offer a lifeline to students who work so hard and want to succeed. Cancer and other serious diseases can put a tremendous strain on a family and its resources, as well as the individual spirit,” says Joan Canuso, Babe’s mother and founder of The Canuso Foundation. “We want to be a part of these students’ lives and small part of their success by bringing Babe’s spirit of giving to those who understand the hardship of serious illness.”

The Canuso Foundation has received countless letters of thanks from students throughout the years, which makes the efforts even more gratifying, says John Canuso, Villanova class of ’63.

Continuing the Legacy

“We have just begun to reach out to The Canuso Foundation Scholarship recipients, letting them know of our continued work with the University and our plans to bolster the fund that helped them throughout their college years. Our hope is that many of the scholarship recipients will become a part of our family, and that we can continue to help them and grow together to help others,” he says.
Plans are underway to host fundraising events to build The Canuso Foundation Villanova University scholarship fund so that more deserving students can receive awards. “Education is the foundation of success, and we want to be sure that our fellow Villanova Wildcats are provided the opportunity to finish their years of schooling and rise above the challenges of serious disease,” says Mr. Canuso. “That is what Babe wanted, that’s what she did, and that’s what we’re about.”

To get involved in The Canuso Foundation Villanova University Scholarship fundraising efforts, please contact The Canuso Foundation.

I can truly not express how much this scholarship has meant to me — the drive it has given me, and the peace of mind it has given my family over the last three years. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your contribution to my life – for the past three years and for my future, which without you may not have been as bright as I see it to be now!

N.S. Class of 2006

Due to my mother’s passing from breast cancer in February, my dad is a single parent and works two jobs to provide for my family. Financially, Villanova was a long reach for my family… I cannot thank you enough for this great honor and my family appreciates it as well.

M.H. Class of 2012

Not only have you eased some of the financial burden associated with funding my education, you have strenghtehnd my faith in humanity and the human spirit. I promise that I will “pay it forward…

K.B.S. Class of 2004

I am so grateful for the scholarship you have given me for the past two years. You have been a blessing to me and my family, especially my mom, who is a breast cancer survivor… One day I will repay you by passing on my blessing to another student.

J. H. Class of 2008

My mom is a very strong person, but I know the death of my father has been the most difficult for her, not only emotionally, but financially as well…Thank you for helping me through this hard time in my life. I will always remember your kindness, and I will help others just as you have helped me.

M. C. O. G Class of 2012

My entire teenage life was overshadowed [by cancer]. My dad is a lung cancer and brain cancer survivor. My family has struggled financially and emotionally through both of these diseases, and the ongoing effects… I will continue to be forever grateful to you for helping me achieve my dream here at Villanova.

C. R. class of 2010


Level The Playing Field For All

Imagine for a moment that Villanova as a completely Barrier Free campus in all aspects of the words. Sounds like a lofty goal doesn’t it? It may be, but anything is possible for the Villanova Community. Many have seen firsthand what Villanovans can do when they put their minds to it. As part of LEVEL, you will Bridge the gap between able-bodied community and the differently-abled community. Level wants to change the Campus Community Interaction to be all inclusive.

Through Education and Teamwork, you will learn how to effectively communicate and interact with each other through the establishment of a student network providing help in and out of the classroom. Whether it’s helping with homework, hanging out on weekends, or just saying “hey how’s it going?” on the rush to class, you will have an opportunity for unique Friendships.

Raising Awareness

Throughout the year, Level will raise Awareness by hosting speakers, having movie screenings, putting together events like dodgeball tournaments and 5k run/walks, speaking at local schools in Community Outreach, and engaging with university officials to initiate Change. You will engage in Service in a Leadership role on campus.

  • Achieving full potential in and out of a barrier-free world.
  • Raising awareness on able-ism
  • Changing attitudes
  • Successfully communicating and interacting with people of different abilities
  • Providing enabling assistance in and out of the classroom

To get involved in Level at Villanova, please contact The Canuso Foundation or visit