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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Working for justice by insisting on the dignity of all people.

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Diversity by the Numbers

Villa Maria College is the most diverse and welcoming higher education institution in WNY.

Villa is the most diverse private college in Western New York 

Villa has the highest percentage of African-American students of any private college in Western New York

Villa has the highest percentage of Pell-eligible students of any private college in Western New York

Villa is the highest-ranked college for social mobility in Western New York according to U.S. News


Say Yes Students


First Generation Students


Students with a Documented Disability

Integrity. Dedication. Opportunity.

Villa Maria proudly enrolls the most diverse student body of any private college in the Western New York region.

Statement from the President

Accessibility and Affordability

Villa Maria College makes every effort to make its private, Catholic education affordable and accessible for all.

  • Learn more about our numerous scholarship opportunities, the 99% of students who receive financial aid, and the 85% who receive Villa-funded grants and scholarships.
  • There is no out-of-pocket costs for students’ textbooks and supplies at Villa. Learn more here.
  • The Achieve Program supports students with learning differences as they work towards earning a college degree. Achieve is the only program of its kind in WNY.
  • The College has partnered with Say Yes Buffalo to make higher education more attainable to graduates of City of Buffalo high schools.
  • The Student Emergency Fund was created to aid students experiencing unexpected financial hardships.
  • The Sister Mary Josette Food Pantry is a major project sponsored by the Office of Mission and Campus Ministry. It serves over 1,000 individuals in the local community each month.
  • The Care Center provides supportive services to promote emotional well-being and enhance personal growth that contributes to students’ academic success. It is staffed by a qualified and experienced team of social workers who are trained to handle all situations expertly and confidentially.
  • Villa Maria College has a diverse Board of Trustees who offer College leadership guidance in making all major decisions.

College DEIB News

Kennedy Secures $1.2M in Funding for the Institute For Mobility Innovation & Technology

Screening of “Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom” at Villa Maria

Villa Maria College Partners with Get Fokus’d Productions to Launch its First Artist-in-Residence Program; Brings Founder and Nationally Recognized & Buffalo’s Poet Laureate Artist Aitina Fareed-Cooke to Campus

Professional Advancement Through Hands-On Skills (PATHS) Program Welcomes First Cohort of Salesforce Trainees

Villa Maria Launches Pioneering Hip-Hop Creative Alliance Initiative to Empower Artists Across Disciplines

Param Kaur Hired as Institutional Research Analyst

Vikings Live Out the College’s Mission at Annual Service Day

Breaking Barriers: How the Benefits of Flag Football Empower Women Athletes

CJ Banks Joins Villa Maria College as the Special Assistant to the President

Villa Maria Reports 14% Enrollment Increase and Largest Incoming Class in Over 25 years

Alum Gianluca Ndukanma Returns to Villa as an Admissions Data Specialist

Villa Maria College Launches Free Books and Supplies Initiative with the Help of Hyatt’s

Villa Maria College Moves to #8 Ranked Best Colleges in the North for Social Mobility 

Desmond Randall Steps into Athletic Director Role

Faculty Promotions

Villa Maria College’s Art Students and Faculty Lend Talent to Gerard Place; Design and Paint Original, Mission-Based Mural on its Community Center

Rock Autism Hosting Film Camp at Villa Maria This Summer

Villa Maria College to Include Books and Most Supplies for All Students in the Cost of Tuition, No Additional Tuition Increase

Dr. Giordano’s Letter to the Editor Published on 

Music Graduate Tashieka Thompson Wins Grammy With The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus

DEIB Committee

Working to make changes for all.

  • CJ Banks, Special Assistant to the President
  • Jessica Bracco, Financial Aid Counselor
  • Jennifer D’Alessandro, Instructor of Business Administration
  • Aryanna Denk, Assistant Director of the Achieve Program
  • Alissa Kowalski, Director of Student Success
  • Kasha LeBron, Director of Student Success
  • Dr. Donald Monnin, Vice President for Mission
  • Laura Pietak, Director of the Achieve Program
  • Des Randall, Director of Athletics
  • Scasha Smith, Workforce Development Coordinator & Community Liaison

DEIB Statement

At Villa Maria College, we value diversity and respect for human dignity as foundations for our collective growth. We develop effective reciprocal relationships based on compassion, trust, and authenticity. To fulfill this purpose, we welcome all students and employees who contribute to the richness of our diversity. We work every day to ensure that all who join our inclusive community have what they need to realize their full potential.

Equal Opportunities for All

Villa Maria College is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, creed, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, sex, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, marital status, veteran status, military status, predisposed genetic carrier status and any other characteristics or protected status recognized by applicable federal, state or local law.  This policy applies to admissions, all terms and conditions of employment, and any other aspect regarding the conduct of College programs and activities

The College is committed to opening our doors and encouraging applications from all individuals to apply to a culturally diverse workforce.  The College is committed to and promotes equal opportunity to all qualified individuals

Villa Maria College encourages diverse candidates to apply to open positions here:

International Students

Resources for international students looking to study at Villa Maria College can be found here.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

What is a Land Acknowledgement Statement?

A Land Acknowledgment statement is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture. Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed action. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationship and reconciliation.

Land Acknowledgement Statement for Villa Maria College

Villa Maria College acknowledges that the college is situated within the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, including the Seneca, Tuscarora, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk nations. We hope to demonstrate respect for the treaties that were made on these territories, and we pledge to work toward partnership with a spirit of collaboration with our current Indigenous neighbors. Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron and inspiration to the Felician Sisters who founded our college, possessed a great love and affinity for God’s creation of the natural world. We commit to continue that practice and promote those teachings to all we educate and serve.

Listen, Learn, Act

Villa Maria hosted Listen, Learn, Act on October 18, 2022.

Listen, Learn, Act provided a platform for leaders in education and the Western New York community to discuss racism, and the role educating plays in making a difference.

Read an account of LLA written by Digital Media and Communication students:

Watch a recording of the event, filmed and edited by our Digital Filmmaking students:

LLA was co-sponsored by Say Yes Buffalo and Senator Tim Kennedy‘s office.

Student Life

Boys and Men of Color Initiative

Boys and Men of Color Coalition that is aimed at accelerating positive outcomes for boys and young men of color across the cradle-to-career continuum. In partnership with the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable, the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Public Schools, and Say Yes Buffalo, “Breaking Barriers” will expand the capacity of boys and young men of color to improve life outcomes and empower them to become agents of change in our community.

Learn more:


PRIDE! is open to all Villa Maria College students and is committed to creating a safe and friendly community for all LGBTQS (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning/Queer, Straight) students, promoting equality, and raising awareness through education and discussion.

Student Life Programming

Villa Maria’s Student Life Office has developed extensive programming that allows all students to share their own cultures and learn more about others. Some of the annual events include Black History Month, Unity Walk, Native American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, and more.

Community in Action

From supporting Buffalo’s East Side and beyond through its annual day of service, to making positive changes right here on campus, the Villa Maria Community doesn’t just preach its mission — we live it.

“Villa Maria College is really ahead of the game when it comes to student success. This isn’t my first college experience and, compared to other colleges, Villa Maria really goes above and beyond to ensure their students’ success. Eliminating the cost of textbooks and supplies is just another testament to Villa putting education and success first. You truly can depend on everyone at Villa to put your education first.”

Javonntae Hill, '24

“The annual day of service was a great experience. It is very rewarding to be able to make such an impact on our community for just the short amount of time we were there. The day of service is important because it gives people the opportunity and incentive to go out and help when they might usually not.”

Brian Jacobs, '25

"I knew Villa Maria College was a good fit for me as soon as I learned of the small class sizes and passionate professors who shared their real-life experiences in the design industry during class. With the help of the admissions team, transferring to Villa Maria was easy. They helped me check all the boxes, navigate the entire transfer admissions process, answered all my questions, and were always personable. Although I am not from Buffalo, I feel at home at Villa Maria and I know I am heading down a successful path."

Alexis Carrington, ’22,

“During my first tour of the College, I fell in love with Villa Maria’s Computer Software Development program. Villa has specialized equipment for every major (in my case a lot computer labs filled with technology) and teaches practical skills, like programming, that help me develop my skills for my future career. I chose Villa because it is a small school that focuses on developing its students both academically and as human beings. Villa feels like a family. You can talk to anyone and feel sure they know who you are. You are in an environment where people care about you.”

Gianluca Ndukanma, ’23

"The education I received at Villa Maria contributed to my winning a GRAMMY. It was the awesome professors there who helped me with stage presence, increasing my site reading ability, helping with intonation and breath control and pushing me musically to go further than what I believed I could."

Tashieka Thompson, '20