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Villa Maria College Partners with Duncan Kirkwood to Launch the Center for Resiliency

By February 1, 2023Press Release

Center helps Villa Maria students and other young people to acquire the fundamental skills needed for success in college and beyond 

The start of the spring 2023 semester marked the official launch of Villa Maria College’s Center for Resiliency. Renowned speaker, author, and trainer Duncan Kirkwood will serve as the founding director of the Center for Resiliency, which was created to help students and other young people develop the skills that are critical to overcoming obstacles and achieving their goals. 

Kirkwood is an expert in the self-development field and has spoken to more than 180,000 individuals throughout his career.  

“I’ve been in education for about two decades. I’ve seen a lot of people speak to students and Duncan brings something unique,” said Dr. Matthew Giordano, president of Villa Maria College. “His persona, his passion, and the approach he takes, draws our students in right away; they can’t help but be engaged by him. He uses that engagement to really drive home his message of passion, purpose, and how our students need to develop those things in their lives.” 

“It is my goal to help young people become more purpose driven, resilient, and mentally tough,” said Kirkwood. “Setbacks and challenges are inevitable; it’s not always easy to bounce back and keep focused. I work with students to develop a set of tangible skills that will help them take ownership of their lives, make changes, and get back on track. Resiliency is a life skill, and it is something students will need to rely on for their entire lives. 

The Center for Resiliency is the latest in Villa Maria’s ongoing commitment to holistic student success. Some of the College’s other major success initiatives include:  

  • The Free Books Program, which puts costly textbooks and supplies in the hands of every student for no additional cost 
  • Viking Ride, which provides each student with $40/month to use on ride to and from campus with Lyft 
  • The Student Success Center, which provides students with academic support 
  • The Care Center, which provides students with emotional support 
  • The Achieve Program for students with learning differences 
  • Sister Mary Josette Food Pantry, which serves Villa students and people from the surrounding community 

For more information about Villa Maria College’s Center for Resiliency, please visit