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Nurturing Resiliency at Villa

New Center for Resiliency at Villa Maria College helps students succeed.

Today’s college students have experienced pandemic disruptions to their education, the threat of gun violence, environmental destruction, and – unsurprisingly – epidemic levels of depression and anxiety. These young people need tools to help them confront the challenges of the future. As the spring 2023 semester began, students at Villa Maria College had a new support service to help them succeed in college and beyond: a Center for Resiliency

Founding Director Duncan Kirkwood, an expert in self-development, spent five years in service with the Alabama Army National Guard as a Master Resilience Trainer tasked with educating soldiers in mental toughness. Using his resilience training and leadership experiences across the country, he helps students understand the benefits of getting involved in school and community organizations, the importance of learning from setbacks, how to overcome the fear of failure, the immediate need to discover one’s life purpose, and the importance of taking concrete steps to achieve dreams.

At Villa, the Center for Resiliency will become part of the College’s Core 101 curriculum, which works to transform and empower students to realize all facets of their potential. Resiliency is now an integral part of student life programming, and Villa students can participate in empowerment sessions hosted by Kirkwood.

Villa Maria President Dr. Matthew Giordano praises Kirkwood’s ability to help young people with a message of passion and purpose. At Villa Maria College, education is more than academics, as the university aims to educate their students holistically, so that they can discover their potential to do good in the world. To learn more about all-inclusive student support at Villa, visit: