Joseph V. Topper Jr. Named Chair of Villanova University Board of Trustees

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Villanova Basketball legend Kerry Kittles elected as new board member; Justin G. Gmelich elected vice chair and Nance K. Dicciani as board secretary.

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Villanova University announced that its Board of Trustees has elected Joseph V. Topper Jr., retired president and CEO of CrossAmerica Partners LLP, as its chairperson. Topper succeeds Paul A. Tufano, Esq., who had served as chair of the Board of Trustees since 2015.

“Joe is a longstanding, dedicated member of the Villanova community who has been involved with the University in a number of ways, first as a student and alumnus, then as a parent and trustee,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “This intimate knowledge of the many aspects of the Villanova experience, coupled with a deep and enduring commitment to our University mission, will serve the board well as he takes on this new role. I look forward to working with Joe to build on Villanova’s recent successes and realize our ambitious goals for the future.”

The University also announced the election of Justin G. Gmelich, global head of Credit Trading at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., as vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and Nance K. Dicciani, co-founder and CEO of RTM Vital Signs, LLC, as secretary of the Board of Trustees.

In addition, one new board member—Kerry Kittles, who currently serves as assistant men’s basketball coach at Princeton University and is a former Villanova men’s basketball All-American and nine-year NBA veteran—was elected to Villanova’s 34-member Board of Trustees, effective Jan. 1.

“I congratulate Kerry on his appointment and feel extremely fortunate to have him serve on the board, along with other knowledgeable, successful and committed alumni,” added Father Donohue. “The leadership and guidance of this alumni group are critical to maintaining the Augustinian Catholic values that make our University unique and to ensuring Villanova’s long-term success.”

CHAIR, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Joseph V. Topper Jr. ’77 VSB is the retired president and CEO of CrossAmerica Partners LLP, the general partner of CrossAmerica Partners LP, formerly Lehigh Gas Partners LP. He currently serves on the board of CrossAmerica Partners. His experience in the wholesale and retail fuel distribution business spans nearly 30 years. In 1987, he purchased his family’s retail fuel business and, five years later, founded Lehigh Gas Corporation, which was the predecessor of Lehigh Gas Partners LP and CrossAmerica Partners LLP, where he served as CEO since 1992. Prior to his involvement in the petroleum business, Topper worked for American Can Company as controller of Metal Packaging and director of the Marketing of Specialty Foods division.

Topper has been a member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees since 2010 and served as vice chair of the board from 2015 until being named chair in 2017. In addition, he is president and a trustee for The Topper Foundation, a private foundation established in 2004. The foundation focuses on education, human services and religious and community organizations in Allentown and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania. Topper is a board member and past board chair of PBS39 and served on the board of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital for 19 years.

Topper earned his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the Villanova School of Business in 1977 and has an MBA in Finance from Lehigh University. Topper resides in Bethlehem, Pa.

VICE CHAIR, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Justin G. Gmelich ’90 VSB is the global head of Credit Trading at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Prior to assuming this role in 2012, Gmelich was head of the U.S. Credit Trading and U.S. Mortgage Trading departments. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 and was named managing director in 2002 and partner in 2004. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Gmelich was an associate trader at Chase and vice president at Salomon Brothers. He has been a member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees since 2011, and he also serves as a trustee of the Edward Hall Gmelich Memorial Scholarship Fund and is a founder and trustee of Trinity Hall.

Gmelich graduated from the Villanova School of Business in 1990 and is a former member of the VSB Dean’s Advisory Council. He went on to earn an MS in Accounting and Taxation from the University of Southern California in 1991 and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University in 1995. He lives in Rumson, N.J.

SECRETARY, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Nance K. Dicciani, PhD, ’69 COE is the Founder and CEO of RTM Vital Signs, LLC, a medical device start-up company. From 2001 until 2008, Dicciani was the President and CEO of Honeywell Specialty Materials. She joined Honeywell from Rohm & Haas, where she had held the position of business group executive and director, European Region, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Rohm & Haas, Dr. Dicciani worked for Air Products and Chemicals.

Dr. Dicciani serves on the boards of directors of Halliburton, LyondellBasell, Praxair and AgroFresh Solutions, where she serves as non-executive chair. In 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and she currently serves on the board of the Universities Research Association in Washington, D.C., and on the advisory board of the Center for Corporate Governance of Drexel University.

Dr. Dicciani has been a member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees since 2009. She holds a BS from Villanova, an MS from the University of Virginia and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, all in Chemical Engineering, and an MBA from the Wharton School. Dr. Dicciani resides in Fort Washington, Pa.

NEW MEMBER, BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Kerry Kittles ’96 VSB, ’09 MBA was a two-time All-American performer during an illustrious men’s basketball playing career at Villanova University. He graduated from Villanova in 1996 as the program’s all-time leading scorer (2,243 points) and is a member of the Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame and Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame. In 1998, Kittles had his Villanova jersey retired by the University.

He was later selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. He finished second on the team in scoring as a rookie in 1996–97, earning All-NBA Rookie second-team recognition. Kittles would go on to play nine seasons in the NBA with the Nets and Los Angeles Clippers. After finishing his NBA career, Kittles returned to Villanova, where he earned his MBA.

Kittles is currently an assistant men’ basketball coach at Princeton University. Prior to beginning his coaching career, he worked as a consultant for the Brooklyn Nets. A member of the President’s Advisory Council at Villanova since 2010, Kittles resides in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit http://www.villanova.edu.

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Amanda Crisafulli
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