If you were to ask people at Villanova who the truest Villanovan is—who embodies our virtues and commits himself to his community and his friends—there is no doubt that Daniel Gorman would be in the top three on the list, if not at the very top.
Gorman, for those who have not yet had the privilege to meet him, is a senior Marketing and Business Analytics Major with minors in Engineering Entrepreneurship and Creative Writing. He is the President of both Pastorals and the all-male a cappella group “Vocal Minority” (their tagline being “Villanova’s chillest acapella group”). Gorman is also a passionate and well-loved member of Villanova Student Theatre (VST) and Villanova Student Musical Theatre (VSMT). He has been an active participant in NOVAdance, and his work-study role in Campus Ministry. This past August, he was an Orientation Counselor and absolutely loved the experience. Despite the heat, Gorman sits at the Oreo, sun in his eyes, and even after a tiring but rewarding Day of Service, he is thrilled to be there as the sun sets on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
When asked who was his biggest inspiration, Gorman quickly finishes his sip of his drink before gushing about his family. With three other siblings—two brothers and one sister—he finds so much to be inspired by within his family. He cites his parents as the reason he has become the person he is today, and he proudly describes everything his siblings have done because they push him every day to become more and to grow more.
He praises his sister Abigail for being the, “Kindest human on the planet.” His brother Jimmy, Gorman says, is extraordinarily driven and constantly pushes himself out of his comfort zone. Finally, his younger brother Sam is an extraordinary person who constantly makes him burst with pride in everything he accomplishes. In spite of their varying interests and personalities, Gorman insists his siblings constantly push him to be better, and he is beyond grateful to be surrounded by such loving and wonderful people.
Having grown up in Malvern, PA, his family has always been a local source of warmth—and now this year some of them will be on campus. As of this October, his sister Abigail is starting her role as Campus Minister for Service and Justice Experiences with the University’s Campus Ministry. Gorman’s brother Jimmy is also a full-time student in the VUNITED Scholar program, which Daniel thanks over and over again for giving him the chance to see his brother thrive, especially in a community he himself has grown in for the last four years.
When asked how he surprised himself in his experience at Villanova, he thinks for a moment before saying a close friend of his owns a pair of socks featuring the statement, “Turns out I’m tough as sh*t.” He laughs as he says it, apologizing for the language, but insists that it is the truth. Coming into freshman year, in hindsight, he was naive and overwhelmed by the desire to please others above all else. Now, Gorman considers himself tougher and more capable than he could have ever anticipated, and he strives to take care of himself and be confident in what he wants out of life. Still, he has maintained the unwavering desire to love everyone and every opportunity for growth in his life’s path.
At this point in the interview, it seemed like the right time to ask Daniel a question we have discussed time and time again as friends: “How do you think working from love has shaped you as a person and how has it affected your experience at Villanova?” He was dumbstruck at first, immediately overcome with the desire to answer every aspect of the question at once. He describes love as, “Desiring wellness for others and yourself,” and goes on to describe the many ways in which love from others has encouraged him to branch out in ways he never thought possible. By extension, he found that working from love brought joy to himself and everyone around him in such a beautiful way.
If anything were to be his legacy here at Villanova, Gorman would want it to be his welcoming spirit. He says so much of his experience here has been fueled by the encouragement of others, by the love others have given to him time and time again. He claims a friend’s encouragement led him to pursue a Creative Writing minor, something he would have never thought he would be the right person for otherwise. Now, he loves writing poetry and acknowledges that while he may not be the best, he enjoys it so much. But, he thinks he would not have been able to if not for the same nudge of a friend seeing what he could not. For future generations, he not only wants the same amount of support and encouragement for them, but more of it.
Finally, Gorman discussed what advice he wanted to give to the Villanova community. Whether it be the incoming classes of 2025, transfer students or departing seniors, what would he want for them to take away from reading this interview? He looked up once again thoughtfully and said he wanted more empathy. Given all that he and we at Villanova have experienced—not only as students in a pandemic, but also as people on Earth living our lives in these trying times—he said that he wished for everyone to be a little kinder, a little softer and a little more empathetic with each other. Everyone is struggling in their own way, everyone is surviving something, and if we all treat each other with a little more kindness, it can go a long way.
Gorman is not just well-loved for his jovial attitude and his singing voice, but also for his undaunted approach to giving love to everyone. Regardless of where he goes or what he does post-grad, Gorman is the kind of person we all strive to be every day—caring, giving, loving and welcoming to all. His kindness has had a rippling effect that has been felt and will continue to be felt for generations of Villanovans. In the words of Mr. Rogers, a popular icon Gorman has looked up to all his life, “Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Gorman has left Villanovans feeling a little less nervous, a little more empathetic and a little more loved, no matter where we have been in our life paths.