Villanova University

Villanova University


name = Villanova University
motto = Veritas, Unitas, Caritas (Latin)
mottoeng = Truth, Unity, Charity"
established = 1842
type = Private
affiliation = Roman Catholic (Augustinian)
endowment = $335.73 million []
president = Rev. Peter M. Donohue
city = Villanova Radnor Township
state = Pennsylvania
country = USA
undergrad = 6,335
postgrad = 3,200
faculty = 545
campus = Suburban, convert|254|acre|km2
(1.028 km²)
nickname = Wildcats
mascot = Will D. Cat
fightsong = "V for Villanova"
colors = Blue and white color box|#00337F color box|#FFFFFF
website= [] |

Villanova University is a private university located in Radnor Township, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. Founded in 1842 by the Augustinian monastic order, the university can trace its roots to old Saint Augustine's Church in Philadelphia, which the Augustinians founded in 1796, and to its parish school, Saint Augustine's Academy, which was established in 1811. Villanova, named after Saint Thomas of Villanova, is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.cite web |url= |title=University Profile ||accessdate=2007-03-10]


In October 1841, two Augustinians from Saint Augustine's Church in Philadelphia purchased the convert|200|acre|km2|sing=on "Belle Air" estate in Radnor Township with the intention of starting a school. The school, which was called the "Augustinian College of Villanova," opened in 1842. However, the Philadelphia Nativist Riots of 1844 that burned Saint Augustine's Church in Philadelphia caused financial difficulties for the Augustinians, and the college was closed in February 1845. The college reopened in 1846 and graduated its first class in 1847. In March 1848, the governor of Pennsylvania incorporated the school and gave it the power to grant degrees. In 1859, the first master's degree was conferred on a student. [Address by Dean of the Graduate School Gerald Long to incoming graduate students. 24 August 2008.] In 1857, the school closed again as the demand for priests in Philadelphia prevented adequate staffing, and the crisis of the Panic of 1857 strained the school financially. The school remained closed throughout the Civil War and reopened in September 1865; since then it has operated continuously.cite web |url= |title=The Mission and Heritage of Villanova University||accessdate=2007-08-17]

The first great expansion of Villanova began in the late 1890s. Desiring an institution that would "rank among the best in the United States," the college built more classrooms, dormitories, and recreational facilities, and bought instructional equipment.

The School of Technology was established in 1905. In 1915, a two-year pre-medical program was established to help students meet medical schools' new requirements. This led to a four-year pre-medical program, the B.S. in biology, and the founding of the sciences division in 1926.

Villanova was all-male until 1918, when the college began evening classes to educate nuns to teach in parochial schools. In 1938, a laywoman received a Villanova degree for the first time. It was not until the nursing school opened in 1953 that women permanently began attending Villanova full-time. In 1958, the College of Engineering admitted its first female student; other colleges admitted women only as commuters. Villanova University became fully coeducational in 1968.

After World War II, Villanova expanded, returning veterans swelling enrollments and the faculty growing fourfold. Additional facilities were built and in 1953, the College of Nursing and the School of Law were established. Villanova achieved university status on November 18, 1953. Between 1954 and 1963, 10 new buildings were built or bought on land adjacent to the campus, including Bartley, Mendel, and Dougherty Halls.cite web |url= |title=The Facts About the History of Villanova|work=The Villanovan|accessdate=2007-10-10]

During the 1970s and 1980s, Villanova worked to become a nationally recognized university. The quality of faculty and students improved dramatically and international studies programs were introduced. Additional residential and recreational facilities were constructed, and efforts to increase the endowment were undertaken.

In the 1980s, endowed chairs were established in theology, philosophy, engineering, and business; scholarship funding was increased, and the curriculum expanded and improved. An extensive building campaign created facilities for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Commerce and Finance, and student residences on the south and the west campuses.

Over the history of the university, it has also served as a headquarters of the Augustinian Order in North America, and has provided staff to establish Catholic high schools throughout the United States, such as St. Augustine High School in San Diego, California, which was established in 1922 with teaching staff dispatched from Villanova. fact|date=May 2008


Villanova University sits on convert|254|acre|km2 just convert|12|mi|km from Philadelphia.cite web|url=|title=Campus location||accessdate=2007-10-09] The campus is host to Arboretum Villanova which includes roughly 1,500 trees across campus, including the only known instance of a naturally-growing sequoia east of the Mississippi River.fact|date=October 2007

There are three named areas on the campus, all within easy walking distance:
*Main Campus contains most of the educational buildings, administration buildings, and student residences
*West Campus contains the School of Nursing, Law School and junior/senior housing
*South Campus contains underclassmen residence halls

Main Campus

The most prominent feature of the Villanova Campus is St. Thomas of Villanova Chapel, whose dual spires are Villanova's tallest structure. An important campus crossroads, the Chapel lies at the head of the path crossing Lancaster Avenue (Route 30) into the parking lots and toward South Campus. As such, it is a popular meeting place for students, and hosts three student-oriented masses on Sunday nights.

Situated behind the Chapel is Mendel Field, around which sit three major campus buildings: Mendel Hall, Tolentine Hall, and the CEER Building. Opened in 1998, the Center for Engineering Education and Research holds an engineering lab and classroom facility. Tolentine Hall houses classrooms, academic offices, and computer labs, and is connected to Villanova's monastery, St. Thomas Hall. Mendel Hall, named for pioneering geneticist and Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, holds science labs, lecture halls, and other facilities. Mendel Hall's two large buildings are connected underground and by a second-floor indoor bridge that forms the gateway between West and Main Campus. In 1998, the college commissioned a convert|7|ft|m|sing=on bronze sculpture of Mendel by Philadelphia sculptor James Peniston, and installed it outside the hall's entrance.cite web|url= |title=James Peniston Sculpture |accessdate=2008-07-08]

Slightly east of Mendel Field sits The Grotto, a landscaped haven between Falvey Library and two residence halls, Corr Hall and Alumni Hall. Often home to outdoor masses and other large gatherings, the Grotto is sometimes perfect for quiet contemplation. Falvey Library, the campus's main research library, houses over 1,000,000 books, thousands of periodicals, television production studios, and quiet places for solitary or group study.cite web |url= |title=Launch Villanova University Virtual Tour||accessdate=2007-10-09]

East of Corr Hall sits Kennedy Hall, which houses the Campus's bookstore. Across a small courtyard is Dougherty hall, home to "The Pit", one of three all-you-can-eat facilities on campus, as well as a few smaller eateries. Next to Kennedy is Connelly Center, the Student Union. With radically different architecture, the Connelly Center contains a variety of meeting places, areas for group study, the Belle Aire Terrace, which serves a variety of food, the cinema, as well as an ice cream shop. Between the dining halls of Dougherty and the meeting halls of Connelly is "The Oreo." A large black-and-white sculpture by Jay Dugan, some of the major campus celebrations have occurred in its circular shadow – including celebratory vandalism in the wake of the 1985 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Sitting just west of The Quad, "The Awakening" (as it is officially known) has served as a major meeting place at the heart of the campus for generations of Villanovans.

Still further east, The Quad is bordered by Sheehan and Sullivan residence halls, and Bartley Hall, home to the Villanova School of Business. Bartley is also situated near the other entrance to South Campus.

West Campus

Situated north and west of Mendel hall (across the SEPTA train tracks) is West Campus, home to St. Mary's Hall, the West Campus Apartments and the Law School. St. Mary's, a labyrinthine building of classrooms, residence rooms, a cafeteria, and large chapel, was originally built as a seminary, but is now home to the School of Nursing. Behind St. Mary's sit the Apartments – eight buildings that house junior and senior resident students.

One of two commuter train stops on campus, the Villanova Rail Station on the R5 line provides access to the city of Philadelphia, about 30 minutes away.

outh Campus

Sitting diagonally across Lancaster Ave. and Ithan Ave. from Bartley Hall, South Campus is home to several residence halls – usually reserved for underclassmen – and Donahue Hall, home to "The Spit". Short for "South Pit", Donahue hall also houses Donahue Market.

The second of two on-campus train stops, the Villanova stop on the SEPTA Route 100 line provides access to the city of Philadelphia, about 30 minutes away.

Environmental commitment

In May 2007, the University’s president signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The ACUPCC is dedicated to the critical research and education needed to end global warming. The new College of Nursing and the new School of Law are being built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified specifications.

On November 16, 2007, the College of Engineering unveiled a new Solar Electric System atop its Center for Engineering Education and Research (CEER), providing up to 4,000 watts of power to offset utility-supplied power for the CEER building. [cite web |url=|title= Father Donohue throws the Switch to Officially Unveil the New Solar Electric System|accessdate=2007-12-12 |work= ]


Villanova University offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional programs through its five divisions: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (1842), Villanova School of Business (1922), College of Engineering (1905), College of Nursing (1953), and School of Law (1953).

University rankings

For more than a decade, Villanova University has been ranked #1 by "U.S. News and World Report" in the Best Universities-Masters category in the northern region. Villanova has several highly regarded academic programs, including an engineering school that is ranked #9 among undergraduate engineering programs whose highest degree is a masters by "U.S. News and World Report". The School of Business was ranked #12 in the 2007 "Business Week" rankings of undergraduate business schools, [cite web |url= |title=VSB In The Rankings |accessdate=2007-03-10|] #87 in the 2006 "U.S. News and World Report" rankings of undergraduate business schools, and #29 in the Financial Times' ranking of top executive MBA programs. [cite web |url= |title=Financial Times Ranks the Villanova School of Business Executive MBA Program Among the Top 30 in the Nation |accessdate=2007-03-10||format=PDF] Villanova University School of Law is ranked as a Top Law School by the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools," placing 68th overall. [cite web |url=|title=U.S. News and World Report Law School Rankings |accessdate=2007-04-02] In December 2006, "PC Magazine" and "The Princeton Review" ranked Villanova #1 in its review of top "wired colleges" in the United States.cite web |url=,1895,2073411,00.asp |title=Top 10 Wired Colleges|accessdate=2006-12-20|work=The Princeton Review] The College of Nursing has been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing in 2004 and again in 2007. [cite web|url=|title=Villanova Nursing recognized again as Center of Excellence in Nursing Education|accessdate=2008-02-20 |]

Admissions and retention statistics

Villanova University has an overall undergraduate acceptance rate of 38%, with a transfer acceptance rate of 53% and an early action acceptance rate of 53%. The percentage of accepted students who actually enroll is 32%. The freshman retention rate for the school is 94%, and 48% of the undergraduate student body placed within the top 10% of their high school class. []

tudent life

Villanova's student organizations include standard club sports, cultural organizations, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, and more. [cite web |url= |title=Campus organizations |accessdate=2007-10-09|] Villanova students participate in charitable and philanthropic activities and organizations, including the largest student-run Special Olympics in the world.cite web |url= |title=Special Olympics |accessdate=2007-10-09|]


The New Student Orientation Program is one of the most successful student run programs on campus. With over 30 years of tradition, the program has evolved into a four day program in which approximately 25 new students are assigned to one Orientation Counselor or "O.C." The "O.C." leads the 25 students to various programs and activities that discuss topics such as diversity, academics, athletics, sexual awareness, the Philadelphia Area, and student concerns. [cite web|url= |title=Mission|accessdate=2008-02-20|] Every year hundreds of student apply to be an "O.C."or an "A.A." (Administrative Assistant) with only a limited number of students being accepted. The program is run by a staff director, a student chairperson, a student administrative coordinator, and a student steering committee. [cite web|url= |title=Meet the Staff|accessdate=2008-02-20|]

Blue Key Society

The Blue Key Society is Villanova’s completely volunteer-based group of campus tour guides, who work with the Admissions Office to coordinate all campus tours and both Early Action and Regular Action Candidates’ Day. The group of over 250 student tour guides is responsible for giving three daily tours each weekday, various special tours as needed and several weekend tours throughout each semester. The members also serve as tour guides when the individual academic colleges hold their respective open houses. Although tour lengths vary since each member is free to design his or her own unique path, campus tours are typically around one and a half hours long. The Blue Key Society is one of Villanova's most visible on-campus organizations, due in large amount to the nature of its responsibilities. [ [ Blue Key Society ] ]

Campus ministry and service

Reflecting traditions of Roman Catholic and Augustinian spirituality, Campus Ministry touches every aspect of University life through prayer, liturgy, community service, and pastoral care. Campus Ministry encourages all to integrate personal faith into the academic and social environment of the University. Campus Ministry promotes the Augustinian ideal of an intellectual community seeking both wisdom and a fuller spiritual life.

pecial Olympics

The annual Special Olympics Fall Festival at Villanova University is the largest and most successful student-run Special Olympics in the nation. It draws more than 1,000 athletes and 400 coaches from 44 Pennsylvania counties. Athletes may advance through the festival to regional and international competition. Students apply to be a part of the 82-volunteer planning committee, which works for more than nine months alongside with Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA), which oversees more than 300 events statewide.cite web|url=|title=Special Olympics|accessdate=2007-10-09|] The event is put on with the aid of some 2,500 student volunteers and more than 1,000 other volunteers from the Villanova community.

Habitat for Humanity

Villanova students participate in charitable organizations and service trips in the U.S. and abroad. In 2004, Villanova had more participants in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge than any other U.S. university. [cite web|url=|title=Office of Communication and Public Affairs: Habitat for Humanity applauds Villanova participation|accessdate=2007-02-18|work=Blueprints]

Pastoral Musicians

The largest musical group currently at Villanova, "Pastoral Music", has a regular complement of approximately 60 voices and 35 instrumentalists from semester to semester. This is a substantial increase in membership since the group's 30 musicians in 1995. The ministry grows from the regular worship assembly of Villanova made up primarily of undergraduate students. The music style is varied, expressing the diversity of style found within the Roman Catholic tradition. Contemporary praise music from different cultural experiences finds its home along side works by Bach, Palestrina, Mozart, Lauridsen and others.

Engineers Without Borders

Villanova EWB is a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a non-profit organization that focuses on helping to improve the living conditions of communities worldwide. [ [ Ewb-Usa ] ] Villanova EWB is one of the fasting growing student organizations on campus, expanding from a mere handful of engineering students in the spring of 2006 to a current membership of approximately 75 students in multi-disciplinary programs.

The chapter’s inaugural project was to design and build a playground for a grade school in New Orleans following the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina. Villanova EWB was the only student organization to win an award from the regional Project Management Institute, receiving an Honorable Mention from PMI for project of the year. [ [ Villanova Engineering Students Learn through Service ] ] The most recent project involved designing and building a water treatment and distribution system which provided an orphanage and surrounding villages in northern Thailand with drinking water and irrigation for their crops. [ [ Engineers Without Borders - Villanova Chapter ] ] There are also plans for a variety of projects in the Philadelphia area, including K-12 outreach programs, as well as many more international projects.

Rays of Sunshine

Formerly known as Project Sunshine, The Office of Community Service, commonly called "Rays of Sunshine", is a student-led community service organization dedicated to reaching out to all kinds of communities with kindness and compassion. Through tutoring, mentoring, or visiting the elderly, sick, and disabled, Rays of Sunshine works to "bring some sunshine" into the lives of others.cite web|url=|title=Rays of Sunshine||accessdate=2008-02-20]

Greek Life

Villanova University hosts a number of Greek letter organizations, including eleven fraternities, ten sororities, and one service fraternity. The first Greek organization at the school was established in 1902 as a social organization and circle of individuals interested in classical studies. [cite web|url=|title=About Us||accessdate=2008-03-19] Approximately 15% of Villanova students belong to Greek organizations. [cite web|url=|title=Greek Life at Villanova||accessdate=2008-04-16] Unlike many major universities, no Greek letter organizations on the Villanova campus have fraternity or sorority houses.


National Panhellenic Conference Sororities
* Alpha Chi Omega
* Alpha Delta Pi
* Alpha Phi
* Delta Delta Delta
* Delta Gamma
* Kappa Delta
* Kappa Kappa Gamma
* Pi Beta Phi
* Chi Omega

National Pan-Hellenic Council Sorority
* Alpha Kappa Alpha


North-American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities
* Beta Theta Pi
* Delta Tau Delta
* Lambda Chi Alpha
* Pi Kappa Alpha
* Sigma Alpha Epsilon
* Sigma Nu
* Sigma Phi Epsilon
* Sigma Chi
* Phi Gamma Delta
* Phi Sigma KappaNational Pan-Hellenic Council Fraternity
* Kappa Alpha Psi

National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations Fraternity
* Phi Iota Alpha

ervice Fraternity

The Sigma Eta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega meets weekly on Villanova's campus. The goal of this organization is to promote its motto "Friendship, Leadership, and Service." APO is the Nation's Largest Collegiate Fraternity with more than 17,000 members at 361 campuses. The Villanova Chapter does various service projects throughout the year both on and off campus.cite web |url=|title=Alpha Phi Omega|accessdate=2008-02-20 |work= ] Some service events include school clean ups through Philly Cares Day, working at soup kitchens and tutoring children in Math and Science at Philadelphia public schools.

Villanova Emergency Medical Service

Villanova Emergency Medical Service (VEMS), is a student-run ambulance service licensed and dedicated to serving the campus community. VEMS membership consists of more than 40 undergraduate student volunteers; the majority of whom are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians, volunteering more than 25,000 hours annually. Villanova is one of only a handful of colleges to provide EMS services to their campus, and one of only 52 who provide emergency response and transport to at least the Basic Life Support (BLS) Level. [cite web|url=|title=NCEMSF Database|accessdate=2007-06-25] VEMS has been recognized on a national level multiple times by the National Collegiate EMS Foundation, specifically being named 2001 Campus Organization of the Year and receiving EMS website of the year in 2000, 2004, and 2006. VEMS hosted the second annual NCEMSF Conference in 1995 as well as the twelfth annual conference in Philadelphia in 2005. [cite web|url=|title=NCEMSF Awards|accessdate=2007-06-25]

Campus publications and media

"The Villanovan" has been the officially recognized and accredited student newspaper since its founding in 1916. The newspaper of record of Villanova University, the tabloid-sized weekly produces usually 12 issues per semester at a circulation of 6,500 copies. [cite web|url=|accessdate=2008-02-20|title=General Information|] The paper's awards include 2nd Place for Tabloid Feature Cover from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Collegiate Circle (2007); Certificate of Merit for Editorial Writing from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Collegiate Circle (2007); Certificate of Merit for portfolio of work in the Feature Photograph category from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Collegiate Circle (2007); Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Keystone Award for Best Feature Story; and 1st Place with Special Merit and Outstanding Sports Coverage from the American Scholastic Press Association.fact|date=October 2007

"Villanova Times", an alumni-funded bi-weekly student newspaper, won the 2005-2006 Collegiate Network Award for Layout and Design.fact|date=October 2007

WVTV (Villanova), the student-run campus television station, resides at channel 17. Starting in 1999 as the Villanova TV Production Club, the station has produced news, events, films and other programming for the Villanova community. [cite web|url=|title=VTV||accessdate=2008-02-20]

WXVU, the student-operated FM radio station, operates at 89.1 megahertz. With an output of 75 watts, WXVU can be heard in an convert|8|mi|km|sing=on radius around the campus. Since 1991, the station has supplied the Villanova community with a varied program of music, news, sports, public affairs, and specialty programming. [cite web|url=|title=About the Station||accessdate=2008-02-20]

POLIS Literary Magazine, a student publication printed once a semester, features writing and artwork by Villanova students and professors. Each issue features creative nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, and black-and-white photography focusing on a central theme. [cite web|url=|title=Polis Literary Magazine||accessdate=2008-02-20] Each issue also features articles on literature, entertainment, and dining.


Villanova is home to a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program which has commissioned more U.S. Navy admirals and Marine Corps generals than any institution but the U.S. Naval Academy. [cite web|url=|title=Villanova University NROTC|accessdate=2008-02-20|] In 2004, the commanders of both U.S. Naval Forces Atlantic and U.S. Naval Forces Pacific were Villanova NROTC graduates.fact|date=October 2007


Villanova University's varsity men's athletics programs include baseball, basketball, cross country running, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, and tennis, track and field. Women's varsity athletics programs include basketball, cross country running, field hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. [ [ - Official Athletic site of the Villanova University Wildcats ] ] Sports teams participate in the NCAA's Division I and in the Big East Conference, except for football and lacrosse. Football and Men's Lacrosse play in the Colonial Athletic Association. Women's lacrosse plays in the Patriot League. The Wildcats are also part of the Philadelphia Big 5, the traditional Philadelphia-area basketball rivalry. Their fiercest city rivalry is with St. Joseph's University which is locally called the "Holy War"

Men's Basketball

In 1985, under the direction of coach Rollie Massimino, the men's basketball team won the national championship in the first year of the 64-team field. The final game, against defending champion and ten-point-favorite Georgetown, is often cited among the greatest upsets in college basketball history. [cite web|url=| Page 2's List for top upset in sports history|accessdate=2006-12-13] In 2005, under the direction of coach Jay Wright, Villanova's men's basketball team reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, losing to #1 seed and eventual champion North Carolina by 1 point on a disputed traveling call on Allan Ray. In 2005-2006, the team began the year ranked #4 in the major polls from "USA Today" and the Associated Press. A 75-62 loss to eventual champion Florida ended the team's run for a second NCAA championship in the Regional Final. This team was led by a unique type of lineup designed by coach Jay Wright. He used a four guard set for most of the season. Allan Ray, Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Nardi were the four guards. In the 2006-2007 season, the Wildcats had a record of 22-11, and lost to Kentucky in the first round of the 2007 tournament. In 2008, they were eliminated by the top-seeded, eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks in the Sweet 16, after upsetting the fifth seeded Clemson Tigers in the 1st round and defeating the thirteenth seeded Siena Saints in the 2nd round.

The Wildcats home venues include the on-campus 6,500 seat Pavilion for smaller attendance games, as well as the larger, 21,600 seat Wachovia Center at the Philadelphia sports complex. The February 13, 2006 meeting between Villanova and the University of Connecticut set the record for the highest attendance at a college basketball game in Pennsylvania with 20,859. [ [ ESPN - Connecticut vs. Villanova - Box Score - February 13, 2006 ] ]

Track and Field

Villanova University's Track and Field team has a long history of athletic success that has spanned from Big East Conference Championships to NCAA Championships.cite web|url=|title=RUNNOVA|accessdate=2008-02-20]

The Men's Team has produced 69 NCAA Championships, 36 Indoor and 33 Outdoor. The team has had 8 NCAA team Championships (4 Cross Country, 3 Indoor, 1 Outdoor). Villanova has produced 28 athletes who have made appearances in the Olympics, 10 of whom have medaled (7 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals). Villanova hopefuls for the 2008 Summer Olympics include alumnus Adrian Blincoe, and senior Bobby Curtis (runner). The men's team has also won 112 Penn Relay Championships, which stands as the most wins by any school. The men's current coaches include head coach, Marcus O'Sullivan, and assistant head coach, Anthony Williams.

The Women's team has also had a multitude of success, producing 10 Big East team Championships and 7 NCAA team Championships. They have also produced 7 Olympians including Vicki Huber, Sonia O'Sullivan, Kim Certain, Kate Fonshell, Jen Rhines, Carmen Douma, and Carrie Tollefson. Olympic hopefuls for the 2008 Summer Olympics include alumna Marina Muncan. The Women's team has won 28 Penn Relay Championships, which is the most wins by any women's team. The current women's coaches include head coach, Gina Procaccio, and assistant head coach, Anthony Williams.

At least one Villanova athlete has competed in every Summer Olympics since 1948, winning a a total of 13 medals (9 gold, 4 silver)."Villanova" magazine, Summer 2008, "Villanovans have won 13 Olympic Medals"]


The university seal

An adaptation of the seal of the Order of St. Augustine, the seal of Villanova University is one of the campus's most ubiquitous images, adorning everything from buildings to chairs to backpacks. [cite web|url=|title=The University Seal|accessdate=2007-10-09|] A ribbon carries the University motto: "Veritas, Unitas, Caritas" (Truth, Unity, and Charity), virtues to which every member of the Villanova community should aspire. A book symbolizes Augustine's dedication to education and the New Testament where he found Christianity. A cincture is part of the habit worn by members of the Order of Saint Augustine. Hovering above is the flaming heart, symbol of Augustine's search for God and his love of neighbors. Behind the book is the crosier — a staff traditionally held by a Bishop — commemorating Augustine's service as Bishop of Hippo. Above and behind the book are two crosses, symbolic of Augustine's conversion and the University's commitment to Christianity. Framing the central portion of the seal is a laurel wreath exemplifying victory through the pursuit of knowledge, and 1842 is the year of the University's founding. Surrounding the seal is the incorporated fide of the University: "Universitas Villanova In Statu Pennsylvaniae".

The Liberty Bell's "Sister Bell"

Villanova University is also home to the Liberty Bell's "Sister Bell," the replacement bell ordered from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry after the original bell cracked in 1753.cite web|url=|title=Villanova Magazine Fall 2003 Edition|accessdate=2007-10-12|title=Villanova Magazine] This new bell was installed at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall), and attached to the State House clock. The Sister Bell rang the hours until the late 1820s, when the bell was removed during a renovation and loaned to the Olde St. Augustine Church in Philadelphia. In 1829, the bell was hung in a new cupola and tower designed by architect William Strickland. There it remained until May 8, 1844, when it was destroyed, along with the Olde St. Augustine Church, during the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. The friars of St. Augustine had the "Sister Bell" recast and transferred to Villanova University.

At the university's centennial celebration, the bell was rung by Archbishop Dennis Joseph Dougherty to open the ceremonies. In 1954, the bell was displayed as part of an exhibit at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia that focused on the growth and development of the university.cite web|url=|title=Villanova University Archives: The Liberty Bell's Sister|accessdate=2007-10-12] The Sister Bell is currently enshrined in the Falvey Memorial Library on Villanova's campus.

Campus myths

A number of legends are spread around campus by students. Some of these include the existence of secret tunnels and catacombs under campus, the haunting of some of the older dormitories (sometimes linked to their use as hospitals during the Civil War), and speculation over the existence of an entire wing of St. Mary's Hall which is completely blocked off.

The three buildings most commonly discussed as being haunted are Alumni Hall (located by St. Thomas of Villanova church on the main campus), St. Mary's Hall and Dundale (both located on the west campus).

Alumni Hall dates back to 1848 and stands as one of the oldest structures on campus. The school was closed in 1861 due to the Civil War and reopened in 1865. In that time this hall is believed to have been used as a military hospital and potential evidence of that use, such as a pulley located at the top of the main stairwell for moving bodies up and down, can still be seen. The building was used as a hospital again for influenza patients after World War I. This history has led to rumors that the building is haunted.

St. Mary's Hall was built in 1962 and served as an Augustinian Seminary until 1972.fact|date=October 2007 Laid out with long corridors and over a thousand rooms, there is a large chapel and many partial floors, basements and sub-basements to feed the legends of blocked off wings.

The property on which Dundale Hall is located was originally purchased by an industrialist, Israel Morris II, in 1874, and was built as a mansion for his family. Purchased from his family in 1978, it has been used for a variety of meetings and is home to several offices. On more than a handful of occasions, the school's Public Safety officers have been called out late at night to investigate lights in the building coming on inexplicably.


Villanova University has fathered several notable alumni.

Golden Globe-nominated actress Maria Bello got her first taste of the stage in a production at Vasey Hall. Actor and Coen Brothers favorite Jon Polito has garnered both stage and screen awards, and NFL Hall of Famer, longtime FOX commentator and feature film actor Howie Long graduated in 1982. Tim Hauser, founder of Manhattan Transfer, Jim Croce, and Don McLean have all been prominent members of the musical tradition at Villanova. David Rabe had his first premier for "In the Boom Boom Room" at Vasey Hall.

In addition to current Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic luminary Ed Rendell, Villanova has produced several military and governmental officials. Wife to the governor and federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Marjorie Rendell, is also a graduate. Numerous Marine generals and Naval Admirals are products of Villanova's Naval ROTC program, including William J. Fallon, Admiral of the United States Navy, and Commander of United States Central Command and George B. Crist, Marine General, and the first Marine to be designated Commander in Chief, Central Command.

The business world, too, has had several prominent businessmen who got their start at Villanova. Robert J. Darretta, Jr. – chief financial officer and vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson, John Drosdick – CEO of Sunoco, Thomas G. Labrecque – former Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, Francis Saul – president of Chevy Chase (Bank), and Martin McGuinn – former CEO of Mellon Financial Corp. have all studied at Villanova at some point in their careers.

John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, obtained a Masters degree in Advanced Ethics at Villanova University. John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University earned a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering, and Deirdre Imus, Head of the Diedre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (and wife to radio host Don Imus) is also a graduate.

Commencement speakers

* Grover Cleveland, former President of the United States (1902)
* William Howard Taft, President of the United States (1910)
* Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States (1918)
* Larry O'Brien, former National Basketball Association commissioner and President John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign manager (1966)
* James A. Michener, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (1978)
* Katherine Davalos Ortega, Treasurer of the United States, (1983-1989) (1988)
* Xavier Suarez, former mayor of Miami, Florida (1988)
* Tom Clancy, best-selling author (1990)
* Elizabeth Dole, U.S. Senator (1991)
* Katie Couric, former co-host of NBC's The Today Show; current CBS Evening News, anchor (1993)
* Ed Bradley, CBS's 60 Minutes correspondent (1995)
* James Earl Jones, Emmy Award-winning actor (1996)
* Bill Shore, Share Our Strength founder (1997)
* Jack Kemp, former U.S. Representative and vice-presidential nominee (1998)
* Anna Quindlen, journalist, (scheduled to give 1999 address but declined due to controversy over her views on abortion)
* Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (2000)
* Dr. John L. Hennessy, (2001), president of Stanford University; Cisco and Google board member
* Suzanne Torregrossa Berger, alumna widowed by September 11, 2001 terror attacks (2002)
* Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor (2003)
* Caroll Spinney, actor who portrays "Big Bird" on "Sesame Street" (2004)
* Mary McAleese, president of Ireland (2005)
* Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, former president of Villanova (1989), (2006)
* Chris Matthews, MSNBC talk show host (2007)
* Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services (2008)cite web |url= |title=VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES KEN HACKETT AS COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER||accessdate=2008-05-16]

Notes and references

ee also

*Education in Philadelphia

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Official Athletics website]


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