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Villanova University is a private university located in Radnor Townshipmarker, a suburb northwest of Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker in the United Statesmarker. Named for Saint Thomas of Villanova, the school is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniamarker.

Founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine, the university traces its roots to old Saint Augustine's Church in Philadelphiamarker, which the Augustinian friars founded in 1796, and to its parish school, Saint Augustine's Academy, which was established in 1811.


In October 1841, two Augustinian friars from Saint Augustine's Church in Philadelphia purchased the "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. 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.

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.
Corr Hall from The Grotto

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.

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. In 1985, the school also won the Men's NCAA basketball tournament, giving the school increased national exposure.

Over the history of the university, it has also served as a headquarters of the Order of Saint Augustine in North America, and has provided staff to establish Catholic high schools throughout the United States, such as St. Augustine High Schoolmarker in San Diego, Californiamarker, which was established in 1922 with teaching staff dispatched from Villanova.


St. Thomas of Villanova Chapel, on the Villanova University campus.
Villanova University sits on just from Philadelphiamarker. The campus was formerly known as 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. Official Arboretum status has been revoked due to the university's lack of upkeep to Arboretum rules and standards such as the planting of new trees and the offering of tours. There are three named areas on the campus, all within easy walking distance:
  • Main Campus contains most of the educational buildings, administration buildings, Student Center, Library, Bookstore, the Villanova Chapel, the main cafeteria along with a variety of coffee shops and eateries, the newly built Athletic Center as well as the Pavilion and Villanova Stadium, and many freshmen, sophomore and junior student residences.
  • West Campus contains the Law School, St. Mary's hall (a large building for single housing, a cafeteria, classrooms, indoor swimming pool, market, etc.) some administrative buildings, and housing for juniors as well as some seniors who are permitted to live on campus. Also included are basketball and tennis courts, soccer fields, volleyball courts and barbecue pits. The Septa R5 Train Stop - Villanova is also located here. There is also the Law School parking gargage in addition to apartment parking.
  • South Campus contains 7 freshman and sophomore residence halls, Donohue Court (South Campus Cafeteria) and Donohue Market (South Campus Market). The Septa R100 Train Line has a stop right behind Stanford Hall.

Main Campus

The most prominent feature of the Villanova campus is St. Thomas of Villanova Churchmarker, whose dual spires are Villanova's tallest structure. The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1883, with construction continuing until 1887. The church underwent major renovations in 1943 and 1992. It is built in Gothic Revival style . The church lies at the head of the path crossing Lancaster Avenue 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. The church is also home to St. Thomas of Villanova parish, whose Masses take place Sunday morning. The stained-glass windows of the church depict the life of St. Augustine of Hippo.
St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery
Situated behind the Chapel is Mendel Field, around which sit six major campus buildings: Mendel Hall, Tolentine Hall, White Hall, Falvey Hall, John Barry Hall, and the Chemical Engineering Building. 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 bronze sculpture of Mendel by Philadelphia sculptor James Penistonmarker, and installed it outside the hall's entrance. Tolentine Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus, houses classrooms, academic offices, and computer labs, and is connected to Villanova's monastery, St. Thomas Hall. White Hall, consisting mainly of classrooms, is directly connected to the Chemical Engineering Building built in 1947. "Old Falvey" is the annex of the Falvey Memorial Library, named for Rev. Daniel Falvey who served as librarian from 1940 until his death in 1962. It is home to some classrooms in the Art History and Education departments as well as some offices, along with The Math Center, The Writing Center, and The Augustinian Heritage Institute. John Barry Hall, named for naval officer Commodore John Barry, houses the Navy ROTC Program. Opened in 1998, the Center for Engineering Education and Research (CEER) holds engineering labs, engineering classrooms, an engineering computer lab, and an auditorium hall for projections and slideshows.

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 mass and other large gatherings, the Grotto is sometimes perfect for quiet contemplation. The grotto includes a statue depicting Our Lady of Good Counsel and plaques dedicated to the veterans of World War II and the Vietnam War. Across from Alumni Hall and The Grotto are St. Rita's Hall and Austin Hall. In addition to being two residence halls, these two buildings also house the Campus Ministry Office and University Admissions Office, respectively. 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. Behind Falvey Library is the Saint Augustine Center for Liberal Arts, commonly called "SAC", which is home to many departments in the College of Liberal Arts, numerous offices, several seminar-type classrooms, and is home to the Advising and Professional Development Program.

East of Corr Hall sits Kennedy Hall, which houses the University Shop, the campus bookstore. Across a small courtyard is Dougherty Hall, the campus's main dining hall, referred to as "The Pit" because of its underground location, one of three all-you-can-eat facilities on campus. Dougherty also houses several smaller eateries and many Student Activity Offices. Next to Kennedy is Connelly Center, the Student Center. With radically different architecture resembling an alpine ski lodge, the Connelly Center contains Belle Aire Terrace, which serves a variety of food, several meeting places, areas for group study, the cinema, a large conference room, as well as a smoothie shop and coffee shop.
The Awakening, with Connelly Center in the background.
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 meeting place in the heart of the campus for generations of Villanovans.

Still further east, The Quad is situated between two dorms, Sheehan and Sullivan Halls, and Bartley Hall, home to the Villanova School of Business. Sullivan Hall is home to the Peace and Justice Center, while Bartley is adjacent to another entrance to Main Campus, at the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and Ithan Avenue. Behind Bartley Hall are two new buildings: The Health Services Building, home to the Counseling and Medical Centers; and Driscoll Hall, home to the College of Nursing.

West Campus

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

One of three commuter train stops on campus, the Villanova Rail Stationmarker on the R5 line provides access to the city of Philadelphiamarker, about 30 minutes away.

South 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, commonly referred to by students as "The Sparket".

The second and third of three on-campus train stops, the Villanova stopmarker and the Stadium stopmarker on the SEPTA Route 100 line provides access to the city of Philadelphiamarker, about 30 minutes away.


In May 2007, the University’s president signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, promising to support research and education 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) specifications.

On November 16, 2007, the College of Engineering unveiled a Solar Electric System atop its Center for Engineering Education and Research (CEER) that will supply up to 4,000 watts.


Colleges and Schools

Villanova University has four divisions which offer undergraduate, graduate and professional programs:

Villanova University has one graduate/professional-only school:

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. The School of Business was ranked #11 in the 2009 Business Week rankings of undergraduate business schools, #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. Villanova University School of Lawmarker is ranked as a Top Law School by the 2009 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools," placing 61st overall. In December 2006, PC Magazine and The Princeton Review ranked Villanova #1 in its review of top "wired colleges" in the United States. 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. Villanova’s Master’s program in Psychology was ranked among the top 10 Master’s-only departments (95th percentile) in the United States and Canada with regard to research productivity.

Admissions and retention statistics

Villanova University has an overall undergraduate acceptance rate of 39%.60% of freshman graduated in the top 10% of their high school class with 81% graduating in the top quarter. About 23% of students are from Pennsylvania with 77% of students hailing from other states. The middle 50% range for the SAT of a typical accepted applicant is 1200-1390 (the writing section is not considered), and the range for the ACT is 31-33.

Student life

Villanova's student organizations include standard club sports, cultural organizations, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, and more. Villanova students participate in charitable and philanthropic activities and organizations, including the largest student-run Special Olympics in the world.


Under the four-day New Student Orientation Program, about 25 new students are assigned to each Orientation Counselor, or "O.C.," who guides them through various activities concerning diversity, academics, athletics, sexual awareness, the Philadelphia Area, and student concerns. The program is run by a staff director, a student chairperson, a student administrative coordinator, and a student steering committee.

Blue Key Society

The Blue Key Society is Villanova’s group of over 250 campus tour guides, who work with the Admissions Office to give three tours each weekday, various special tours as needed and selected weekend tours throughout the school year.

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.

Special Olympics

The annual Special Olympics Fall Festival at Villanova University is the largest and most successful student-run Special Olympics in the world. 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.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.

Pastoral Musicians

The second-largest musical group at Villanova, the Pastoral Musicians have about 60 voices and 35 instrumentalists, primarily undergraduates, up from 30 musicians in 1995. Their musical selection shows the diversity of style within the Roman Catholic tradition: contemporary praise music from different cultures, 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. 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 Orleansmarker 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. The most recent project involved designing and building a water treatment and distribution system which provided an orphanage and surrounding villages in northern Thailandmarker with drinking water and irrigation for their crops. 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.

Greek life

Villanova University hosts 12 fraternities, 10 sororities, and one service fraternity, whose membership encompasses about 15% of Villanova students.. None has a fraternity or sorority house.

The first Greek organization at the school was established in 1902 as a social organization and circle of individuals interested in classical studies.


National Panhellenic Conference Sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council Sorority


North-American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities

National Pan-Hellenic Council Fraternity

National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations Fraternity

Service fraternity

The Sigma Eta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, whose motto is "Leadership, Friendship, and Service," meets weekly on Villanova's campus to plan service projects on and off campus, including school cleanups 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. 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.

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. 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.

Villanova Times, an alumni-funded bi-weekly student newspaper, won the 2005-2006 Collegiate Network Award for Layout and Design.

WVTV , 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.

WXVU, the student-operated FM radio station, operates at 89.1 megahertz. With an output of 75 watts, WXVU can be heard in an 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.

POLIS Literary Magazine, a student publication printed once a semester by the Villanova University Honors Program, 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. 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.marker Naval Academymarker. In 2004, the commanders of both U.S. Naval Forces Atlantic and U.S. Naval Forces Pacific were Villanova NROTC graduates.

Music Activities

Villanova University is without a formal music department; therefore, the Office of Music Activities is charged with the organization of the student performing arts groups on campus. Musicians on campus are from every school in the University. Located on the lower floor of St. Mary's Hall, the Office of Music Activities coordinates the activities of over 600 students — nearly 10% of the student body.

Villanova Band

The Villanova Band is the largest and oldest musical group at Villanova with over 100 members. The Villanova Band has five divisions: the Concert Band, the Scramble Band, the Pep Band, the Jazz Ensemble, and the Villanova Orchestra. Any student or faculty at Villanova can participate in any or all of these bands. The Concert Band plays two concerts; one at the end of each semester. It also performs throughout the Villanova community and on its annual "Fall Tour". Past Fall Tour destinations include Floridamarker, Puerto Rico, Montrealmarker, and South Carolinamarker. The Scramble Band performs for Villanova Football games between plays and at halftime on the field. The Villanova Pep Band performs at Villanova Men's and Women's Basketball games, including post-season games such as the Big East Tournament. The Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra also has end-of-semester concerts but also performs around the Philadelphia area several times a year. The band is made up of students of every school within Villanova.

Villanova Singers

Villanova's men's chorus, the Villanova Singers, was founded in 1953 by Dean Harold Gill Reuschlein, then Dean of the Law Schoolmarker. Established for the purpose of singing various types of music and enriching the cultural life of the University, Dean Reuschlein was known to say that he was "as proud of the Villanova Singers as I am of what the Law School has become."

Since 1963, the Singers have toured extensively; recent highlights include 7-day tours of Italymarker in the Spring 2001, Austriamarker and Germanymarker in the Spring of 2003, Puerto Rico in the Spring of 2004, and Rio de Janeiromarker in Spring of 2009. In concert with the Villanova Voices, the Singers perform two concerts each year: one for Christmas, and one in the Spring.

Entirely student-run, the Singers are governed by an 9-member board of students and sing an eclectic repertoire, ranging from sacred to patriotic, gospel to contemporary, as well as several arrangements by their director, Brian Meneely. Within the Singers, there exists a smaller, student-directed a cappella group known as the Spires. Alumni of the Spires include Jim Croce and Tim Hauser from The Manhattan Transfer.

Villanova Voices

The Villanova Voices, the University's women's chorus, is the oldest women's organization at the University. Originally called the Villanova Women's Glee Club, the group was founded by twenty women from the University's College of Nursing in 1960, shortly after Villanova became coeducational. They sing at various Wildcat games, Special Olympics ceremonies, at local charity events, and "spread holiday cheer" to senior citizens at several nursing homes and to the people of Philadelphia at the King of Prussia Mallmarker. Their attendant a cappella group, the Haveners, is student-directed.


Villanova Wildcats logo

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.

Sports teams participate in the NCAA's Division I and in the Big East Conference, except for football. Football plays in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Wildcats are also part of the Philadelphia Big 5, the traditional Philadelphia-area basketball rivalry. Their fiercest city rivalry, which is called the "Holy War," is with St. Joseph's Universitymarker.

In the NCAA graduation report released on November 18, 2009, Villanova has a graduation-success rate of 96 percent for student-athletes who entered college in 2002-03. Villanova women's basketball team is among the athletic program's 14 teams with a 100 percent graduation rate for 2002-03. The Wildcats' nationally ranked men's basketball and football teams are both at 92 percent. The men's basketball team's graduation-success rate places it fifth nationally among Division I schools.

Villanova's football team is second in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA)."Our number-one priority at Villanova has always been recruiting kids who want to get a good education," Wildcats football coach Andy Talley said. Talley added that no matter how many games or titles Villanova wins, the athletic department's goal is to prepare students for life after college.

Men's basketball

In 1985, under the direction of coach Rollie Massimino, the men's basketball team won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament 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. 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 Carolinamarker by one 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 Floridamarker ended the team's run for a second NCAA championship in the Regional Final. This team was led by a four guard set, a unique type of lineup designed by coach Jay Wright. 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 the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the team was eliminated by the top-seeded, eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks in the Sweet 16, after upsetting the fifth seeded Clemsonmarker Tigers in the 1st round and defeating the thirteenth seeded Sienamarker Saints in the 2nd round. In the 2009 tournament, the Wildcats upset the #1 seed Pittsburgh Panthersmarker on a last second shot by guard Scottie Reynolds to win the East Region and advance to the Final Four. The team was then defeated by the North Carolina Tar Heelsmarker in the 2009 Final Four game.

The home venues for the Wildcats include the on-campus 6,500 seat Pavilionmarker for smaller attendance games, as well as the larger, 21,600 seat Wachovia Centermarker at the Philadelphia sports complex. The February 13, 2006 meeting between Villanova and the University of Connecticutmarker set the record for the highest attendance at a college basketball game in Pennsylvania, with 20,859 attendees.

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.

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 . 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 8 NCAA team Championships, most recently winning the 2009 NCAA 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 total of 13 medals (9 gold, 4 silver).


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. 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 Hippomarker. Above and behind the book are two cross, 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"

The old wing of the Falvey Library.

Villanova University is also home to the Liberty Bellmarker's "Sister Bell," the replacement bell ordered from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry after the original bell cracked in 1753. This new bell was installed at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hallmarker), 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 the Order of Saint 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. The Sister Bell is currently enshrined in the Heritage Room on the basement floor of the St. Augustine Monastery 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. 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. Brian Westbrook and Michael Bradley both attended Villanova before launching their careers in professional sports.

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 in the United States Navy and Commander of United States Central Command; George B. Crist, Marine General and the first Marine to be designated Commander in Chief, Central Command; and Anthony Zinni, retired four-star General in the United States Marine Corps.

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 & Johnsonmarker, John DrosdickCEO of Sunoco, Thomas G. Labrecque – former Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, Francis Saul – president of Chevy Chase , 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 Universitymarker 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.

Notes and references

  1. Address by Dean of the Graduate School Gerald Long to incoming graduate students. 24 August 2008.
  3. Blue Key Society
  4. NBC10 News, November 7, 2008
  5. Ewb-Usa
  6. Villanova Engineering Students Learn through Service
  7. Engineers Without Borders - Villanova Chapter
  9. Dunphy, John, Director of Music Activities. Lecture. April 5, 2008.
  14. - Official Athletic site of the Villanova University Wildcats
  15. Villanova earns high marks for graduating athletes
  16. ESPN - Connecticut vs. Villanova - Box Score - February 13, 2006
  17. Villanova magazine, Summer 2008, "Villanovans have won 13 Olympic Medals"

See also

External links

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