Villanova University is in many ways the flagship of the Augustinians in the United States.
It was founded in 1842 on its present site in what is now Radnor Township just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1846 it had twenty four students (who today would be regarded more as high school students than as university students) and a staff of eight. Villanova awarded its first Baccalaureate (B.A.) degrees (just two of them) in 1855. It closed in 1857 and, with the national turmoil of the Civil War, did not re-open until 1865.
Villanova is located in a suburban community 12 miles (or 20 kilometres) west of Philadelphia. Its campus covers 254 acres (1 square kilometre). It has more than sixty buildings, including a library with more than 800,000 volumes, an 11,800 seat stadium, state of the art academic facilities, and 26 student residence halls for on-campus living. Today Villanova is the largest Catholic college or university in Pennsylvania. It is one of 262 institutions -- and one of 18 Catholic colleges or universities-in the nation - to have a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious liberal arts honor society.
In 2015 it had an enrolment of over 10,000 full-time students (3,000 of them postgraduates), and an annual intake of over 1,500 first year students. Ninety-six percent of the first-year students ranked in the top 30 percent of their high school classes. They come from forty-nine U.S. states plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands, and from 29 foreign countries.
In the publication, America's Best Colleges 2006, by the magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Villanova University was ranked number one for universities and colleges giving a Master's degree. Villanova has topped the rankings in this category for fifteen consecutive years. In 2015 it was also rated in fierst place for Regional Universities (North America).
Photos (at left): Picture 1: Staircase at Villanova University. Picture 2: The official crest of the University. Picture 3: Martin Luther King at Villanova in 1965.
The magazine U.S. News & World Report ranked Villanova Univrrsity as tied for the 50th best national University in the U.S. for 2017.Villanova University is also home to a NROTC (U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps) unit which has commissioned more U.S. Navy admirals and Marine Corps generals than any institution besides the U.S. Naval Academy. The list includes former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Paul X. Kelley, Gen. Anthony Zinni, Adm. Walter Doran, Adm. William J. Fallon, Rear Adm. Joseph Hare, and Brig Gen. Joseph J. McMenamin. In 2004, the commander of both U.S. Naval Forces Atlantic and U.S. Naval Forces Pacific were Villanova NROTC, meaning Villanova graduates led virtually the entire U.S. fleet.
Villanova maintains an active volunteering community, with several charitable organisations and a leading service trip schedule. The university is also a perennial home to the largest student-run volunteer Special Olympics in the country. Villanova has also produced such distinguished alumni as Charles M. Heimbold, American ambassador to Sweden and former chairman of Bristol-Meyers Squibb; Lawrence M. Waterhouse, founder of Waterhouse Securities; Herbert Ramrath, former chairman of GE Plastics; James Kim, chairman of Amkor Technology; Francis Saul, president of Chevy Chase Bank; and James Curvey, former chairman of Fidelity; Villanova Law graduate Ed Rendell, current Pennsylvania governor and general chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2000; and numerous other notable and successful graduates.
Just over half of the students are female. Villanova has 511 full-time faculty members, ninety percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field, and teach classes that average 22 students. The student to faculty ratio is 13:1. Competition to study at Villanova is considerable, as there is room to accept only sixty percent of the applicants each year.
Photos (at right): Picture 1: A modern residential building on the campus. Picture 2: Competitive sport. Picture 3: Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa at Villanova University.
For the eighteen years the University's president was the now-deceased Fr Edmund J. Dobbin O.S.A.. He retired at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year, and his successor was Fr Peter M. Donohue O.S.A.. The university offers a wide variety of degree programs through four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Commerce and Finance (in June 2006 re-named the School of Business), and the College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing.
Among publications and journals produced at Villanova are Augustinian Studies, South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, The Theology Institute Proceedings, and Villanova Law Review. The endowment (i.e., money donated to the University for its interest-bearing investment) of Villanova University now exceeds US$206,000,000.From among the alumni (past students) of the large Commerce and Finance faculty of the University, fifteen alumni lost their lives in the Twin Towers disaster in New York City on 11th September 2001. One of them was a flight attendant on one of the aircraft involved.
The web site of Villanova University. http://www.villanova.edu
Villanova University. Campus Tour. (You Tube: 8 minutes 37 seconds) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xik36xDsMmU
History, mission and ministry. Villanova began in 1842… http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/mission/heritage/vuhistory.html
Satellite photo of the Villanova campus. http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=40.03771,-75.33755&spn=0.008592,0.005932&t=k
Villanova University. Wikipedia file. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villanova_University AN4267