Villanova University Celebrates the 175th Anniversary of its Founding

Villanova University Celebrates the 175th Anniversary of its Founding

VILLANOVA, Pa. – This month marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Villanova University and to commemorate this historic milestone, the University will host a celebration with events that span the 2017 calendar year.

In January 1842, a group of Irish Augustinian priests received the title to just under 200 acres of land from the Belle-Air estate of the late John Rudolph, and Villanova College was established. Villanova College officially opened its doors in 1843 with just seven students in attendance. Now, 175 years after its founding, Villanova celebrates its history and evolution as a university. Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition remains the cornerstone of its academic community and today, there are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students hailing from locations across the country and around the world 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.

“Much has changed at the University since those early days, but what remains constant are the Augustinian values that continue to shape who we are as a community and propel us into the future,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “This celebration is an opportunity for our University community to come together to reflect on the blessing of our past, recognize the many opportunities of our present and work toward an even greater future for Villanova.”

The 175th anniversary (demisemiseptcentennial) celebration begins with a week of events Jan. 17-22. The festivities will kick off with a Villanova birthday party Tuesday, Jan. 17, and continue with “Donation Nation” Jan. 18-19, an event which aims to collect and donate 1.75 tons of food Philabundance. The week of events also includes fireworks, an 1842-themed dinner, Anniversary Mass, and a student gala and winter festival.

Villanova’s 175th Anniversary Event Highlights include:

  • January 17: Happy Birthday, Villanova! A celebration of Villanova's birthday with Father Donohue.
  • January 18: Interfaith Prayer Service and Candlelight Vigil. Starts at 5:15 p.m. at the St. Thomas of Villanova Church.
  • January 18 and 19: Donation Nation. Event aims to collect and donate 1.75 tons of good to Philabundance.
  • January 19: Fireworks. 5:45 p.m. at the Riley Ellipse in the center of the Villanova campus between Kennedy Hall and Connelly Center. Kick-off event for the 175th Anniversary Celebration. Fr. Donohue will provide a welcome and brief comments about the University’s 175th Anniversary.
  • January 19: 1842 Dinner & Discussion. Starts at 6 p.m. in the Villanova Room of Connelly Center. Sample menu items from the 1800s, listen to historians share stories from the past and enjoy the company of other Villanovans as we learn about the Augustinians, the U.S. and Philadelphia, in particular, around the time that Villanova was founded. Dinner is free, but registration is required at villanovatix.com.
  • January 20: Demisemiseptcentennial Winter Festival. Starts at 4pm at the Riley Ellipse in the center of the Villanova campus between Kennedy Hall and Connelly Center. Villanova will be transformed into a winter wonderland with food and activities including ice skating and carriage rides through campus.
  • January 22: 175th Anniversary Mass. Celebrated by Villanova President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, at 7 p.m. in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church.
  • January – March: Villanova Display in Presidents’ Lounge. On display through March in the Presidents’ Lounge in Connelly Center are some of the treasures documenting the University's history, featuring artifacts such as the first lock and key to the "Belle-Air" Mansion, historic photographs, and manuscripts.

For more on Villanova’s demisemiseptcentennial, including a complete list of the events, visit 175.villanova.edu. The site also features 175 faces of Villanovans and a “Now and Then” section that compares the Villanova of the past with today.

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 www.villanova.edu.