Founded in 1842 under the Order of St. Augustine, Villanova University is a Roman Catholic institution made up of five colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, College of Engineering, Villanova School of Business, Nursing School, and Law School.
Originally, the school was an all-male academic institution placed under the patronage of St. Thomas of Villanova, a sixteenth-century Augustinian theologian, educator, and bishop of Valencia, Spain. The school started allowing women in the early 1900s, however the first full-time female student wasn’t admitted until 1958.
The college went through its first big expansion in the 1890s and at the start of the 20th century the school opened The School of Technology and a pre-medical program. After WWII the college expanded again, and continued to grow in prominence throughout the 1970s and 80s. Even today, Nova is known for various programs, especially its business programs.
If you are looking for a place to eat food and hang out, Dougherty Hall is the place to be. There, you will find the Italian Kitchen, the Grill, and Dougherty dining hall, more commonly known as ‘The Pit’. Dougherty Hall is also home to many offices, like the Multicultural Office and Office of Student Development, where you can do homework, chat with the staff, or just hang out. Let’s say your idea of hanging out is a discussion of the world economy over a cup of fine tea or coffee. Well, in this case the Exchange is the place for you! Located in Bartley Hall, the Exchange strives to achieve a global feel with a little taste of business. You can purchase fancy food (or at least fancy-sounding food) or grab a cup of coffee or tea from the coffee stand right around the corner. The televisions always keep visitors updated with the latest news, and directly above the entrance door is a Wall Street-style ticker tape displaying the most up-to-date stock prices. On your way to a table, be sure to grab the day’s free edition of The Wall Street Journal or, on Thursdays, The Villanovan. There is a constant buzz in the Exchange, but it’s also a great place to study and work on group projects.
Suppose, however, that you’re looking for that one place where you can do everything. Well, lucky for you, there are two such places: St. Mary’s Hall and the Connelly Center. St. Mary’s Hall is more than just student dormitories. Here, you can grab some food at either the dining hall or Second Storey, where you can buy almost anything to satisfy your basic wants and needs. Downstairs, you can take it easy and watch TV or invite a friend to a game of pool or foosball. If you’re feeling extra energetic, throw on a bathing suit and swim some laps in the pool or hit the open gym for a pick-up game of basketball. On main campus, the Connelly Center is where you can do practically everything. First, there is the Belle Air Terrace, which offers a wide array of foods. Grab a bite as you watch TV or enjoy the weather outside. For dessert, treat yourself to some sweets at the Ice Cream Shoppe, located next to the Belle Air Terrace, or grab coffee at the nearby coffee bar. Once you’ve satisfied your cravings, play a game of pool in the back lounge. Upstairs, you can crash on one of the many couches, have a meeting in the lounge area or one of several meeting rooms, or check out the exhibits in the Art Gallery. If you’re in the mood for a movie, visit the Reel Divine video rental store, located across from Belle Air Terrace. If all you want to do is find peace and tranquility, take a moment to observe the fish in the aquariums in the pool hall lounge or in the pond located under the stairs. And don’t forget to check out the Villanova Room or the Cinema. The Villanova Room is often used for various events, while the Cinema is open to all students Thursday through Sunday, where recently-released movies are playing. There’s also a good chance that you’ll find a party of some sort on weekends, and every Wednesday is Live Music Wednesday, where up-and-coming bands show their talents.
Outdoors, the most popular place on campus is what has come to be known as ‘The Oreo’. This original statue, entitled ‘The Awakening', is located practically in the middle of campus – between the quad, Connelly Center, Kennedy Hall, and Dougherty Hall. You’ll often catch sororities and fraternities and other campus organizations doing some sort of fundraiser here. It also serves as a popular meeting place and is seen in many photographs and videos. When the weather is warm, the Oreo serves as an awesome spot for tanning, listening to music, or chatting with friends.
Villanova, Pennsylvania is located in the Main Line, which is basically a collection of wealthy Philadelphia suburbs. The campus itself is in a gorgeous area surrounded by a lot of affluence, but it still has the feel of a college town, just a very upscale college town. The Main Line is the best of both worlds, because it gives you cheap college bars and options for a classier night out with some friends or a date.
One of the best things about Villanova is that even if you get bored with all the things there are to do on campus, there is always somewhere to go in the surrounding area. Villanova is located just 15 minutes from the second largest retail mall in America, the King of Prussia Mall. Shuttles run on Friday and Saturday to the mall, which is also easily accessible by train or taxi. The mall is one of the most frequented places in the surrounding area, especially on the weekends. Another popular daytime hangout is the sports complex in Philadelphia. During basketball season this is the most likely place you will find a Nova student on a Saturday morning. Students wake up early, tailgate in the parking lot, and then cheer on the Wildcats. The sports complex is also home to the Eagles and the Phillies and they host college nights to get the surrounding colleges out supporting the Philly sports teams.
In addition to these two daytime activities there are also a ton of things for students to do during the evening. The Main Line restaurants are absolutely fabulous, and many are BYOB. Sushiland, Fellini’s, and Hibachi are among the most popular BYOB restaurants, because the food is good and anyone can hang out there. Other popular choices include Yang Ming, Primavera Pizza Kitchen, and Vinny T’s. After dinner, you can just hop over to one of the many bars along the Main Line. Erin Pub, Maloney’s, The Grog, Kelly’s, and Flip and Bailey’s are all popular among Villanova students. On a Friday night the only place you will find Villanova student’s over 21 is happy hour at Brownies 23 East.
However, if the Main Line isn’t for you, you can catch one of the R5 Trains into Philadelphia and hang out in the city. The R5 runs every half hour from Villanova and takes you right into Center City. From there you can check out all that Center City has to offer or make your way down to Old City which is full of fun bars and cool places to grab a bite to eat.
Have you ever walked around in winter, freezing your you-know-what off, and seen other people wearing flip flops? One thing about Villanova is that flip flops are acceptable footwear all year long – hot, cold, snow, sun, thunderstorms, winds…you name it, flip flops will do. Seeing someone wearing flip flops year round sends shivers down my spine.
Outdoor activities are really popular around campus. Most times you’ll be sure to find people enjoying the outdoors, whether tanning in the summer, playing sports, building snowmen or having a snowball fight. Students make full use of the plentiful grassy areas around campus.
Last, but not least, there is the unofficial tradition that comes to life around mid-terms and finals: hunting for that perfect study place. Some people opt for the study rooms in Bartley Hall, but there are only so many of them available, and they all seem to be forever occupied. Thus, where else can one study? Well, of course there’s the library, but it’s also busy, especially during those dreaded weeks. So, many people go to Tolentine Hall. Everyone complains about Tolentine: the endless stairs, how old it is, the narrow hallways, and the creepy basement. It’s not the best place on campus, but it is quiet. Classrooms vary in size and location, but they make for excellent study areas. And, if none of these options satisfy your needs, you can try finding luck in other buildings on campus. Just remember: it may seem as though Villanovans don’t do work during the semester, but come mid-terms and finals weeks and everyone studies.
Jim Croce (1965), recording artist, singer/songwriter
Randy Foye (2006), NBA player on Minnesota Timberwolves
Howie Long (early 1980s), former Oakland Raider Defensive End and current Fox NFL analyst and actor
Gerald Marzorati , editor of The New York Times Magazine
Don McLean (attended), recording artist known most for “American Pie”
Jimmy Murrary (1960), co-founder of the Ronald McDonald House and former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles
Greg Rikaart, Emmy Award winning actor, currently on daytime soap opera, “The Young and the Restless”
Brian Westbrook (2001), Pro-Bowl running back for Philadelphia Eagles
The Villanova Wildcats are NCAA D-I and the school is a member of the Big East Conference (except for football and lacrosse who play in the Colonial Athletic Association). Although Philadelphia has several big-time basketball programs, Nova has recently been regarded as the most nationally prominent of the Big-5. The most popular sport at Villanova is men’s basketball. Our fans are a combination of current VU students, friends, alumni, and local citizens, and we are known as The ‘Nova Nation'. The Pavilion is our home court, and the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia is our home away from home. Our other sports teams also carry long histories of success, particularly men’s and women’s track & field teams, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, and football. No matter the sport, our athletes always play their hearts out and the fans don’t stop cheering!
The Wildcats are best known for their big upset over Georgetown in the NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1985.
Nova also has an array of intramural and club teams for students who want to be involved with athletics on a non-NCAA level.
Top 10 Things Freshmen Should Know About Nova Sports
Nova Nation living in the Past
Villanova’s Biggest Rival: Friends don’t let friends go to Georgetown
Hardball with Chris Matthews: College Tour: Villanova was just the host of the Hardball College Tour with special guest Senator John McCain.
Song “Well All Rite Cha” by Method Man: “Being ruck, like them Wildcats at Villanova, hot as…”
Song entitled “Outside Villanova” by Eric Hutchinson.
2008 Commencement speaker was Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services.
First-year students living on-campus reside on South Campus, an area with six dorm buildings and a dining hall. The remainder of freshmen reside in the Southwest Corner, near local businesses such as Campus Corner and Wingers. Of all freshman dormitories, Stanford Hall is the biggest. It is five stories high, houses approximately 750 students, and has a fitness center in the basement. Each floor has three wings and a lounge. Aside from Caughlin Hall and McGuire Hall, all freshman dorms are co-educational, and four of the freshman dorms are used as learning communities. South Campus also has a basketball court, beach volleyball court, and outdoor grills for students to use.
Most sophomores live on main campus. The Quad, which consists of twin buildings (Sullivan Hall and Sheehan Hall), is located between the Business School building Bartley Hall, Vasey Theater/Vasey Hall, and Connelly Center. Approximately 800 students live in the Quad. Alumni Hall is another popular dorm for sophomores. All students, who live in Alumni Hall, are members of the Sophomore Service Learning Community, which is designed to bring together service and learning in a community. Students live, take classes, and perform volunteer service together for the duration of the program and are assigned an extra ‘4th hour’ class session each week, during which they discuss their service and learning. Alumni Hall is also a co-educational facility. All other sophomores are housed in St. Rita’s Hall, Austin Hall, Corr Hall, Fedigan Hall, or St. Mary’s Hall (if necessary). The main dining hall is located in the middle of campus in Dougherty Hall.
West Campus houses all juniors and seniors with guaranteed housing. There are eight apartment buildings along with St. Mary’s Hall. The apartment buildings consist of apartments for 4 or 5 residents in either single or double rooms. They also have a kitchen or kitchenette, one full bath, and one half bath. Students have the option of eating in campus dining halls or cooking for themselves in the apartments. St. Mary’s Hall houses students in single rooms. It also has a dining hall and a convenience store, and some of its rooms are used as classrooms and rehearsal rooms for the band and campus choir groups. Also found in this building are the student mailboxes for all residents living on West Campus and an in-door basketball court and swimming pool. Farley Hall, one of the apartment buildings, has a fitness center located in the basement. There are basketball and beach volleyball courts on West Campus, a soccer complex, which is used for men’s and women’s varsity soccer home games, and grills that can be used by all residents at any time.