By Andrew McKeough, Conestoga Class of 2015
Villanova is such an amazing school; and it’s not just because of our amazing basketball team. Villanova has six full time schools with an undergraduate enrollment of 6,554 and an overall enrollment of 10,735 students. With over 50 different majors to choose from, Villanova is nationally ranked at number one for northern regional universities. Villanova is not just about the sports or the praise, but our character.
Villanova is huge on service and supporting our community. Our motto at ‘Nova is three very simple words. They are Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas. These words are Latin for Truth, Unity and Charity. Three words that also are written on a scroll directly under the main centerpiece on the school’s seal: the burning heart. If you apply to our school your essay question might be like the one I had: “What sets your heat on fire?” Well, what sets our hearts on fire at Villanova is service. At Villanova we have two major service events on and off campus every year. The first is Saint Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. This year we celebrated its 10th year of service by sending Wildcats out into the Greater Philadelphia area to fix up what needs fixing. Either by helping to give a rundown school a face-lift, or by clearing overgrown shrubs, the entire campus works as one to bring our community together. The second major event is the annual Special Olympics Fall Festival. Held each year on main campus, it is the largest and most successful student-run Special Olympics in the world! It brings together some four-thousand people from around Pennsylvania to support an amazing cause.
Okay so on to something else you probably want to hear about: student life! Our campus is split into three campuses. Plus we’re about to undergo a huge expansion on Lancaster Avenue that will include a brand new theatre complex, shops, senior residence dorms, and so much more! Unfortunately, it’s not going to be completed until 2020, so when I graduate in 2019 I will just have missed it. We have twenty-four Greek organizations affiliated with the university, but are not located on campus.
All of this goes to ask a question that rises in the unfortunate times where schools of higher education become targets. This year, unfortunately, we had a threat. But the good news is that this campus is extremely safe. We have a public safety force that keeps a watchful eye over the school and treats its student body like their own children. If you have a medical issue, no problem, we have a full-time medical center that acts more like a hospital. Not to mention a full-time, student-run EMS service.
Of course athletics are a huge deal at Villanova. The Wildcats has just about a team for every single sport that you can think of, plus a countless number of club-sport teams. So don’t worry, no matter what your sport is, or your skill level is, ‘Nova has you covered! So how about those who are into the arts? We also have your back! We are also home to a large number of performing arts groups. I am involved with the theatre program here as the stage manager for the shows.
This year, the world’s eyes were turned to Philadelphia for the 2015 World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit. Villanova played a big part in this year’s events. Our Wildcat community sent a number of volunteers and keynote speakers to the festivities. Villanova was also featured on the TODAY show when Maria Shriver came and interviewed our amazing president, Father Peter, plus a few of us Villanovans, including yours truly, about why Pope Francis is the “Rock Star Pontiff”!
When you think about it, Villanova is basically a much larger and more spread out version of Conestoga. No joke, classes average around sixteen to twenty-five students, and we offer many of the same things that ‘Stoga does. From the hundreds of clubs and activities to get involved in to the sports and academics. I believe that the class of 2015 sent nine graduates to Villanova’s class of 2019. So you can say that from our award winning days of New Student Orientation to the amazing professors – who encourage you to take steps to that pot of gold that sits at the end of the rainbow and who are here for you not just as a professor, but as a mentor and a parent – Villanova is not just a school, but a home for all of us Wildcats! Either if you are looking to study at ‘Nova or just taking a tour, I hope to see you all on campus sometime really soon…Ignite change, GO ‘NOVA!