Villanova University Celebrates Fifth-Annual St. Thomas of Villanova “Day of Service”

More than 4,500 Villanova students, faculty, staff and alumni will volunteer at 180 service locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region on Saturday, Sept. 11

University begins new tradition with “Community Collection Day” Friday, Sept. 10,
gathering items needed by local community agencies

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The strength of the Nova Nation will be felt throughout the Greater Philadelphia region Saturday, Sept. 11, as Villanova University celebrates its fifth-annual St. Thomas of Villanova “Day of Service.”  Groups of Villanova students, faculty, staff and alumni totaling more than 4,500 will volunteer at 180 locations and serve in a number of capacities from planting trees and cleaning up neighborhoods to packaging food for hunger relief organizations.

This event is part of Villanova’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, honoring the University’s patron saint, the 16th-century Augustine bishop of Valencia, Spain – known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized. The “Day of Service” has grown from 1,500 volunteers in 2006, its first year, to 4,000 volunteers last year.

Among the many service sites in Philadelphia are Germantown High School and Christian Street YMCA. In Delaware County, Villanova students will visit 20 sites, including Don Guanella School and Tyler Arboretum. Additionally, students will give their time at more than a dozen sites in Radnor and on the Main Line, and Villanova alumni across the country are donating time in their local areas as part of the Day of Service.

“Villanova has a campus-wide commitment to service, and the Day of Service is an extension of that,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Villanova University President. “During this one day, our students, faculty, staff and alumni collectively dedicate nearly 20,000 hours of their time to improve communities both here and across the country.”

The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration kicks off Thursday, Sept. 9, with an academic lecture featuring syndicated Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr., who will discuss how Catholics can contribute to public life and their communities, drawing from his recent book, Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right. The lecture will take place at 7 p.m., in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center. Dionne is a regular political analyst for NPR, and a frequent guest on such television shows as “The Chris Matthews Show” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Villanova will begin a new tradition Friday, Sept. 10 with a “Community Collection Day,” during which the University will gather items that are needed by local community agencies. The collection will take place throughout the day in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center.

Each year, Villanovans provide more than 100,000 hours of service to communities locally, regionally and globally. Villanova is host to the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event in the world, and is a member of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Additionally, the University has received The Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from The Washington Center and was selected as one of the top five Habitat for Humanity campus chapters.

For more information regarding the 2010 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, visit: www.villanova.edu/stvc

 MEDIA: Any media interested in covering the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration “Day of Service” should contact the Department of Media Relations for sites and service information: (610) 519-5152

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others. A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered through the University’s four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.