Villanova University has been sponsored by the Augustinian Order since its founding in 1842. Today, the University is comprised of five colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences (Villanova College), Engineering, School of Business (formerly known as the College of Commerce and Finance), Nursing and the School of Law. The University traces its origins to old Saint Augustine’s Church in Philadelphia, which the Augustinians founded in 1796, and to its parish school, Saint Augustine’s Academy, established in 1811.
Since its founding, Villanova has been privileged to mediate Saint Augustine’s vision of education as a community activity of scholars searching for truth in open discussion, commitment to ethical values, and dedication to social justice and human rights. This commitment is realized in its humanities programs, which are an integral part of the curriculum of each of its professional schools, and in the three essential characteristics of our Augustinian tradition: the relationship between mind and heart, the role of community, and the unity of knowledge. This commitment and tradition also provides the key for interpreting Villanova’s mission statement which states that the University is a community that "seeks to reflect the spirit of Saint Augustine by the cultivation of knowledge, by respect for individual differences, and by adherence to the principle that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of University life."