The Pursuit of Excellence is a Villanova first-year Learning Community devoted to studying the idea of excellence in great texts of the Western tradition, including the Iliad, the Bible, and Shakespeare. First-year students live in a residential community and share their class experience in the first year seminar course Augustine and Culture Seminar (called ACS). Through specially designed sections of the first year seminar (a year long interdisciplinary class required of all freshmen), students focus on excellence in both the ancient (fall semester) and modern (spring semester) worlds.
Students in the Pursuit of Excellence learning community will:
- live on Main Campus in a co-educational setting with their ACS classmates.
- Seek to understand excellence by reading some of the most probing and insightful works on the subject by poets, playwrights, philosophers, theologians, and statesmen. Pursuit of Excellence students will all be reading the same books at the same time in their different sections of the Augustine and Culture Seminar, so you'll be able to discuss readings and developments in class with your fellow residentsl
- Participate with other Pursuit of Excellence students and faculty members in co-curricular activities related to our theme, including guest lectures, debates, dinners, movie nights, games, and excursions to cultural and historical sites in and around Philadelphia and beyond. These events will serve to enhance your academic, residential, and social experience as a first-year student at Villanova.
What is Excellence?
All of us can recognize it when we see it, in nature, art, and above all, in human beings and their deeds and actions.
Human excellence, however, is at once the most impressive kind and the most difficult to understand. It may not be so hard to say what makes a horse or a watch excellent, but what is it that we admire in certain people - athletes, artists, scientists, generals, politicians, priests, citizens, entrepreneurs, etc. - when we admire them for their excellence? Is it the same thing in each instance, or must we distinguish between different kinds of human excellence? And if the latter is the case, then which kind of excellence is the most excellent?
The answers may elude us, but what cannot elude us is the crucial importance of taking the question itself seriously. Human beings are not creatures of pure instinct. We must constantly deliberate and choose from among different possibilities for how to live our lives, and naturally we want to make the best choices that we possibly can. So by the simple fact of existing, each of us is already embarked on the pursuit of excellence. Such a pursuit is woven into the very fabric of our lives as human beings.
Of course, whether or not we will take measures to live our lives to the fullest - whether or not we will seriously embark on the pursuit of excellence - is a matter left to us. The Pursuit of Excellence Learning Community is aimed at those students who are open to investigating and rising to the challenge of human excellence, not just in their studies but in their everyday lives.
Students live together on Main Campus so they have the chance to get to know their hall mates and classmates both in and out of the building and classroom. Because the students are studying the same course material in their respective sections of the first year seminar, students can share ideas whether or not their closest friends are in their same section of the class.
Students in the program are encouraged to make connections between their academic pursuits and the choices they make in their day-to-day lives. In addition, students are expected to participate actively in the life of the residence hall community, which includes programs offered by both faculty and the residence life staff.
You may also be assigned to be part of Pursuit of Excellence by virtue of your housing assignment on Main Campus.