New Life at the Heart of Campus

dugan polk family reading room

Tucked away in a wing of Falvey Memorial Library, a dusty reading room has reclaimed its brilliance with support from Villanova parents.

The Dugan Polk Family Reading Room in Old Falvey underwent significant renovations that transformed the space into a 24-hour study area. Opened in October 2016, the space has quickly become a signature part of campus.

The room has a two-story, high-arched ceiling and enormous windows along two walls that flood the area with natural light. A new entry creates a long-awaited connection between the main library and Old Falvey, and improves accessibility for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Overlooking the room is the large, newly restored Pietro da Cortona painting, “The Triumph of David,” which was the subject of a two-year-long conservation project that revived its rich colors.

The renovations were made possible by more than $1.5 million in gifts from Villanova parents, including a lead gift by Trisha and Michael Polk.

“This project would not have happened if not for the generous support of donors,” said Millicent Gaskell, University Librarian.

The Dugan Polk Family Reading Room is one of the latest in a series of projects preparing the library to meet the needs of the modern scholar. The second floor was transformed into a vibrant Learning Commons, featuring the Writing Center, Mathematics Learning Resource Center and multipurpose rooms.

On the ground floor, the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute’s Idea Accelerator offers a stimulating environment for classes, brainstorming sessions and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Several of these projects have been supported through contributions from Villanova parents. In total, parents committed more than $60 million to the Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change.