VILLANOVA, PA – Marylu Hill, PhD, director of the Augustine and Culture Seminar and the graduate program in Liberal Studies in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has received a three-year, $210,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to support her project, “Civitas through Caritas: Cultivating Love, Cultivating Citizens.”
The Augustine and Culture Seminar Program houses Villanova’s core liberal arts foundation course required of all first-year students. “Civitas through Caritas” will be a three-week residential summer program with follow-up monthly sessions throughout the year that provides an opportunity for 16 rising high school seniors from Philadelphia area schools to engage in civic conversation through a foundation in the liberal arts. The program will invite students to explore how the Augustinian values of love and community can impact what it means to be an engaged citizen.
“Civitas through Caritas” will recruit students who are from under-served and under-represented groups, with significant financial need and other barriers to higher education. The program is designed to encourage the high school students to pursue the liberal arts by supporting them through the college application process as they develop their writing and reading skills, and in one-on-one mentoring in drafting their college applications.
Two Villanova undergraduates and two Villanova professors will work with Dr. Hill as co-facilitators during the summer three-week residential program, and undergraduates will be further integrated into the program during the academic year as tutors and mentors to the high school students.
“This grant is an opportunity for Villanova University to put the Augustinian values of veritas [truth], unitas [community], and caritas [love] into meaningful action beyond the gates of the University,” Dr. Hill said. “This initiative embodies in a modern context the story of Villanova University itself, founded in 1842 to educate the sons of Irish immigrants in a time of virulent anti-immigrant fervor, as demonstrated in the destruction of Olde Saint Augustine’s Church in Philadelphia (which led to the removal of the college to the countryside outside of the city). This history is a powerful reminder of the violence which accompanies the breakdown of civic discourse, and the ongoing challenge of seeking the common good in dialogue across differences.”
The mission of the Teagle Foundation is to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which it sees as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship and a fulfilling life. Their aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education.
Dr. Hill received her doctorate in English literature from the University of Delaware. She has taught in Villanova’s ACS program since 1996.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.