VILLANOVA, Pa. – Service is central to Villanova University’s mission and values, with year-round community service activities a hallmark of the Villanova experience. On Saturday, Sept. 12, the University will celebrate its 10th annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service – an initiative started by Villanova’s President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, upon his inauguration as the University’s 32nd President in 2006. This year more than 5,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families will participate in the event, marking a record-breaking number of volunteers for this, the 10th annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. Together, the Villanova community will perform service in partnership with local organizations and neighborhood agencies, visiting more than 150 service sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, and beyond.
The Day of Service is part of the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, honoring its patron saint – the 16th century Augustinian bishop of Valencia, Spain – known for his great charity to the poor and marginalized. One of the largest single-day service events in the region, this annual event builds upon the service performed throughout the year by the Villanova community and exists as a unique way to put its Augustinian ideals into action.
“The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration provides our community with a unique opportunity at the beginning of the academic year to celebrate our Augustinian mission and heritage,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “This year marks the 10th anniversary of this multi-day event and the widespread participation from all corners of the University—students, faculty, staff and alums—is a testament to the important role that service plays in the Villanova experience. I am delighted that the Day of Service has become such a powerful demonstration of our community’s commitment to service.”
Villanovans provide more than 249,000 hours of service annually in communities locally, regionally and globally. In addition to participating in weekly outreach opportunities at Philadelphia-area social service and charitable organizations, Villanovans participate in a wide variety of long-term mentoring and service-break experiences as well as ongoing Habitat for Humanity projects.
“What makes the celebration so special is that it embodies the Catholic and Augustinian principles that make this University unlike any other,” said Thomas Hillebrecht, student chair of the Day of Service. “The time and energy that the Villanova community gives on the Day of Service makes a huge difference in the areas surrounding Villanova.”
The 2015 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration will begin on Thursday, Sept.10 with the annual St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture. Held at 7:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on the University’s Main Campus, the lecture will feature renowned author Reyna Grande, whose book, The Distance Between Us: A Memoir, is the 2015-16 selection of the University’s One Book Villanova community reading program. The book chronicles Grande’s compelling experience, from a childhood of deprivation and separation from her parents after they made the dangerous crossing across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side), to the difficulties she faced in acclimating to American society as an undocumented immigrant. The event is free and open to the public.
The St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration continues Friday, Sept. 11 with a Community Collection Day to benefit local community agencies that are partners for the Day of Service. The donation of items such as canned and dry goods, school and arts and crafts supplies, toiletries, and baby supplies will be delivered on Saturday as part of the Day of Service.
Day of Service volunteers will depart from The Pavilion on the University’s Main Campus at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, to work in local neighborhoods, schools, churches, community centers and other service organizations across the Greater Philadelphia Region. Among the more than 150 service sites are 22 Main Line locations, including sites in Radnor Township. In addition, alumni across the country will donate time volunteering in their local areas as part of the Day of Service.
For more information regarding the 2015 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, visit: www.villanova.edu/stvc
MEDIA: For additional information on the 2015 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration, including Day of Service sites and details, please contact the Department of Media Relations at (610) 519-5152.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.