Villanova University is named for Spanish Augustinian, Thomas García (1486-1555). Thomas, the son of a miller, was born in a village near Villanova de los Infantes, Spain. On fire with his love for Christ and with a passion for the Reign of God, he joined the Augustinian Order in Salamanca and was ordained to the priesthood. Thomas was a gifted intellectual, a dynamic speaker, a passionate reformer and champion of the poor, in whom he saw the face of Christ.
He is responsible for sending the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World. There they helped evangelize what is now modern Mexico and from there, Peru and the Philippines.
Thomas’ ability to blend heart, mind and spirit, his compassion and Christian conviction are the benchmarks toward which all those associated with Augustinians are called. Today, the Order of Saint Augustine claims approximately 2,600 friars working in 46 countries. Of this number, approximately 500 can be found in Spain, another 820 serve in Latin America. Of its 20 living cardinals, archbishops and bishops, 12 serve the Church in Latin America.
It is to this rich, and long-standing relationship with the Hispanic world that Villanova University seeks to contribute.