Skip to main content

History of the Apartments

The apartment buildings were named and dedicated in honor of the following individuals:

Reverend John A. Klekotka, O.S.A.

Born February 4, 1915 to Peter and Josephine (Jekot) Klekotka, Polish immigrants, Fr. Klekotka was President of Villanova College from 1959 to 1965.  Fr. Klekotka began his career at Villanova College as an undergraduate in 1931.  He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1935.  Fr. Klekotka entered the Augustinian Academy in March of 1936 and was Ordained to the Priesthood at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. on June 10, 1941.  Before becoming President of Villanova College, Fr. Klekotka was a member of the faculty (electronics, physics and mathematics), the Moderator of the Villanovan, Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Executive Coordinator of the Nursing Division, Director of Alumni Relations, Chaplain, a member of the Athletic Advisory Board and Director of Admissions.

William and Julia Moulden

The Mouldens were an African-American couple who lived on the Belle-Air estate in a log house located on the current site of the Villanova Law School.  (Father Moriarty called the rise on which their modest house stood, "Mount Misery," because of the forlorn appearance of the grounds.) William Moulden (1818-1893) was the son of a slave couple who had belonged to John Rudolph's father in Maryland and had come to Belle-Air as an indentured servant in 1833 at the age of 15.  His wife Julia (1820-1888) had been reared by a Quaker lady in the neighborhood, but converted to her husband's Catholic faith at the time of their marriage.  (Contosta, D.R., Villanova University, 1842-1992, 1992, pg. 17.)

According to Radnor Township records, the Moulden's were the first known African-American Catholics in the area.  They were historical witnesses to the event in which Father O'Dwyer placed the institution under the patronage of St. Thomas of Villanova.  William and Julia contributed $200 to the building of the first chapel and willed their estate, valued at $7,000 to Villanova College.

Jane Rudolph

Jane Rudolph was the wife of John Rudolph, a successful Philadelphia merchant, a devout Catholic and owner of the Belle-Air estate until his death in 1838.  Mrs. Rudolph sold Belle-Air to Rev. Thomas Kyle, O.S.A. and Rev. Patrick E. Moriarty, O.S.A. on October 13, 1841.  Mrs. Rudolph continued to reside on the property until the Augustinians took up residence on April 17, 1843.

Throughout the remainder of her life, Mrs. Rudolph continued to be a good friend to the Augustinian community and Villanova College.  One example of her friendship was her assistance to the Augustinians during the anti-Catholic riots.  In May of 1844, anti-Catholic rioters set fire to St. Augustine's Church in Philadelphia.  "The anti-Catholics then vowed to torch Villanova.  Although these threats were never carried out, the faculty and students were "in almost continual alarm and panic."  As a precaution the community barricaded the doors and windows of the monastery at night and the lay brothers walked sentry on the grounds.  The younger students were sent every evening after supper down the Lancaster Pike to a large stone house (in the present section of Rosemont), where Mrs. Rudolph had moved after leaving Belle Air."  (Contosta, D.R., Villanova University, 1842-1992, 1992, pgs. 14 & 32.)

Reverend Robert J. Welsh, O.S.A.

Born July 15, 1921 to Thomas and Elizabeth (Walpole) Welsh, Fr. Welsh was President of Villanova University from 1967 to 1971.  Fr. Welsh entered the Augustinian Novitiate in New Hamburg, NY in 1939.  He took his solemn vows in 1943, the same year he received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Villanova College.  Fr. Welsh was Ordained to the Priesthood in 1947.  Fr. Welsh was an active member of the Augustinian and Villanova communities throughout his life.  Some of the highlights of his career included: studying at the Gregorian University in Rome and teaching theology at Augustinian College, serving as Secretary of the Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, being appointed Assistant Dean and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova College/University, serving as Prior of Augustinian College and President of Washington Theological Coalition, and serving on the boards of trustees of Villanova University, Merrimack College and Malvern Preparatory School.

Marguerite M. Farley, Ed.D.

Marguerite M. Farley was chairperson and assistant professor of Communication at Villanova University from 1986-1996. Dr. Farley held an Ed.D. in educational media, a master's degree in educational administration from Temple University and a bachelor's degree in English from Chestnut Hill College. An active member of the Villanova community, Dr. Farley was a member of the board of trustees from 1978 to 1985; member of the Executive Committee and chair of the Development and Public Relations Committee. Prior to coming to Villanova, Dr. Farley, a certified secondary school principal and secondary social studies teacher, worked for the School District of Philadelphia from 1952-1982 in a number of different capacities. Most significantly she served as Executive Director of Communications Media from 1978-1982 and Director of Radio-Television Education. Additionally, Dr. Farley was a former board member of the Philadelphia Branch of the American Association of University Women, former president of American Women in Radio and Television, a former member of the board of Citizens Action for Better Television and a former member of the Mayor's Cable Advisory commission. Dr. Marguerite Farley will be best remembered as a beloved teacher of Communication, a compassionate administrator and wise leader.

Reverend Lawrence Gallen, O.S.A.

Fr. Gallen was born on August 11, 1929 in Eastport, Maine. During his tenure at Villanova University he served in many capacities, including serving as Vice President of Academic Affairs, 1981-1994; Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences for two years; Director of the Summer School Sessions, 1972-1976; Associate Professor and recipient of the Lindback Award for excellence in teaching, 1972; and Assistant Professor, 1966-1972. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Biscayne College (Currently St. Thomas University, Miami) and of Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. An Augustian, Fr. Gallen entered the Augustinian Order in 1957 and was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1963. Following several years of study, he obtained a doctorate in Biology from the Catholic University of America in 1966. Father was a scholar in Biology on the question of interferon.

As an administrator, Fr. Gallen improved and strengthened the academic requirements at Villanova University. He was best known for his teaching qualities. He had the ability to make the most complex issue seem simple.

Reverend Owen Raymond Jackson, O.S.A.

Born December 26,1933 to Owen Jackson and Alice McDonnell, Fr. Jackson was the co-founder of the Center for Peace & at Villanova University, while also serving in the Office for Campus Ministry. He was well known and respected for his work, for he touched the lives of many students, faculty and administrators. A committed and passionate leader, he served as a voice for contemporary social issues on the local, national and international levels.

In addition to his ministry at Villanova University, Fr. Jackson's journey of service included being a high school teacher and college professor; pastor of St. Rita's parish, Philadelphia, 1979-1981; preaching on the Augustinian Mission Band; Campus Minister at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts.

Following an enlistment in the United States Marine Corps., Fr. Jackson entered the Augustinian Order in 1956. He later earned a Bachelor's degree from Villanova University, 1961, and pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., graduating in 1965. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman on January 30, 1965, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Bronx, NY.

Saint Clare of the Cross of Montefalco

Saint Clare of the Cross of Montefalco was born in 1268 in Montefalco, Italy. She was the first Abbess to direct the Montefalco Monastery and its nuns, which was governed by the Rule of Saint Augustine.

St. Clare loved the poor, the ill and those who were persecuted. To all those who knocked at the monastery portal, she gave whatever she could. Her heart was so forgiving that she even helped those who had spoken evil of her and who wished evil upon her.

In a talk with Christ when she was twenty six years old, she asks: "Where are you going, Lord?" Christ answered, "I've been searching the whole world over for a strong place to plant my cross in. But I have found none." Later he tells her, "Clare, I have finally found a place for my cross: I shall place it in your heart." Following her death, her heart was examined by learned persons and lay folks. Just as she had said, the marks of the passion were upon it: the cross and the instruments of Christ's passion.