EDITORIAL: National ‘Nova

Editorial Board

When you tell your neighbors or your distant relatives over Thanksgiving break that you go to Villanova, do they reply with a quizzical look, “Where’s that?” If so, there are a host of plans in the works that wish to remedy this within the next 10 years. The Campus Master Plan, the Strategic Plan and the Academic Strategic Plan (among others) intend to completely revamp many physical and internal aspects of the University. These plans, though they are making progress, have taken years to do so. The data, facts and figures are just now starting to meld together so that the faculty and administrators have a general (and more optimistic) idea of what will result from of all of this money and effort. “We know what the framework of the University will look like,” said Steve Merritt, dean of Enrollment Management. These plans, once they are completed, will drastically change how the community relates to us and how the country perceives us.

When Villanova says that it is “going national,” we know that we won’t be a major research university, like a Penn State or a UCLA, nor do we want to be. Our aim is to become nationally recognized within the pool of acclaimed Catholic colleges while still adhering to our Augustinian traditions. Many schools that have undertaken this mission have lost their religious identity in the process. All of the Ivies formally were religious schools but have long since become secular.

Sometimes it seems as if our goal with all of these various plans and projects is to be truly on par with the national Catholic colleges i.e. Boston College, Georgetown and Notre Dame. The fact is, according to Villanova administrators, they are technically our “aspirational institutions” rather than our “peer institutions,” contrary to what students may think. Outside of the New Jersey-Long Island corridor, Villanova is not nationally known the way that it should be, especially for its price tag.

Every plan in place is propelling us toward this goal of becoming a national Catholic institution, competitive with Notre Dame and just as well-known as Georgetown, but without the Jesuit chip on our proverbial shoulder. We are carving a niche for ourselves as the only Augustinian university to rise to such national prominence. This identity and reputation will bring something truly new and exciting to the academic world.