Veteran columnists sign off together

Justin Knabb

For better or worse, we’ve shot off our mouths as columnists for four years. We’ve strived to be a sort of voice on this campus-often questioning key aspects of Villanova student life. The adventures of hitting up Brownies after turning legal. The Mine Ener tragedy. The impact of a new pope.

However, one elusive question we haven’t directly considered is this: what really is the essence of Villanova? What separates this place from the rest of the college pack? For us-two very different people who forged a bond on this page nine-we’ve both strived to capture what we and Villanovans hold in common. We’ve shared this space in print, but for the first time, as well as the last, we wanted to share this byline together.

Kerry, a liberal English major from the Midwest, will be heading to Ireland come fall. Justin, a conservative Accounting major from the local area, be will trekking to San Diego after graduation. Through our final Villanovan column, we share excerpts and reflections from a special conversation this week…

Kerry: Justin, In these last few weeks I’ve realized what I have left is bittersweet. The light is shining at the end of that four-year tunnel, but parts of me are stubborn-they don’t want to leave that place, that has become a safe haven. No, scratch that-a true home.

Justin: Fridays at the Oreo, brisk walks from Tolentine to Bartley… how easy it was to forget that Route 30 actually stretches well beyond here. Villanova is like a Cheers sitcom brought to life… everyone knows each other’s names here! Too bad that after this year we’ll need employee badges. Too bad we won’t enjoy each other’s company and the freedoms of throwing footballs on those sunny Friday afternoons either. Think our bosses will let us take off like that in the future?

Kerry: Ha. I wish. With my acute case of senioritis, I’d be fired in no time. Well, back to the point. What is it about Villanova? See, all the things its’ famous for-Playboy’s#2 ranking for hottest women, J.Crew, etc.-scared me to death as a freshman. I came here a shy, shallow teenager from Chicago mainly scared about gaining the freshman 15 and finding a working dryer in Stanford. But now, I see the place is not all about the categorization. You live somewhere long enough, and you’re forced to drop the pretenses….

Justin: No doubt… for this non-Catholic guy, all I could do was hope to be accepted here!

Kerry: You’re not Catholic? I had no idea…You see, I’m not either, well, “officially”-it’s a long story. But Villanova never cared. They let you jump in if your heart was in the right place-doctrine or dogma besides the point.

Justin: I couldn’t agree more! Fortunately even the most hard-nosed Catholics didn’t shun me when I ate ham sandwiches on Lenten Fridays. At Villanova I could be my own person with my own values, yet still share my ideas, still challenge the status quo. From discussing pressing issues in Sudan to the fine wine we enjoyed while studying abroad in Italy and elsewhere, we were all free to share and respect diverse ideologies-that is where we did have much in common. That is what I’ll miss most about this place.

Kerry: There’s also a spirituality about this place-one that catches unlikely combinations of people sharing unforgettable moments with one another. One of my absolute favorites-after a memorable win over Boston College-seeing a couple overjoyed Augustinians rushing the basketball court alongside their students.

For both of us, the essence of this place certainly rests in this extraordinary community, in our extraordinary ideas and, yes, our extraordinary spirituality. Villanovans each hold their own personal experiences here, but within the essence of this campus, we each share scores of special commonalities.

Without Villanova, without The Villanovan, own paths wouldn’t have crossed. Even reading one another’s columns over the years, speaking about different sides of Villanova life, we haven’t always agreed. But spending this last Friday on page nine, we share our few final thoughts. For both of us, it’s going to be tough to leave.

Villanova has given us our voices. But it’s also given us this unlikely friendship.

And, as much as we’d love to have the last word, our alma mater puts it best.

“When the last big game is over

And the last roll call is heard

When the oldest pedagogue has had the final word,

“We shall come to Alma Mater in our dreams again…

With a prayer for Villanova and a sweet amen.”