Those who pass by the St. Augustine Center on their way to class might have noticed the recent artistic addition which now graces the front of the building; a statue of a female student has been added to the scene which formerly depicted St. Augustine instructing a lone male student. The original two statues were completed and placed in front of the building in 1998 as a contribution from alumnus James P. Magee ’75. The most recent statue was added to the pair before Thanksgiving break.
These statues were created to emphasize the Augustinian influence on the educational program at Villanova, as illustrated by the plaque which is found behind the statues: It is a passage from Augustine’s Instrution of Beginners: “So great is the influence of a sympathetic mind that our students are affected by us as we teach and we by them as they learn. Thus we come to dwell in each other; they speak within us what they hear, while we learn in them what we teach.”
These statues, which are attired in contemporary clothing, also illustrate the universal and eternal nature of the Augustinian doctrine.
The statue of the female student has been appreciated by members of the Villanova community. Mariellen Whalen, a former Villanova trustee, said to Rev. Kail Ellis,dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, “She adds depth to the arrangement, she draws the eye to the figures from the road and paths, her hair and coat and book pack and slacks are handsome, her face is inquisitive and intelligent and, as in life, she enhances the visual imagery of the two men.
I like her a lot and I like what she does for the whole image of Augustine with the students.” Ellis echoed these sentiments saying, “This most recent statue is both an artistic enhancement and an example of how St. Augustine can speak to current students, she added.
“I believe that the statues as a group artistically reflect the intentions of the educational programs, like Core Humanities, at Villanova.”