Truth, unity and love … the tradition of Villanovans

Melissa Leach

Veritas, unitas, caritas – truth, unity and love: This is the seal of our University. Inscribed in the emblem, these three words represent the values of Villanova. As faculty, staff, alumni and students, we strive to live by these words. We come together as a University and work from within to spread the values that have been developed during our time here. In our classrooms, athletics, activities and through our volunteerism, Villanova makes these words come alive. The unity can be seen, the truth can be heard and the love can be felt.

These core values were adopted from our Augustinian tradition, on which the University lays its foundation.

“The Augustinian synthesis between mind and heart and the reciprocity between love and knowledge are, perhaps, the most distinctive and challenging features of the Augustinians and of the educational institutions they sponsor.” (taken from the University website

The University’s pursuit of truth, veritas, lies in its curriculum. In an intellectual setting of a university, differences will always arise. Villanova recognizes this diversity as it encourages students to share their differences and challenge ideas and philosophies. The core requirement classes show that the University promotes students’ diversity. For example, take a student who comes from a strictly Italian culture who never studied any culture except the one in which he lives. His requirement to take an African Studies course may seem like a burden, but, in actuality, it is a window of opportunity to learn new traditions and new ways of living and celebrating life. The variety of classes allows one to open his/her mind and by by doing this he/she can discover new things, new truths about the world in which he/she lives. “As a Catholic Augustinian university we aspire not to uniformity in thinking but for the creation of new knowledge based on the wisdom of the past … ” according to the heritage site.

One cannot have a community without a strong sense of unity, unitas. The University, while separated by age, race, culture and creed, has found ways to create unity in such a diverse forum. Organizations such as Campus Ministry help to keep the traditions and ministry of Christ alive. In doing this, they have built a community of faith that opens doors to grow spiritually in one’s faith.

Villanova also fosters unity in support and development of various organizations. Greek life, cultural societies and political groups all give students a chance to be a part of a group that suits their interests and personality.

In turn, these organizations go forth and share their talents and knowledge with others in and out of the University confines. Additionally, Villanova has become one of the largest chapters for Habitat for Humanity. Going out into the community, the nation and the world, Villanovans seek to create unity by giving of their time and expertise as they create new relationships and meet new people.

In times of crisis, the University unites to support and comfort. The events of Sept. 11 have given new meaning to the unity that is present here on this campus. Memorial services, candle- light vigils, speakers and educational services have allowed the University to come together to grieve for a tragedy that has changed the world in which we live.

The Gospel teaches us that God gave us three things: faith, hope and love, but that the greatest of these is love, caritas. The core of this University is centered around love and how that love can affect the lives of others. “We value the ability of our students to be reflective about personal dignity and competent in integrating the ethical dimensions of life in all sectors of their life and study,” according to the heritage website.

In the classroom, students are taught about other cultures, religions and races. From this knowledge comes respect and out of respect one can learn to love.

Out of the classroom Villanovans are known for their willingness to help. Encouraged by faculty and staff, students are given the opportunity to share the blessing they’ve been given. Things, such as serving at a soup kitchen, tutoring, mentoring or building houses, (to name few) are ways Villanovans offer their time. All of these acts are rooted in love.

As students, faculty and staff, we learn to exemplify the values of truth, unity and love and share them with the world.

We find truth in our classroom lessons and textbooks, unity in specialized organizations and diversified curriculum and love in our actions and words.

Our mission statement says: “This community seeks to reflect the spirit of St. Augustine by the cultivation of knowledge, by respect for individual differences and by adherence to the principle that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of University life.”

It is because of these foundations set by St. Augustine that this community of alumni, students, faculty and staff have created a society united in truth and bound by love.