About Ignite Change. Go Nova.: Clarifying the Villanova Story

How do you tell the Villanova Story?

When describing Villanova, it's easy to talk about community, service or the University's Augustinian heritage. All of these elements are true and important, but what do the words really mean?

"Every one of us knows there is a special feeling at Villanova; however, it can be difficult to explain that feeling to people who aren't part of our community," says President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. "To expand awareness and understanding of Villanova University, it became evident that we needed a shared language to effectively and consistently talk about exactly who we are."

Students talking on campus

Engaging the Villanova community

In fall 2009, Villanova University partnered with Neiman Group, a leading marketing firm, to begin a highly collaborative, research-based process to clarify the Villanova Story. For more than 18 months, thousands of Villanovans—alumni, faculty, staff and current students—as well as prospective students and their parents participated in online surveys, workshops and discussions. The goal of this work was to develop messaging about Villanova that was true, compelling and different from what other colleges and universities are saying.

So what did we learn?

Through our discussions with the Villanova community, we learned that Villanovans are people who want to—and who work to—ignite change. They want to make a difference. On this site you can see many of the ways in which Villanovans are creating a positive impact wherever life takes them. Proving that Villanovans ignite change is the easy part. Even more important, though, is communicating—especially to future Villanovans—what it is about Villanova that creates this experience, this atmosphere, this community that calls people to ignite change.

So what is at the heart of Villanova University? It is our Augustinian tradition. And we need to be able to describe what it means to be an Augustinian Catholic university beyond the words Veritas, Unitas, Caritas.

Let good friends visit us. Let them be persons who know how to give useful advice and how to win us to express our own feelings in conversation.

-St. Augustine

Students in the classroom

The Villanova experience

What we learned from the thousands of conversations about the Villanova experience distilled to this: The Villanova University experience melds intellect and spirituality. Villanova's Augustinian Catholic community urges self-exploration while rejecting self-centeredness. The Villanova journey yields ambition with a sense of mission; intellect inspired by faith. The result: Villanova attracts and forges world changers—people who create positive change everywhere life takes them. We call these people "changemakers."

Villanova's Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community where students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. Villanova prepares students to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

Telling the Villanova Story

This language and the stories of people who, through their Villanova experiences, have been moved to ignite change, gives the Villanova community a powerful way to talk about Villanova University to others across the nation and around the globe. To be truly successful in expanding awareness and understanding of Villanova, we don't just need a marketing plan; we need the entire Villanova community to be inspired to tell the Villanova Story to new audiences and open new doors.

Ignite Change. Go Nova.