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Commemorating 150 years of the study of genetics: “Gregor Mendel, OSA, and the Origin of Genetics”


“Gregor Mendel, OSA, and the Origin of Genetics,” an exhibit on Falvey’s first floor, introduces Mendel; commemorates the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s paper, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization” (Versuche űber Pflanzenhybriden); looks at Mendel on campus; and offers a small display related to the Mendel Medal.

The name Mendel is familiar to the Villanova community as the name of a campus building, the Mendel Science Center, usually called Mendel Hall. But how many are aware of the man for whom the building is named? Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) is the acknowledged father of genetics based upon a paper he presented in 1865 and published the following year.

RS9958_DSC_0290-scrHe was born in the German-speaking Austrian Empire (now the Czech Republic) to a farming family. At age twenty one he joined the Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brűnn to further his education. The abbot, who was interested in heredity of plants and animals, encouraged Mendel to experiment with plant genetics in the abbey’s five-acre garden. As noted he presented his research, but it was virtually ignored until 1900.

Falvey’s exhibit begins in the vertical case with an introduction to the exhibit and Mendel’s experimentation with plant hybridization using peas. A large eye-catching banner (from University Archives) with a life-like portrait of Gregor Mendel, OSA, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Mendel Medal. Also in this case are a few books about Mendel and a small framed portrait.

Five more themed cases continue the exhibit, beginning with “Early Life” and ending with “The Mendel Medal.” Illustrating Mendel’s “Early Life” are a children’s book from Special Collections, Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardol; Life of Mendel by Hugo Iltis (Augustinian Historical Institute); views of Brno (location of the Abbey of St. Thomas where Mendel lived and worked); views of the Mendel Museum and the foundations of his greenhouse at the Abbey; and select pages from a manuscript photograph album, The Mendel Tradition in Brno, Czechoslovakia by Herbert Christian Hanson.

The next case, “Versuche űber Pflanzenhybriden (Experiments on Plant Hybridization),” shows a facsimile reprint of Mendel’s paper as it appeared in print in 1866, a program from the presentation of a copy of “Verhandlungen des natur forschenden bereines in Brűnn” by the Augustinians of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova to the University and other related publications. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mendel’s paper, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization,” the University will hold a symposium on Monday, Dec. 7.

“After the Pea Paper” case displays assorted publications from the Augustinian Historical Institute and Special Collections, including Mendel’s Dwarf (1998), fiction by Simon Mawer. A placard tells the viewer that Mendel’s paper was almost unknown until the early 1900s.

“Mendel at Villanova” displays copies of the Villanovan with articles about the dedication of the first Mendel Hall in 1929 and the current Mendel Science Center in 1961. This display features photographs of the 1910 statue of Mendel in Brno and of the one on campus beside the Mendel Science Center.


“The Mendel Medal: Honoring Pioneers in the Sciences” case presents photographs of some of the recipients, programs from the award ceremonies, a 1929 Villanovan article about the presentation of the first Mendel Medal to John A. Kolmer, MD, and an obverse image of the medal as designed and sculpted by John R. Sinnock.

The Mendel Medal, named in honor of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), OSA, “the father of modern genetics,” is now awarded annually to an outstanding scientist. The award was established in 1928 and given each year until 1943. From 1946 until 1968, the Mendel Medal was awarded only eight times and from 1968 until 1992 there were no awards. In 1992 the Mendel Medal award was reestablished and has been given each year to an outstanding scientist.

This year’s Mendel Medal recipient is the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, Brian Kobilka, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Kobilka will give the 2015 Mendel Medal Lecture at 2:00 p.m., October 2, in the Villanova Room, Connelly Center.

This very educational exhibit about Gregor Mendel, OSA, his important scientific discovery and his relationship with Villanova is well worth visiting several times; there is far more here than can be readily absorbed in just one visit. This exhibit is a collaborative effort, drawing from materials owned by University Archives, Falvey’s Special Collections and the Augustinian Historical Institute. It was planned and materials were curated by Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator, Michael Foight and Digital & Special Collections Curatorial Assistant Laura Bang. Graphics were designed by Joanne Quinn, Falvey’s graphic designer. The exhibit will be open throughout this semester.


Alice Bampton is a visual specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Publications Team.


Foto Friday: How Villanova Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo by the PopKick App from Pixabi

National Hispanic Cultural Heritage Month, celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15, recognizes the vital contributions, history and culture of Hispanic and Latino American people. Since the University’s patron saint, Thomas of Villanova, is of Spanish descent, we feel a special connection with this culture and recognize the importance of highlighting this month on campus.

Since 2005, Falvey Memorial Library has been proud to co-sponsor various programs and displays in collaboration with other academic divisions and student organizations from across campus to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month. Previous events have included book talks, receptions and cultural displays in the Library. Events have ranged from talks, such as those about writer Juan Ramón Jiménez and painter El Greco, to a reception in honor of Peruvian author José María Arguedas.

This year, Falvey Memorial Library has teamed up with the Office for Mission and Ministry’s Hispanic Initiatives Project to create a poster display in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Twenty vibrant posters featuring doorways to various Spanish-speaking countries have been mounted in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner by Laura Matthews, library events and outreach specialist; Kallie Stahl, Scholarly Outreach graduate assistant; and Kyle Bowles, Scholarly Outreach student employee. The display was meticulously designed by Joanne Quinn, Communication and Service Promotion team leader. Students, faculty and staff are invited to view the poster display until the end of the fall semester.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.05.45 PMIn addition to the poster display in Falvey, the Office for Mission & Ministry’s Hispanic Initiatives Project regularly promotes additional Hispanic activities and programs, both on and off campus, in order to meet the needs of the growing Hispanic and Latino student population at Villanova and in the surrounding communities. This outreach effort includes information about how to access academic programs and support services, activities, clubs and organizations, support by Spanish-speaking Villanova faculty and staff, information about the bi-annual Villanova Hispanic Forum as well as details about how to attend Masses held in Spanish. Please check the Office for Mission and Ministry’s Hispanic Initiatives webpage for more information about these programs and about additional resources related to Hispanic history, culture and programs.

Also, please be sure to attend the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures’ talk, “Remembering Student Movements in Mexico: From 1968 to Ayotzinapa” by Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández and Tomás Hidalgo Nava. The talk will take place Thursday, Oct. 8 at 3:00 p.m. in SAC, room 300. This event will recognize the one year anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.

Help Villanova celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month! Be sure to view the poster display in Falvey, participate in the Office for Mission and Ministry’s programs or attend the lecture on October 8.

Article by Regina Duffy; photo by Joanne Quinn. 



Foto Friday: Avoid the crowds; meet with Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families through the printed page

pope books

Selected books by or about Pope Francis:

  • A big heart open to God : a conversation with Pope Francis / Call Number: BX1378.7 .F712 2013
  • Fioretti : the little flowers of Pope Francis : heartwarming stories of the Gospel in action / Call Number: BX1378.7 .T66513 2014
  • Francis : man of prayer / Call Number: BX1378.7 .E8313 2013
  • I ask you to pray for me : opening a horizon of hope / Call Number: BX1378.7 .A25 2013b
  • The church of mercy : a vision for the church / Call Number: BX1378.7 .A25 2014

 Selected books about marriage and family:

  • A Christian theology of marriage and family / Call Number: BX2250 .R825 2003
  • Marriage : the rock on which the family is built / Call Number: BX2250 .M39 2009
  • Marriage and family : experiencing the Church’s teaching in married life / Call Number: BX2250.M37 1989
  • The splendor of love : John Paul II’s vision for marriage and family / Call Number: BX2250 .S355 2003
  • Vocation to virtue : Christian marriage as a consecrated life / Call Number: BX2250 .L357 2014 Located: Falvey West – 1st Floor

Selected books about conjugal love:

  • Fruitful and responsible love / Call Number: BV4639 .J55 1979
  • On human life : Humanae vitae / Call Number: HQ766.3 .C33 2014
  • Sexuality, marriage, and family : readings in the Catholic tradition / Call Number: BX1795.S48 S53 2001
  • The Catholic Church on marital intercourse : from St. Paul to Pope John Paul II / Call Number: BX1795.S48 O23 2009
  • The nuptial mystery / Call Number: BT701.3 .S3613 2005

Selected books about Theology of the Body:

  • Called to love : approaching John Paul II’s theology of the body / Call Number: BX1795.B63 A53 2009
  • Gift & communion : John Paul II’s Theology of the body / Call Number: BX1795.B63 K8713 2014
  • Men and women are from Eden : a study guide to John Paul II’s Theology of the body / Call Number: BX1795.B63 J6434 2005
  • Theology of the body explained : a commentary on John Paul II’s “gospel of the body” / Call Number: BT741.2.J643 W47 2003

Questions? Email: darren.poley@villanova.edu

Article by Darren Poley, the theology subject specialist, scholarly outreach librarian and curator for the Augustinian Historical Institute. Book collage by Joanne Quinn.Darren




Pope Francis: Weekend Library Hours

pope a delphia

Robert Indiana, AMOR, 1998, Polychrome aluminum painted red and blue, 72″x72″x36″, © 2015 Morgan Art Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

For the duration of Pope Francis’ visit to the area, the regular library hours will remain unchanged.

The library will offer basic circulation services. Some processing delays may be experienced by library patrons.

Friday, Sept. 25: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 25: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 26: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.

A librarian will be on-call Friday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached via the Ask a Librarian chat on our homepage.

We will also have a librarian on call Sunday, Sept. 26, from 1 to 8 p.m., also via the Ask a Librarian chat.

Holy Grounds @ Falvey will maintain the following hours:

Friday, Sept. 25: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 27: 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.




‘Caturday: A Nostalgic Note for Parents Weekend

Welcome, Wildcat parents and families! Take a look at the activities being offered, including the ICE Institute tour on the ground floor of Falvey! Take a walk around the library while you’re here. The recently installed Mendel exhibit is on the first floor and the Learning Commons is on the second floor.

(Events planned for Parents Weekend in 2015 might differ ever so slightly from those held in 1974.)

Parents Weekend 1974
Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

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Foto Friday: Name something that has to be done before Parents Weekend….

Steve Harvey1

Soon to be Steve Harvey

Enjoy Parent’s Weekend!

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion team and special acquisitions coordinator in Resource Management


Project Website Launched: Mill Creek Valley


Craig Bailey, PhD, associate professor of history, reads his edifying and entertaining introduction to the Mill Creek Valley project website.

The Aurelius Digital Scholarship Initiative at Falvey Memorial Library supports digital humanities projects and digital scholarship here at Villanova. Our digital humanities superheroes are Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, and David Uspal, senior web specialist for Library Services and Scholarly Applications, and together they work with classes to produce fascinating and forward-thinking digital scholarship. Past classroom projects include the Ardmore Project, a digital edition of El Perú en sus tradiciones, an su historia, en su arte, Travels Through Greco – Roman Antiquity, and a series of DH workshops for graduate students covering topics such as coding basics, audio editing, and mapmaking. This past Monday, Bang and Uspal joined Craig Bailey, PhD, associate professor of history as he and his undergraduate class launched an interactive website tracing the transformation of the Mill Creek Valley.


Dave Uspal explains the website building process and introduces the audience to the wonders of responsive resizing.

The launch took place at 3:00 p.m. in room 204 of Falvey Memorial Library, and Dr. Bailey presented a talk entitled “Changing Landscapes: People and Place in the Mill Creek Valley, Lower Merion c.1870-c.1920.” In spring 2015, ten junior-year students participating in a research seminar with the Department of History undertook a group project to examine how the farms and mills of the Mill Creek Valley transformed into the familiar residential properties of today. Each student chose a property from an atlas published in 1877, traced that property’s development over time, and reconstructed the lives of the inhabitants. Working alongside Digital Humanities staff in Falvey Memorial Library, students constructed an interactive website to communicate their research.


The satisfying reveal of a finished product.


Changing Landscapes: People and Places in the Mill Creek Valley, Lower Merion c.1870-c.1920

Check it out!



Author Arthur Cola Visits Falvey Memorial Library

arthur colaToday, Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 4:00 p.m. in room 204 of Falvey Memorial Library, author Arthur Cola will present a lecture titled “The Silent Chime of the Bell, Immigrants, Riots and Old St. Augustine” about his new book, Pure and Tarnished Hearts.

Arthur Cola was born in Chicago’s “Little Italy” neighborhood on the near west side. His family later moved to Oak Park, Illinois. He attended Loyola University, Chicago, where he met his future wife. He, his wife and family now live in Wisconsin. Cola received his Master’s Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and performed post graduate work at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Archdiocese of Chicago and Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Cola’s seventh novel, Pure and Tarnished Hearts, is a tale of three teens under the leadership of The Rev. Thomas O’Malley, OSA who came to America from Ireland during the famine era. However, it is more than just a coming of age adventure story; it is historically accurate in presenting actual events taking place in the United States during the famine era. This period of history saw riots and protests against new immigrants and Catholics. Villanova University, called Villanova College at the time, is featured in the story, as is the St. Augustine Church and a variety of iconic places in and around the Philadelphia area.

Copies of Cola’s book will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. Light refreshments will be served. This event, co-sponsored by Falvey Memorial Library and the American Catholic Historical Society, is free and open to the public.

Banner Riots

If you are interested in learning more about the riots in Philadelphia in 1844, Villanova University’s Digital Library hosts an online exhibit detailing the events leading up to and surrounding the unrest.

If you would like to know more about author Arthur Cola, check out his website.

 “Chaos in the Streets” image courtesy of Digital Library@Villanova


How to Be a Part of a Villanova Tradition: St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service

Each September, the Villanova Campus community gathers together to celebrate the University’s patron saint—St. Thomas of Villanova. Thomas was an Augustinian priest of Spanish descent who deeply valued the pursuit of knowledge for the purpose of helping others and was specially known for his devout service to the underprivileged. In honor of St. Thomas and in order to highlight the things he valued and held closest to his heart, the University annually holds a lecture, a day of service and a liturgy. Please see the complete list of events.

This year, the 10th annual St. Thomas of Villanova celebration will be held from Thursday, Sept. 10 – Sunday, Sept. 13. The entire Villanova community is invited to attend the related events and services and to also contribute to the St. Thomas of Villanova service weekend. There are several ways to get involved and be a part of this great tradition!

One major way to be involved in the St. Thomas of Villanova weekend is by offering your time and energy to help serve our neighbors in need in the surrounding Philadelphia area. The Day of Service organizers rely heavily on those who volunteer to work at local service sites. VU will be partnering with approximately 150 service sites this year! And, although the official service volunteer registration was on September 2, there are still many other ways to help our community this weekend and throughout the entire year. Please see this list of weekly volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Day of Service 2010

Library staff including Luisa Cywinski, Laura Bang, Phylis Wright and her husband Jack volunteered with a group at the Carousel House near Fairmount Park in Philadelphia as part of the 2010 Day of Service.

The success of the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service is also dependent on the generosity of others. Please consider donating funds and supplies. Money collected will help Villanova provide transportation to service sites, refreshments for participants and also help guarantee that adequate supplies are available to help our Day of Service volunteers complete their work. Financial contributions and donations of working supplies would be greatly appreciated. Those interested are invited to reach out to Christine Quisenberry for further details.

Additionally, the University will sponsor a campus-wide Community Collection Day in order to meet the needs of the communities in the surrounding Philadelphia area. The collection day is scheduled to take place this Friday, September 11th. This is a great opportunity for our Villanova students, faculty, staff and friends to help support the needs of those less fortunate in the spirit of St. Thomas! Items collected include non-perishable food, office/school supplies, books, toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products and baby items. Collected items are sent to many of the agencies that we partner with for the Day of Service.

If you are able, please consider donating your time, energy, money or supplies to this worthy cause! In the spirit of St. Thomas of Villanova, we are called to serve those in need with a giving heart. Be sure to be a part of this Villanova tradition!


Villanova Welcomes the 2015 One Book Author Reyna Grande to Campus


On Thursday, Sept. 10, the Villanova University Community will welcome author Reyna Grande to campus. Grande, author of the 2015-2016 One Book Villanova selection The Distance Between Us, will participate in several events on Sept. 10, including a book signing at Falvey Memorial Library from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner on the first floor. The book signing is open to the public. See below for the detailed schedule of events during the author’s visit.

4:40 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Author’s Book Signing,  Falvey Memorial Library’s Speakers’ Corner

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Dinner with Author and University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS in the Dougherty Dining Hall

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Author’s Lecture, followed by Q&A, Villanova Room, Connelly Center

Reyna Grande offers us a glimpse into her life as a young Mexican girl in her book, The Distance Between Us. In doing so, she gives us the unique opportunity to witness what challenges the children of immigrants often faced when their parents left them behind in Mexico in pursuit of a better life in the United States. Growing up poor and without the guidance of her parents by her side, Grande describes how she was forced to rely on her siblings for strength. With their help and her own firm determination, Grande was able to achieve success despite her difficult upbringing. This honest and at times heartbreaking personal account highlights many issues related to immigration that are relevant today.

The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us is the University’s 11th annual One Book Villanova selection. The program celebrated its 10th anniversary last fall with a visit by author Wes Moore, whose book The Other Wes Moore was highlighted on campus with special events throughout the academic year. One Book selections are chosen in order to stimulate close examination of a book and inspire discussion within both the classroom and community on topics that are relevant in society today. The One Book Villanova committee’s co-chairs are Terry Nance, PhD, assistant vice president, Multicultural Affairs (recently promoted to associate vice provost of diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer) and Jeffrey (JJ) Brown, director of student development. The Co-Chairs in addition to a committee of various faculty and staff members from all areas of the University choose the One Book Villanova selection each year.

Still need a book? Copies of The Distance Between Us can be purchased for $8.00 from the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Student Involvement, or can be ordered online by cash or check. Visit this page for more information.

Following her book signing in Falvey, Grande will be giving a public lecture in the Villanova Room in Connelly Center. This talk by Grande will serve as both the kick-off and the keynote lecture of our St. Thomas of Villanova weekend on campus, which is a celebration marked by service to the surrounding communities. Make sure to be a part of these landmark campus-wide events!

Article by Regina Duffy, writer for the Communication & Service Promotion team and Library Events and Program manager. News From Falvey Winter 2008 - Gina McFadden


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Last Modified: September 9, 2015