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From the Archives: Robert Langran papers

Robert Langran with Women's tennis team

                               Robert Langran with VU Women’s Tennis, undated

The University Archives is excited to announce a newly available collection of papers from former faculty and tennis coach Robert Langran. Langran spent his entire career at Villanova University, where he taught and researched in Political Science from 1959 to 2015. Langran taught civil rights, the study of the Supreme Court, constitutional law, women’s studies, and peace studies. While at Villanova University, Langran chaired the Political Science Department from 1968 to 1978 and from 2008 to 2009. He chaired the committee that devised the University Senate and was the first chair of the Faculty Congress. He was awarded the Best Advisor Award (2001), Faculty Service Award (1997), several Political Science Department Best Teacher Award, and Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (1972). In 1967, Langran revitalized Men’s Tennis, which had be absent from Villanova for twenty-five years. A year later he was approached by a group of young women wanting to create a tennis team and Langran helped form the first Villanova women’s tennis team and be their head coach for the next twenty-five years.

 

Robert Langran with VU athletics

                                        Robert Langran with VU Athletics

Langran’s family recently donated his tennis files to the University Archives, which includes scorecards and rosters from the Men’s and Women’s tennis teams from 1969 to 2013. As a lifelong VU Wildcats fan, the collection also includes a scrapbook of basketball and football tickets, programs, and season schedules. Langran left a indelible mark on the Villanova community and excited to have early tennis history available in the archives. Contact the University Archives at archives@villanova.edu to view the collection.


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From the Archives: Black Student League on Campus

From the Archives: Black Student League on Campus

Black Student League meeting, 1972

Black Student League, 1972 yearbook

“We Black Students see our purpose as being twofold: first, we are constantly trying to education relate more to the problems that all people face in society; secondly, we try to make the educational process reciprocal by impression upon teachers and other students that we have a worthwhile viewpoint which should be acknowledged.

Specifically, we would like to see more courses dealing with the problems of the community included in the curriculum. For example, instead of just having biology as a required course, why not make community health also a required course. Also, in teaching history why not include the contributions of other peoples as required courses.

These things are of the utmost importance because they will build understanding and respect for other peoples and their problems, and will get away from the viewpoint that only the majority opinion is right.” – Ronald Rothwell ’73

Black Student League event poster, 1971

Black Student League event poster, 1971

 

Looking back at our past is a way to recognize and honor the many accomplishments and contributions of Black individuals and communities to our Villanova history, culture, and values. For Black History Month, the University Archives’ highlights the Black Student League. Since its inception in the 1960s, the Black Student League (known today as the Black Cultural Society) has been a mainstay on campus with innumerable amount work bringing to light inequality on campus and contributing new ideas of equality and inclusion for a better campus culture. The University Archives invites you to learn more about the Black Student League and the Black experience in the 1960s with The Villanovan special issue, from April 23, 1969,  called, “Black Wildcat.” The issue included several articles about identity, racism, and campus culture. Please be advised there is a content warning of the issue.

 

Learn more about the Black Student League in the Digital Library.

 


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Happy Holidays from the Archives

Villanova Monthly Cover

The Villanova Monthly, Vol. 4. No. 8, December 1896

As the question, “what are you doing for break?” begins to spread over the land and deep sighs hoping for finals to end, the University Archives extends a Happy Holidays to all the Villanova students, staff, and faculty this year. Here is a past glance of the December 1896 Villanova Monthly (precursor to The Villanovan).

 

Christmas Time Poem by John Whelan

The poem is written by John I. Whelan, a 1895 graduate and 1894-5 school year recipient of Gold Medals for Logic, English Literature, & Chemistry.


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Thanksgiving Hop

Thanksgiving Hop

In continuation of exploring traditions of the past, the University Archives highlights Villanova’s penchant for a good party with the Thanksgiving Hop.

1927 Yearbook description of Thanksgiving Hop

1927 Belle Air Yearbook

Thanksgiving break has always gotten students excited for a study break and return home to see family and friends. In the 1920s, before students made their trek home for Thanksgiving, the Senior class would host a Thanksgiving Hop, later known as the Thanksgiving Dance, for all the students. The night would be filled with dancing, live music, and good food to send off students. The Hop appeared as a co-ed dance and lasted with different incarnations into the 1950s.


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International Students’ Day

Happy International Students’ Day! International students attending Villanova is as old as the institution itself, as we remember it was Irish Augustinians’ who founded the College. Not only were Irish the first international students to attend but also Spanish, Cuban, and Puerto Rican students. As you can see in the 1870-1871 list of students.

More history on the earliest students and campus life can be found in Distinctive Collections’ Annual Catalogue collection available in the digital library.

International Students’ Day originates from students’ resistance in the streets of Prague against Nazi occupation on November 17, 1939.  Nazis arrested 1,200 students from Czech universities and sent them to concentration camps and shut down all Czech colleges and universities. The resistance inspired the establishment of an anti-Nazi students coalition. In 1941, November 17 was declared International Students Day by the International Students Council in London, which became the  foundation for the International Union of Students. Today, International Students’ Day has evolved beyond observance of student activism, but a celebration the cultural diversity that international students bring to their universities.

 

 


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Homecoming Traditions

Homecoming got its start on college campuses as a fall celebration of the first football game of the season, for which alumni would return to their alma maters. For Villanova, in particular, originated as an annual homecoming known as Alumni Day, which consisted with a football game, dinner, and alumni business meeting. The alumni returning is a long tradition as the alumni association started in 1875.

Homecoming photographs, December 1941

Homecoming really took off as an all campus event around the 1930s. It was not until the 1950s when Homecoming became a multi-day event for the entire Villanova community.

Here are some of the major traditions:

Dorm Decorations

Dorm decorations, 1960

Dorm Decorations, 1960

Dorm, 1950s

Dorm Decorations, 1950s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During Homecoming week the dorms would have a decoration contest for the best decorations. The theme usually surrounded Villanova’s victory on the field.

Bonfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Homecoming bonfire was a long-standing Wildcat tradition that kicked off the weekend’s festivities.

Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A surprising tradition, certainly not seen today, is the Homecoming parade where prior to the big game Wildcats would have a car parade through campus to the football field. Like the dorm decoration there would be float decoration contests.

Game Day

Kissing booth, 1983

Kissing booth, 1983

Homecoming, 1983

Homecoming, 1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, Homecoming revolved around the big football game. Longstanding foes have been Georgetown University and Temple University.

Homecoming Dance

Dance, 1939

Dance, 1939

 

And to cap off the festivities was the annual Homecoming dance.

Homecoming court, 1983

Homecoming court, 1983

Homecoming court, 1990s

Homecoming court, 1990s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many more images of Homecoming can be found in the Digital Library and Villanova University Archives


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Connelly Center 41 Years Young

40 41 Years of Connelly Center

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Connelly Center. Leading up to the anniversary Distinctive Collections was hard at work digitizing photographs of Connelly over the years. While COVID may have dashed in-person celebrations, the University Archives invites you to check out Connelly over the years and celebrate September 21st as the anniversary of the official dedication ceremony.

Connelly Center, March 26th 1979

Connelly Center, March 26th 1979

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the heart of campus, Connelly Center originally opened with a game room, music listening room, ice cream parlor, terrace for entertainment, and lounges. Some of the amenities and look haven’t changed.

 

More photographs of the early days of Connelly Center can be found in the digital library.


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From the Archives: Welcome to Villanova!

From the University Archives: Welcome to Villanova

A Peek into First Year Orientation

The next installment of the University Archives exploring past traditions of Villanova is how incoming first year students, or also known as Frosh or Yearlings, experienced their first days on campus in the first half of the twentieth century.

Freshman Orientation

Upon arrival incoming students were given logistical and academic information, housing details, class schedule, introductions to faculty and upperclassmen, religious registration, and introduction to student organizations. The first day also required a physical exam by a doctor. All of this would be guided by the Orientation Committee (White Cappers), who were the Sophomores.  The committee who would prepare incoming students with “regs” (dinks, ties, identification buttons, and handbook) and teach them the “Frosh rules and regulations” and the very important Hello Habit.

Much of orientation was like an initiation where cultural aspects to Villanova life were heavily indoctrinated and Freshman learned the college songs, yells, and rules. Orientation Committee reinforced etiquette and rules from day one. Frosh would be taught they would have to partake in trunk carrying (help move-in all students in their dorms), coal shoveling, gridiron marking, and stadium cleaning. Noted in the 1946 Belle Air yearbook, infractions would result in haircuts or being molasses and feathered.

Description of Etiquette Expectations

after we had a chance to become acclimated to the surroundings a series of impromptu meetings were held in the amphitheatre with the white cappers scolding yearlings...bellowing instructions to wear the regs...omit smoking cigarettes...learn the college cheers and songs...carry matches for the upperclassmen...get the "hello habit"...

keep coats buttoned and hands out of pockets...and above all stand erect while in the presence of upper classmen.

 Belle Air, 1937

First day of freshman year

First Day for Yearlings, Belle Air, 1943

 

Frosh being directed to jump

Frosh being directed to jump, Belle Air 1967

…and be sure to remember the “Hello Habit”Hello Habit Request for Freshmen

The Hello Habit was simply students saying hello to each other as they passed each other on campus. The gesture was serious business for upperclassmen as they would patrol the halls making sure Frosh did it as well as lament in The Owl and Villanovan for years how the time-honored tradition was at constant risk because of freshmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Owl, 1931

 

It was later in the school year Freshmen got  “revenge” on the Sophomores during annual Frosh-Soph field day called “Muff Day” and annual Tug-O-War in the Spring.

Frosh-Soph game

tug of war

Belle Air, 1938

Changes

Many of the rituals, dress, initiations, and student hierarchies were abandoned by the late 1960s. Mostly because the university had become co-ed, the student body became more diverse, and the styles and trends of a college student focused more on individualism. In the 1980s, Villanova saw a significant cultural shift as orientation became more about preparing students for their college experience as a whole, including how to navigate the academic rigor and learn the support systems throughout campus.

For more images of campus life: https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Collection/vudl:171664

 

 


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From the Archives: AIDS Awareness Week

AIDS Ribbon Illustration, 1995

In continuation of presenting traditions of the past, the University Archives draws attention to Villanova’s AIDS Awareness Week held in the early 1990s. June as Pride Month is a celebration of the progress of LGBTQIA+ community and the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies a time of reflection of forty years ago when the world started to live through another epidemic that suffered from rampant misinformation and government inaction. Just like with COVID-19, health inequities and social injustices, stigma, fear and bigotry around HIV/AIDS fueled the spread and destruction of so many lives. AIDS remains decades on an unspoken epidemic, but is so clearly entrenched in our history and its affects reverberate through the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

Through articles from the Villanovan, the University Archives highlights how Villanova community responded to the AIDS crisis. Villanova established an AIDS task force in the 1980s as the virus was gaining media traction. Into the late eighties, lectures and panel discussions would be sponsored by student organizations or departments on campus about the virus and transmission. Though, through perceived lack of interest and advocacy, the task force faded away by the end of the eighties. The necessity to address the crisis really emerged in the early 1990s and the task force was reorganized in 1992 (Compitiello, 1992). By the early 1990s, AIDS cases had peaked and college campus across the nation were faced with the reality of positive cases on campus (CDC, 2001).

In 1991, the University started AIDS Awareness day, which expanded into AIDS Awareness Week in 1993. Awareness Week included invited speakers, panel discussions, student performances, masses, and vigils. The main goals were,

Raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS; to offer HIV/AIDS educational programs during the week; to create an opportunity for spiritual reflection on the impact of HIV/AIDS upon the University community at the beginning of the Lenten season; to provide members of the University community with opportunities for reconciliation and for consideration of their own personal outreach in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to raise money for local HIV/AIDS care advocates and provider (Lee, 1994).

Panel discussions and lectures would cover questions related to AIDS in relation to discrimination, health care, and how perception is affected by the Church and what is the Church’s response to HIV/AIDS.

One of the most longstanding traditions has been selected panels of the Names Projects AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at the Connelly Center (which continued in to the 2000s).

In 1994, Villanova started to contribute to the quilting project. Here are images from the “Have a Heart” Quilting Bee campaign in 1995. Students could help with quilting and banner making at St.Mary’s Library.

For more information on the AIDS Awareness events on campus, visit the Villanovan in the Digital Library: https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:183783

 

 


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Falvey Then and Now, Through the lens of an Intern

  In my senior year of college, I found myself in a stressful living situation and so became a frequent visitor to the basement reading room of Falvey Library. We became fast friends since we spent so much time together (the moment it opened until its closing). At a time of immense confusion and uncertainty, Falvey embraced me with a quiet, steady sense of permanence that I so desperately needed. Yes, it was an escape, but it was also the perfect place for reflection without distraction. It was where a young woman could uncover her inner strength and achieve academic success through focus and fortitude. These very qualities would help me get through the tragedy of the 9-11 terrorist attacks that I experienced in New York, not long after graduation.  

  Twenty years later, the library beckons again, this time as an intern finishing up a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Clarion University. It’s proven to be a very different experience than as an undergrad, especially amidst a pandemic where movement is limited. Students and faculty are finding their own ways through another stressful period of history, and the library evolves. There’s still permanence in those physical walls, though they’ve become less significant for me. Indeed, what I’ve learned most is that the library has played a key role in tearing down metaphorical walls in order to improve access to information. Of course, it’s not just the building itself that holds weight, but the precious information it maintains waiting for students and faculty to discover. 

  With urgency, the pandemic has revealed the importance of information without barriers and the speed in which researchers and scientists need unencumbered access to digital journal articles, studies, and data sets. These concepts drive the Open Access publishing movement, which has been of particular interest to me as information needs change amidst this pandemic. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sarah Wipperman in the Scholarly Communications Department on a guide to Open Access (OA). Sarah was generous with her time, patient with questions, and incredibly knowledgeable about copyright, fair use, and scholarly publishing in general. We explored big picture concepts pertaining to new ways of publishing such as: What is Open Access? How can it affect stakeholders? What OA options and funding are available at Villanova and beyond? How will publishing in various ways affect the breadth of readership? The guide we developed presents students and faculty with information regarding different avenues for publishing their work. Each scholarly publishing experience is unique, but arming writers and researchers with quality information and options prior to signing agreements and publishing is essential. We hope that the document we created will be a useful tool in helping Villanovans make pivotal publishing decisions now and into the future.  

  While this internship hasn’t been in person, I still hear the student and faculty voices, this time in the articles I’ve read and archived for Beaudry Allen with the Documenting Covid Digital Archives project. While I archived articles about significant events in the past year which seem indelibly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic such as lockdowns, local BLM protests, themes of racial inequity, sexual assaults, vaccination efforts, effects on learning and the economy, I found myself eventually gravitating toward the stories told by individuals, which vary according to experience and societal lens. A look back on the year from the Villanovan Magazine, “A Letter to the Class of 2021”, Philadelphia Magazine’s “Coronavirus Pandemic Impact Stories” provide the viewpoints of regular Villanovans and Philadelphians struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel in this pandemic. We hope that the content captured during this difficult time will provide future generations with a balanced perspective and general history, as well as a means of processing the events of these last 18 months. Afterall, the effects of the pandemic reach well beyond the virus itself. Experience has shown this Villanovan that while we cannot control negative events that arise, we can process and learn from them, and try to make sense of what has occurred. In due course, these experiences will shape us, and the university itself, in ways we’d never imagine.  

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*The intern, age 9, joined by the Wildcat, at Sibling’s Weekend (circa 1986) with a lifetime ahead of her. 

By Anne Walkenhorst                                                                                               

Scholarly Communications and Digital Archive Intern 

Clarion University of Pennsylvania (ALA accredited) MLS spring 2021 

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Last Modified: June 1, 2021