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Villanova Veterans Voices Event Celebrates Alumni Military Service and Stories

Michael Foight, John Schofield, Michael Brown, and Vince Arpa

Villanova Veterans speakers Michael Foight, Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement, Falvey Library; John Schofield CLAS; Michael Brown, Director, Office of Veterans and Military Service Members; and Vincent Arpa COE.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimated in 2018 that 318 World War II veterans die every day. As they are lost, their voices, filled with stories of service and sacrifice, disappear forever.

At Falvey Memorial Library on Nov. 12, Villanova’s Office of Veterans and Military Members and the Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Department launched a collaboration “Lest We Forget: The Villanova Veterans History Project” that has begun to capture the unique voices and stories of veterans with connections to Villanova through digital recordings.

The recordings were engineered by Laura Bang, Distinctive Collections Librarian.

Digital Scholarship Librarian Erica Hayes overviewed the project’s interactive memorial map that honors Villanovans who have died in service to their country.

“This project has as a goal, to honor veterans, to hear their voices and to tell their stories. Whether it be through the Voices project, in an oral interview, or through the mapping project where we show more than just a name, we want to honor that sacrifice and service,” said Michael Brown, Director of Villanova’s Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and an Army Veteran. “I want you all, if you’re a veteran and have an interest, to come and tell your story as well. There’s value in that—we want to hear it. When you’re gone, which is hopefully a long time from now, maybe your grandchildren will want to hear that story too.”

More than 100 veterans, alumni, family, ROTC students, faculty, and staff attended the launch celebration, which included remembrances of two of the project’s 17 participants. They shared memories of their time in the armed services as well as their time as a student at Villanova.

Former US Navy Commander John Schofield CLAS discussed his time in Villanova’s NROTC program, where he struggled, graduating last in a class of 18, but found equal measures of support and tough love from his mentors. That pushed him to succeed then and built a foundation for success in his military service and beyond.

“The prevailing themes at Villanova and in the family of Villanovans is that you are going to make it and we love you. That speaks volumes about how special of a place this is, including for veterans,” he said. “I can’t thank you and Villanova enough for doing this.”

Villanova Veterans who are interested in participating in the project are encouraged to visit the website or email veterans@villanova.edu.


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How We Help: Honoring Our Military Heroes

Villanova Veterans Voices Postcard

Villanova’s strong connection to service is reflected in the University’s proud tradition of military service.

Its Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp includes more than 90 Navy and Marine Corps midshipmen, under the advisement of a staff of highly trained and motivated sailors and marines. The program has produced more Navy Admirals and Marine Corps Generals than any other institution outside of the Naval Academy. The University also has an Army ROTC program, which trains and produces top level Cadets to serve as Army officers.

The University’s Office of Veterans and Military Members and Falvey Memorial Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Department are collaborating on a Villanova Veterans History Project called “Lest We Forget: The Villanova Veterans History Project” that will capture the unique voices and stories of veterans with connections to Villanova through digital recordings. It also features an interactive memorial map that honors Villanovans who have died in service to their country.

“Through extensive research and collaboration, our team created an interactive memorial map that will memorialize and remember the service of these Villanovans. In doing so, we hope to educate present and future generations about the cost of freedom and Villanova’s legacy of service,” said Michael Brown, Director of Villanova’s Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and an Army Veteran.

The launch of the digital project will be celebrated in Falvey Memorial Library’s Speakers’ Corner on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 4:30–7 p.m. The launch event will feature several project participants and Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD.

This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and Falvey Memorial Library.

Visit the digital project online at https://veteransvoices.library.villanova.edu/.


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Event to Honor Villanova’s Veterans

The Villanova Community and friends are cordially invited to join us at the event, “Lest We Forget: The Villanova Veterans History Project Launch and Reception” on Tuesday, November 12 from 4:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. in Falvey Memorial Library’s Speakers’ Corner. Please join us to honor Villanova’s Veterans!

Villanova's Veterans Voices event poster

 

 


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Distinctive Collections: The Smallest Item

What is the smallest item in your collection?

While our Distinctive Collections have many small and fascinating items (a Sumerian clay tablet, a miniature edition of Shakespeare’s plays), the smallest item has to be this tiny seed pod amazingly filled with even tinier carved ivory animals. This item belongs to the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection, which coincidentally also houses one of the largest items from Distinctive Collections (see: Scanning a Panoramic Sketch).

 

The little red seed comes from the red sandalwood tree, common in India and other tropic areas. Sometimes called the Red Lucky Seed, Circassian Seed, Jumbi-Bead, or magic charm bean, the hollow seeds filled with carved ivory animals (usually elephants) were likely sold or distributed as souvenirs that would bring good luck with each animal inside. This seed, like a fancy perfume bottle, has a carved stopper on top that fits just right. Inside easily and comfortably fits thirteen paper-thin little animals. The animals are intricately carved and some are quite recognizable. There is a camel and a giraffe, an elephant, and other four-legged creatures. Each one is only about 4 mm tall (the giraffe is 6 mm tall) and the seed with stopper measures 8 mm wide and 12 mm height.

We are not sure where Reap acquired it, but it was certainly while overseas between 1944-1946. After enlisting in the Navy in November 1943 and training at Bainbridge, MD and Fort Lauderdale, FL, he was then ordered to San Diego to join the Japanese invasion force. The USS White Marsh took Reap to Pearl Harbor, HI, where he was assigned to the USS Proteus, a submarine tender, as a radar and communications technician. He was stationed at various times at: Guam; Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Japan; and Panama. After the war, Reap was honorably discharged from Naval service on April 6, 1946.

Earlier this summer we had a chance to revisit this collection with James D. Reap, Jr.’s son and great-granddaughter during their visit to campus. They fondly remembered the little “ivory zoo” and son James J. Reap recalled his father proudly rolling out the sketch of Yokosuka Naval Base in his basement to show family and friends. The family is happy that the collection is now being preserved with Villanova University’s Distinctive Collections, and excited to see items shared online in the Digital Library.

 

James J. Reap, ’69 and his granddaughter, Abby, pose with items from the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection.

 


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Last Modified: August 14, 2019