Campus has seemed much more alive in recent weeks as the University and the world are slowly emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. On-campus tours, outdoor social gatherings, sporting competitions and annual events have all resumed. Most of these events were held online last school year, including 1842 Day.
1842 Day, named after the year in which the Augustinian priests founded the University, is a fundraising event hosted by the University to help raise money for the countless student groups around campus. By participating and making donations, the surrounding populace, alumni worldwide and current Villanovans can show how much it means to be a part of such a familial community.
The day began at midnight on Sept. 21 and lasted for 24 hours, but it was not until the morning when the festivities started. Tables and tents lined the Connelly Center and Dougherty Hall, covering amusing stations that helped excite people who walked under giant silver balloons that read “1842 Day.” Volunteers handed out free merchandise, pictures were being taken and printed to fill a mosaic and even Cat Cab rides with Villanova trivia were offered to bring people around campus. If questions were answered correctly, money was given to an organization of the trivia player’s choice. This continued until the evening when food trucks and games were set up around the Oreo.
As the fun and games started to die down, a live broadcast began at 7 p.m. from the brand new Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. University alum and NBC 10 Philadelphia Anchor Keith Jones hosted the event.
“I feel super fortunate to be able to come back and do it,” Jones said. “The impetus to it is I wanted to give back to the campus that gave me so much, that made me successful ultimately, and that gave me the tools and foundation.”
During the broadcast, viewers saw interviews of prominent figures in the Villanova community. University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. and head basketball coach Jay Wright were interviewed. During Donohue’s time spent in front of the camera, he expressed what it means to be a Villanovan and what it is like to be the leader of such a wonderful school. He also made sure to thank everyone who has formed the University into what it is today. Buildings, like the new performing arts center, continue to enhance the facade of the school. Still, it is the people within the community who make every aspect of the University worthwhile.
“I pinch myself every time,” Donohue said when asked about what he thinks of the new center and other buildings around campus.
Following his interview, Donohue and a student a cappella group performed a beautiful rendition of the University’s alma mater. Then the broadcast went to commercial. Though the program was interrupted by breaks, each commercial helped explain what different organizations around campus do, encouraging donors to give more. Others described the principles and pillars of the various schools on campus and their goals for graduating students. During one break, several people were asked to describe the Villanova community using only three words. Some words used were: strong, compassionate, driven, curious, smart and committed.
Once one break ended, the broadcast cut to Darryl Reynolds, a past Wildcat basketball star. He interviewed his old coach, Jay Wright. Throughout the interview, Wright talked about his experience coaching the USA men’s basketball team at the 2020 Olympics, his hall of fame induction, what he hopes his legacy will be after his time at the University is over and what to look forward to in the upcoming basketball season. Finally, he ended by mentioning the impacts of the pandemic and thanking those on the front lines and the donors on 1842 Day.
Following the two interviews, viewers heard from students and others. The broadcast continued until 9 p.m. with games and featured segments. At the end of the day, the numbers were added up. 1842 Day raised $11,424,876 from the 9,288 donors. The University is excited for the sixth annual 1842 day coming in 2022.