“I was destined from a very early age to go to Villanova and to go into the Navy,” United States Navy Lieutenant and Villanova University graduate Vincent Arpa said. Arpa was interviewed about his military service and time at Villanova as part of the Villanova Veterans History Project. 

This oral history project seeks to recognize and share the stories of Villanova’s veterans through digital recordings. This project is a combination of the efforts of the University’s Office of Veterans and Military Members and Falvey Memorial Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Department. 

Michael Brown, army veteran and Director of Villanova’s Office of Veterans and Military Service Members, described the project. 

“This initiative illustrates the strong bond that Villanova has with service to the country and will bear witness to those stories,” he said. “As part of this project, we sought to honor both living veterans and Villanovans killed in service.” 

On November 12th, Villanova’s Office of Veterans and Military Members and the Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Department celebrated Villanova Veterans History Project. The event was held at Falvey Memorial Library and more than 100 veterans, families, alumni, students, faculty and staff attended the event. 

John Schofield, former US Navy Commander, participated in the project and spoke at the event. Schofield said, “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. I can’t thank you and Villanova enough for doing this.”

The project includes digitized interviews with 17 Villanova veterans and an interactive memorial map that displays the names of Villanova veterans who were killed in service.  About the memorial map, Michael Brown said, “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.” The map includes pictures of the veteran, their branch of service and the location and year they passed away.

One veteran represented on the map is Harry P. Singley Jr. Singley fought in World War II and died in Normandy, France in 1944. He graduated from the University in 1932 and was a member of Lambda Kappa Delta fraternity, played football and served as class president. 

The University has an illustrious history of military service. The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp consists of more than 90 Navy and Marine Corps midshipmen. The Army ROTC program trains and prepares elite Cadets to serve as Army officers. The NROTC program has generated more Navy Admirals and Marine Corps Generals than any other program, aside from the Naval Academy.