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The Rooted Project aims to explore Villanova University’s past to come to terms with histories of slavery, segregation, institutionalized racism, and gender and religious prejudice. It is in an effort to hold the university to its values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas (truth, unity, and love). Since 2020, a team of researchers has been working to produce a history of Villanova that situates the university’s founding in fact, that recognizes the significance of diverse nineteenth- and twentieth-century people to the university’s success, and that considers the consequences of university decisions on communities of color and other marginalized groups. This new history aims to give all students, prospective students, and alumni at Villanova a sense of place and belonging.

In the following pages, you will learn about William and Julia Moulden and consider their legacy on campus today. You will discover the enslaved people who in the 1700s worked the land that would become Villanova and meet the first students who attended the college in later years. Under the “Archive” page, explore the primary sources that researchers are using to tell the history of Villanova College’s founding years.