Augustinian in Action

Augustinian Identity

Our History

Malvern Prep is the direct continuation of the academy program founded in 1842 by the Augustinians as the preparatory school for what is now Villanova University.
The Augustinian community purchased the farm called Belle-Aire in January 1842, to establish a college and monastery under the patronage of St. Thomas of Villanova. During the next year, Rev. John O'Dwyer, the first president, worked tirelessly to get the school up and running, and traveled to Europe in search of qualified faculty. On St. Augustine's Day, August 28, 1843, the School's first Mass was celebrated; and the seven students that year were all under the age of 16. The original academy building, built in 1848, is now called Alumni Hall, and stands just behind the Chapel at Villanova.

Villanova did not grant its first college degree until 1857. As the school grew and modern education began to take its present form, a distinction grew between the “academy boys,” the “college boys,” and the “seminarians.” In 1901, the academy was named “St. Nicholas of Tolentine Academy,” and in 1922, the college program was expanded. The decision was made to move the academy program from the college campus. About the same time, the Rosengarten family of Malvern planned to sell part of its holdings located on Warren Avenue and Paoli Pike. Thus in 1922, because of the Augustinian need and the availability of 143 acres in historic Chester County, the academy relocated to its current setting. The academy changed its name to “Villanova Preparatory School” in the early 1920’s, which began the gradual phasing out of the old academy. 
    • Austin Hall
The school was soon renamed Malvern Preparatory School to reflect its geographical location and give the school its own identity.
Malvern Prep graduated its first class in 1926. Located northwest of Malvern Prep’s property is the site of the Paoli Massacre during the Revolution, making it a central point for historical interest. Malvern Prep owned the 40-acre landmark until 2000 when it was purchased and preserved as a National Historic property. Although only two buildings on the Rosengarten estate could be used for school purposes, Austin Hall (original farmhouse) and the St. Augustine Friary (farm building), they were more than ample in providing classroom and living space for the predominantly boarding student body of 19 and the original faculty of three Augustinians and a layman.

Today, the School’s 104-acre campus has 15 buildings,

including the state-of-the-art Duffy Arts Center, a 17,000 square-foot building that houses a Steinway, a musical technology studio, a ceramic studio with five kilns and 15 pottery wheels, a 600-seat theater, computer graphics lab, a wet dark room for traditional photography, gallery space and classrooms. The Pellegrini Athletic Complex includes an all-purpose turf field, an eight-lane all-weather track and new tennis courts.
    • Duffy Arts Center

List of 2 items.

  • Heritage

    Malvern Prep is a proud part of the Augustinian heritage that dates back to St. Augustine of Hippp (354-430 A.D.), a North African Christian, Priest and Bishop. Augustine developed a sprituality and pedagogy that transcends his lifetime and was formally established in the 13th century when his followers, at the encouragement of the papacy established the Order of St. Augustine (O.S.A.). This Order is now worldwide and came to the United States in 1796 with the arrival of Irish Friars to Philadelphia at St. Augustine Church. The American Province established a college and high school in Radnor Township in 1842 and named it Villanova College, in honor of the Spanish Augustinian Friar, St. Thomas of Villanova. Malvern Prep traces its heritage to that point, although it moved to it's current location in Malvern, Chester County in the 1920's.

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  • Values

    Malvern Prep expects each member of the School family to demonstrate core values as a member of the Christian community.
    • Members of the Malvern community will come to an awareness of God, especially in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
    • Members of the community will adhere to the values of integrity, love of learning and perseverance.
    • Members of the community will show respect, charity and loyalty, and they will respond to a call of service.