Five young Irish Augustinian priests, led by Fr Ben O’Donnell OSA, established Villanova College at Whinstanes in the suburb of Hamilton. The Whinstanes property featured a stained-glass window with the motto Vincit Veritas (“Truth Conquers”), which mimicked St Augustine’s own dictum: “What is more noble, brothers, than to be conquered and governed by truth?”
Villanova College moved from Whinstanes to Coorparoo in order to facilitate student growth. It has since flourished into the proud Catholic school we know and love today.
1948 - 1958
Fr Ben O'Donnell OSA
Founding Member and First Rector of Villanova, Fr O’Donnell OSA was a quiet, friendly man. His fellow Australian Augustinians were young and full of energy. They quickly established personal links with many members of the local Catholic community, which rallied to support their ambitions. This close relationship between staff and parents and friends of students of the College has been a defining trait of Villanova ever since.
1959 - 1964
Fr Louis Hanrahan OSA
Villanova’s second Prior and Rector, Fr Hanrahan OSA, co-founded Brisbane’s first Catholic theatre group, the Villanova Players, in 1948. Language, music, drama and the visual arts have played an important part in the curricular and co-curricular programs at the College ever since.
1965 – 1970
Fr Kevin Burman OSA
Fr Kevin Burman OSA, third Rector of the College, helped provide facilities to further accommodate Villanova’s curriculum including the original library, science labs and swimming pool. Fr Burman OSA also sought out graduates who could further enhance the academic strength of the College, while at the same time bringing sporting success to all grades.
1971 – 1976
Fr Donal Paul Dempsey OSA
Fr Donal Paul Dempsey OSA was part of Villanova’s permanent staff from 1955 until 1969, returning in 1971 to assume the role of Rector of the College. Fr Dempsey OSA had a particular enthusiasm for art, music and drama, and his encouragement of parent involvement in school life reinforced Villanova’s valued tradition.
1976 – 1986
Fr Laurence Mooney OSA
Fr Laurence Mooney OSA, past student and the College’s fifth Rector, brought great change to education in Queensland. He explicitly articulated Augustinian educational philosphies and Villanova’s distinctive ethos in developing staff. Fr Mooney OSA further fostered the sense of community within Villanova, emphasising the role of students by founding the Student Council.
1987 – 1994
Fr Peter Weineke OSA
During his time as Rector of Villanova, Fr Peter Weineke OSA encouraged all students to take pride in their school when wearing the uniform, whether during class, on the sporting field or outside of school hours. By doing so he kept alive Villanova’s community spirit, a treasured characteristic of the College since its foundation. Fr Weineke OSA’s leadership saw the greening and general improvement of school grounds, along with flourishing co-curricular activities.
1995 – 2009
Fr Michael Morahan OSA
In January 1995, Fr Michael Morahan OSA became the third past pupil to be appointed Rector of Villanova. Fr Morahan OSA excelled in that role for fifteen years, making him Villanova’s longest-serving principal and the last Augustinian Rector of the College. During his leadership, the College reached its highest enrolment figures, a number of successive strategic plans were developed and adopted, and the role of the College Council was enhanced. At the conclusion of Fr Morahan OSA’s rectorship, a system of restorative justice had been introduced in school discipline, a collaborative executive leadership developed and a path had been prepared for lay leadership in the College’s future.
2010 – 2014
Mr Dennis Harvey
Prior to his appointment as Villanova’s first lay principal in 2010, Dennis was both a past student (Senior Class ’71) and former staff member of the College (1984-1994). As Principal of Villanova, Dennis built on the school’s strong foundation established during Fr Michael Morahan’s rectorship: academic excellence, student behaviour management based on restorative justice practices and collaborative executive leadership. As well as the pursuit of strong classroom academic achievement for all students, Dennis was an advocate of the performing and fine arts, and a supporter of sport. Enhanced student performance and achievement in all three areas were evident during Dennis’ leadership.
2015 – present
Mr Mark Stower
As current Principal of Villanova College, Mark brings a wealth of teaching and leadership experience to all aspects of school life. His charismatic personality and level-headed determination have influenced vast improvements to the College in a short amount of time.