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Mother's Day

Today’s events are all planned to please the most deserving “girl” in the Villanova Student’s lifeVillanovan, 1966

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Junior Week, Mother's Day, circa late 1930s

VUA 35 Villanova Photograph Collection

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Mother’s Day tradition as part of Junior Week festivities began in 1935. The day’s events would include tree-planting ceremony, corsage giving, mass, luncheon, games, and entertainment. Having Mothers partake in Junior celebrations bolstered the idea of Villanova's community also representing families of students.

By the 1950s, more than 400 Mothers and Grandmothers would visit marking it as one of the largest events each year.


It was a fairly memorable year—1934. The Ethiopian War began, the Cardinals beat the Tigers in the World Series and on April 24, 1934, an event was begun on the Villanova campus which was to become a college tradition—Mother’s Day.

On that April day the festivities began with a reception at 1:30 in Mendel Hall, followed by a short tour of the laboratories and a swimming show in the field house. A tea closed the day at 4:00.

The following year the date was moved to the first week in May and the hungry mothers were given a luncheon instead of a tea but they still had to watch sonny’s lab experiments. In 1936, the date was May 4th and the day began with the usual Mass and flag raising by the Juniors. (This flag raising was the official opening of Junior Week and was held every year until the start of the Second World War.) In the afternoon the mothers were treated to a movie, “Life at Villanova” and a glee club recital in the Commerce and Finance Auditorium...- Mother’s Day Celebration program, 1953





15th Annual Mother's Day Celebration program, May 4, 1953

VUA 22 College and University Functions records

VUA 36 Villanova University Negatives Collection

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A long-standing tradition, that started long before it was incorporated with Mother's Day activities, is the Junior tree-planting ceremony. The tree-planting ceremony was considered the class tree, a precursor to more elaborate class gifts. Typically, the event was held after Mass and students would walk in a parade to plant the tree. With time, the tradition evolved to include Mothers participating by adding soil to the tree.








Junior Week program, 1926             

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VUA 36 Villanova Negatives Collection

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Baby Picture Contest | Play on "Daper Dan"

The Diaper Dan contest has an interesting start as its noted to have had its inaugral year in 1948 and 1951, nevertheless the contest would be a popular activity among the Mothers and continue into the early 1970s [1]. A couple months before Junior Week, the Mother's Day committee, comprised of six or seven Juniors, would plan out the activities and send Mothers and Grandmothers a call to bring baby photographs of the students. During the luncheon Mothers would vote on who was Mr. Diaper Dan.

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"Dear Villanovan Mother," Letter to Mothers on how to

participate in the contest.

VUA 22 College and Functions records


Illustration from 15th Annual Mother's Day Celebration program, May 4, 1953

VUA 22 College and Function records

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"...Class of '65 Produces Motley Crew of Kiddies," Diaper Dan contestants.

Villanovan, Junior Week Issue, 1964

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"Joe Stout proudly accepts the traditional Diaper Dan Trophy from his grandmother"

Belle Air yearbook, 1962


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Junior Week Mascot | Baby Contest

For a brief period starting in 1948, Junior Week included a mascot contest for the sons of the Junior class. Many of the class were WWII veterans who had already started a family and older than the traditional Junior.


Mascot, Edward A. Daly, Jr. with his parents, 1948.

VUA 36 Villanova Negatives collection

[1] Villanovan, Vol. 34. Junior Week issue, 1959