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. 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 1927. 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 and 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.

Our Mission

An Augustinian School,
Catholic and Independent,
Living the Augustinian spirit of
Veritas, Unitas and Caritas.

Malvern Preparatory School

418 S. Warren Avenue
Malvern, PA 19355
(484) 595-1100
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