Saturday, November 20, 2010

Universidad de Santo Tomás de Villanueva then and now

Aerial photo of Villanueva taken from 1957 yearbook

Inside the church

One of my colleagues is a relative of the late Rev. John Kelly, former rector at la Universidad de Santo Tomás de Villanueva along Quinta Avenida in Havana.
The university is now a school for computer science students, but the church is closed.
I shot photos of the church a few weeks ago and am posting them here, along with some old photos of the church that I took from a 1957 Villanueva yearbook.
It looks like the cross is missing from the top of the church. I wonder what happened to that.
I am interested in talking to anyone who attended Villanueva before or around the time Fidel Castro took power. Please e-mail me if you attended or know someone who did and would like to share your memories of the school for a story. I'm also interested in knowing if there is talk or plans of someday reopening or restoring the church.


Isabel said...
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Isabel said...

My father taught at the university up to the time of the revolution. I believe he was the head of the psychology department. He is now deceased. His name is Leopoldo Barroso. I hope to travel to Cuba very soon and would love to visit Villanueva. My father always spoke fondly of his years there. Isabel Almonte

Tracey Eaton said...

Good luck, Isabel. I hope you are able to visit Villanueva. Saludos, Tracey

David Flynn said...

Tracey my parents were students at Villanova in the 1950s when Fidel was at the U Nacional. I want to visit what is left of Villanueva for sentimental reasons. Please contact me by email.

Nada Humano me es Ajeno said...

I was a junior student of Chemical Engineering when the Ley 11 eventually ended the life of the University of Villanueva. It had a formidable faculty with professors like Manuel Suárez Carreño, José Antonio de La Vega, Julio Pita and many others. All my classmates went into exile in 1961 and had very successful careers in the US. The loss of the University and the human talent it educated can never be recovered. The University had been founded in 1946 and declared Pontifical University in 1956. Its prestige was similar to the great american universities of the times. We had no problems joining and competing with full fledged american university standards. What a pity and a loss to Cuba.

Search to Learn said...

My father, Felipe Gomez Albarran taught architecture courses.

I am trying to gather bits and pieces of information. Anything will be helpful!

Isabel said...

I finally had an opportunity to return to Cuba after 54 years! It was an exciting and emotional trip. I visited Villanueva as my father had taught there. My pictures are similar to the ones on this site. We were not allowed to enter as classes were in session. We also visited our old neighborhood and found our home. It was in deplorable condition. But....we found an elderly cousin living in the home with her daughter, son in law, and grandson! We now know for sure that we have family in Cuba. My father had lost touch with his niece and we believed that she had sold the home as she was not able to maintain it. We exchanged e mail, phone numbers, etc. I learned so much on this trip and hope to return to my birthplace. Three of my sisters are "Pedro Pan" children and also wish to visit Cuba.

Tracey Eaton said...

That's great you were able to return to Cuba. It must have been quite a trip!
It's nice to hear you are reconnecting with family members in Cuba. I wish you the best!

Justine Levine said...

I just found your site and wanted to thank you for the photos. My father, Carlos Hernandez, got his degree here (likely in the theology faculty), and taught here and at other schools in Cuba as well, until they were expelled from the country. He landed in Miami, like many of his fellow colleagues, and eventually was appointed to another post further north.

Tracey Eaton said...

Thanks for getting in touch. I haven't stopped by the school lately, but will be in Cuba in December and will try to go by the school to see what it looks like now.