Many of the dear friends who have given generously to Thomas Aquinas College and its students over the years gathered in downtown Los Angeles on December 8 for the annual Christmas Appreciation Dinner. There they enjoyed excellent food, fine music, and good company, plus a tribute to the man whose leadership made the gathering — and the College itself — possible.
Although the evening marked the first such event to be held since the October death of Founding President Ronald P. McArthur, Dr. McArthur was still very much there in spirit. The guest of honor was his wife, Marilyn, “the First Lady of Thomas Aquinas College,” who, for the better part of 40 years, served the institution and its students tirelessly.
Beginning the night’s tribute to the McArthurs, President Michael F. McLean quoted from the Book of Proverbs, saying “A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he shall have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” He then went on to add, “Marilyn is that worthy woman of the Bible and the great blessing of Ron’s life. They met at the San Francisco College for Women, when Marilyn was a student in one of Ron’s classes. When they married, they couldn’t have known then what the future would hold for them — and the many hundreds, and now thousands of alumni who would become their spiritual children.”
Calling Mrs. McArthur “a blessing to all of us associated with the College,” Dr. McLean played the following video “farewell” to Dr. McArthur on behalf of the College and all those who loved him:
In keeping with the theme of gratitude, Dr. McLean also took a moment to recognize other longtime benefactors of the College:
- The Dan Murphy Foundation: Noting that the Dan Murphy Foundation’s “first grant came to us in 1970, and then in nearly every year since that time,” Dr. McLean called the Los Angeles-based philanthropy “a true partner with the College over these many years, sharing in our milestones along the way and providing so magnificently for our students and our campus.” Representing the foundation was its president, Richard Grant and his wife, Maria, a member of the College’s Board of Governors.
- Irene and Mark Montgomery: “Mark has been a member of Board of Governors since 2004, but his and Irene’s friendship with the College started long before then,” remarked Dr. McLean. Mr. Montgomery’s father, Francis, was among the College’s earliest board members, and “Mark and Irene have continued his legacy of outstanding generosity with their own magnificent giving, much of it for financial aid for our students.”
Posted: December 11, 2013
“I am so blessed and thankful to be in such a beautiful place, one that inspires me to inquire about, observe, and love God’s creation.”
– Michelle Lawless (’13)
“Thomas Aquinas College is a paragon of what Catholic higher education ought to be.”
– William Cardinal Baum
Congregation for Catholic Education