SANTA PAULA, Calif.-Young America's Foundation (YAF) has again included Thomas Aquinas College on its list of "Top Ten Conservative Colleges" in the United States that offer "a holistic conservative educational experience for students." Not only did Thomas Aquinas College make the list, it was the only college in the western U.S. to do so.
According to YAF, the 10 institutions chosen "proclaim, through their mission and programs, a dedication to discovering, maintaining and strengthening the conservative values of their students." Nine of the top ten colleges have a Christian affiliation, and three, including Thomas Aquinas College, are Catholic. Most of the institutions focus on studying the liberal arts, though Thomas Aquinas College is the only one with a curriculum comprised exclusively of the Great Books. Works read in the four-year, integrated program include the founding documents of the U.S., some of the original writings of the American founding fathers, and works on ethics and political life by authors from ancient to modern times.
While the mission statements of several of the colleges on YAF's "Top 10" list include explicitly political goals, Thomas Aquinas College's does not. Instead, its founding document describes an essentially Catholic institution devoted to the pursuit of wisdom, both human and divine. Graduates, nevertheless, tend to espouse conservative principles and go on to pursue a wide variety of careers and professions including education, law, religious life, business, journalism and medicine. Moreover, many work in public policy or are actively engaged in government and military service.
Founded in 1971, Thomas Aquinas College has built a solid national reputation for its rigorous academic program, and it is widely recognized for helping to cultivate intellectual and moral virtue in its students. It has consistently ranked among the top colleges and universities in the nation for the past 18 years. This year it was ranked as the #5 "Best Value" in the country by The Princeton Review. It was also ranked in the top tier of national liberal arts institutions by U.S. News & World Report in its 2008 America's Best Colleges.
About Young America's Foundation:
Young America's Foundation is a principal outreach organization of the conservative movement with offices in Herndon, Virginia, and at the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. The mission of Young America's Foundation is to ensure that American youths understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values. The Foundation provides conferences, seminars, educational materials, internships and speakers to young people across the country.