SANTA PAULA, Calif.—On Monday, August 21, 2006, the Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs will preside over convocation ceremonies at Thomas Aquinas College. The school anticipates 103 freshmen-the largest class to date-to matriculate. Incoming students have an average SAT score of 1283 and hail from 35 states, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Eleven percent of the freshman class has previous college experience.
The day will begin with a Mass of the Holy Spirit at which Bishop Sheridan will be the principal celebrant and preach the homily. Matriculation will follow, with faculty and members of the college's governing board in academic regalia. During the ceremony, longtime chaplain and newly-appointed Assistant to the Dean for Religious Affairs, Rev. Wilfred Borden, O.M.I., will administer the Oath of Fidelity to new members of the teaching faculty and lead them in a profession of faith.
This year, the college will welcome three new tutors to its teaching faculty. Jeffrey Lehman, a recent convert o Catholicism, holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Dallas (UD) and comes from Biola University. John Finley ('99) is a PhD candidate in philosophy also from UD; he will be following in the footsteps of his late father, Norman DeSilva ('75), who was a member of the Thomas Aquinas College teaching faculty in the early 80's. Also returning to campus is Joseph Hattrup ('01), another graduate who has completed his coursework for a PhD in philosophy at the University of Houston. All three have completed an intensive interview process, demonstrating facility with the Socratic discussion method used in all the classes at the four-year school, and each displays substantial intellectual competence across the broad spectrum of disciplines in the rigorous curriculum.
Says President Thomas E. Dillon, "The faculty of the college are the key to our success. With their intelligence, their discipline, and their humility, they serve not only as guides for our students in pursuit of truth, but also models of the intellectual and moral virtues. When recruiting new faculty members, these are the qualities we look for, and I am delighted to have appointed three new members to this impressive group."
About Bishop Michael J. Sheridan:
Bishop Michael Sheridan was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 4, 1945. He was ordained as a diocesan priest by Cardinal John J. Carberry on May 29, 1971. In the course of the next 25 years, he served in various parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and as a professor of theology at Kenrick Seminary; he also taught for a time at St. Thomas Aquinas-Mercy High School. On September 3, 1997, Bishop Sheridan was ordained as an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis by then-Archbishop Rigali. On December 4, 2001, Bishop Sheridan was appointed coadjutor bishop of Colorado Springs; he became the second Bishop of Colorado Springs on January 30, 2003, following the resignation of Bishop Richard C. Hanifen.
Bishop Sheridan holds several graduate degrees in theology, including a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the North American College in Rome, a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services, and a member of the Committee on Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is also a member of the International Dominican Foundation and a member of Kenrick/Glennon Seminary Board of Trustees.
The Diocese of Colorado Springs was founded in 1984 with 65,000 Catholics in 25 parishes and 10 missions. Today, it has over 135,000 Catholics with 42 parishes and missions throughout ten central and eastern counties of Colorado.