SANTA PAULA, CALIF—The Fritz B. Burns Foundation recently awarded a grant of $3 million to Thomas Aquinas College for the construction of its Faculty Office Building. The grant, to be paid out over the next six years, comes as Thomas Aquinas College enters the last third of its 7-year, $75 Million Comprehensive Campaign. Burns Foundation executive director, Ken Skinner, made the announcement at the college's annual donor appreciation dinner last month at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. The grant will cover about half the cost of constructing the Faculty Office Building on the Thomas Aquinas College campus.
This extraordinary grant is the latest in a series of generous grants from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, whose long and fruitful partnership with the college began with that institution's founder, more than 30 years ago. Mr. Fritz Burns was introduced to Thomas Aquinas College in 1971 and contributed $10,000 to the $150,000 Founder's Fund to open and operate the college during its first year. Impressed by this new academic endeavor called Thomas Aquinas College and its promise for the future of the Catholic Church and society, he became actively involved with the college through generous giving as well as serving on the college's Campus Planning Committee.
Artist's rendering of the Faculty Office Building's west elevation. After Mr. Burns' death in 1979, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation took up the mantle of its founder. In the years since, the Burns Foundation has generously contributed to the construction of four of the 15 buildings called for by the college's Master Plan: a classroom building -- St. Augustine Hall; the Albertus Magnus Science Hall; and two men's residences -- St. Bernard's Hall (named for the patron saint of Fritz Burns' father) and Blessed Serra Hall.
The college has long planned for a Faculty Office Building to provide suitable accomodations for its teaching faculty and executive and administrative staff. This signature academic building will welcome visitors to the campus and serve as a nexus for all college affairs. Like the other buildings on the campus, it will be designed in the California Mission revival style. By bringing under one roof the faculty and administration of the College, the Faculty Office Building will reflect the unifying purpose that animates the Thomas Aquinas College community: to provide students the best in Catholic higher education by cultivating the intellectual and moral virtues through a fully integrated course of study.
Following the announcement of the $3 million Burns Foundation grant, college president Dr. Thomas E. Dillon responded, saying, "On behalf of the entire Thomas Aquinas College community, I offer my profound thanks to Mr. Skinner and all the Trustees of the Foundation. Your partnership with Thomas Aquinas College is helping to accomplish great good in the lives of our students and, through our graduates, for the Church and our country. We shall be forever grateful to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation for its generosity and especially for this magnificent gift."