SANTA PAULA—October 1, 2013—As part of its annual ranking of American colleges and universities, U.S. News & World Report measures the percentage of alumni who contribute to their colleges and universities, so as to gauge graduates’ satisfaction with the education they have received. In its latest survey of more than 1,200 schools — based on average giving rates between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 — the magazine ranks Thomas Aquinas College first in the United States, unseating the previously “most beloved” college, Princeton University.
“We are profoundly grateful to our alumni for their generous and sacrificial support,” says Vice President for Development Paul J. O’Reilly. “Not only do alumni gifts directly help to cover our $4 million in annual financial aid costs, but they also attract the support of philanthropic foundations, which use alumni giving as a measure of the College’s institutional strength.”
The College’s 63.7 percent alumni-giving rate — a 5 point increase since last year — bucks a national trend of declining contributions, according to U.S. News. The College’s rate is nearly five times greater than the national average rate of 12.8 percent, and 7.8 percentage points higher than the average among those schools with the Top 10 highest rates (55.9 percent). The College is one of only two Catholic institutions to make the Top 10 rankings, and the only one from the Western United States.
“Our alumni — even if they are just starting out in the world, or if they have large families to provide for, or if they are priests — want to contribute to the College,” says Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer. “They are grateful to have benefited from a Catholic liberal education, and they are eager to share that gift. Most of them received financial aid as students, and they are happy to give back to the more than 70 percent of our students who receive financial aid today.”
Adds Dr. O’Reilly, “There is no stronger endorsement for the work we do here than the gratitude of our hard-working and loyal graduates.”
Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go on to the priesthood or religious life.