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Beaches, Mountains & More

Beaches, Mountains & More

Students watch mountain sunsetThe campus of Thomas Aquinas College gives form to the notion of being “in the world, but not of it.” Close enough that students can occasionally avail themselves of the attractions of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and greater Southern California, but far enough removed that they will not become distracted by them, it is a place of respite, not isolation.

Situated in a verdant meadow in the foothills of the Topatopa Mountains, the campus is designed with beauty and serenity in mind. Among centuries-old oak trees and Mission-style buildings there are quiet alcoves, prayer gardens, fountains, and ponds. It is an ideal place for study, prayer, reading, and contemplation.

Students tour the Norton Simon MuseumAnd just beyond the campus’ boundaries are myriad opportunities for excursions, both natural and cultural.

Bordering the campus is the Los Padres National Forest, with its hiking trails, natural swimming ponds, and glorious views that extend far into the Pacific Ocean. Here students come on afternoons and weekends for backpacking, bushwhacking, camping, and rock-climbing. A short, 25 minutes’ drive away are the beaches of Ventura County with their tidal pools, volleyball courts, and paths for running and bicycling. There are spots for fishing, parks for relaxing, waves for surfing, and long stretches of sand where students visit to picnic, socialize, or study.

Students go hikingThanks to the blessings of the Southern California climate, one can enjoy these marvels of God’s creation all year long, with little more than a sweater for protection.

The College is located roughly halfway between the cities of Ojai and Santa Paula, which offer numerous cafes, shops, and bistros. Even more such venues are available in Ventura, just 15 miles away. Within about an hour’s drive are the larger cities of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, which boast a full array of cultural attractions such as museums, operas, concerts, and theaters.

Students build a sand castleThe location of the Thomas Aquinas College campus is very much in keeping with the mission of the College’s academic program, which aims not to shield students from the world, but to prepare them for it — to partake of its goodness more fully, to appreciate its beauty more gratefully, and to defend more effectively the truth that sustains it.

Kathleen Murphy (’16) on integrated curriculum

“I think about the entire world differently since I have come here. I have learned certain truths, whether in the natural sciences or philosophy, that I never would have imagined I could know.”

– Kathleen Murphy (’16)

Cheshire, Connecticut

“Thomas Aquinas College is doing on the undergraduate level exactly what should be done. The College's alumni and alumnae prove that with this kind of education you can go on and do anything.”

– Dr. Ralph McInerny (†)

Scholar and Writer