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Alumni and Friends Help Re-open
New England Campus for Fall Semester

Posted: September 2, 2020

“It never ceases to amaze me how generous our friends and alumni are,” says Dr. Thomas Kaiser, Dean of Thomas Aquinas College, New England — “or how quickly they respond to our needs.”

Last month Dr. Kaiser sent an email to friends and alumni of the College, asking them to help re-open the New England campus by assisting with COVID-19 related expenses. “As part of our re-opening plan, we are renovating the antiquated Tracy Student Center so that it will be a fun, desirable spot for students to gather and socialize without leaving campus,” he explained. “With Convocation Day set for August 22, we must move quickly!”

Within minutes gifts began coming in from many of the College’s faithful supporters, as well as from many first-time benefactors. To date, the College’s friends and alumni have provided funding for 69 items identified on a gift registry of re-opening needs, from espresso machines to ping-pong tables, totaling more than $30,000 in value. Thanks to this outpouring of generosity, the beautiful Tracy Student Center, built in the 19th century, is well on its way to becoming the campus’ new coffee shop, recreation center, and dance hall.

“It’s really gratifying to see,” says Dr. Patrick Gardner, assistant dean for student affairs. “Even with the economic turmoil that has also been a consequence of COVD-19, our alumni and benefactors are thinking about our students here and thinking about how to help them flourish during this time.”

According to Dr. Gardner, this generosity will help ensure a thriving campus life, which is essential for the health and academic well-being of the students. “This is a community of friends,” he explains. “The College wouldn’t succeed if the people involved didn’t grow to like one another and enjoy working together, especially given the Discussion Method.”

Last year, the College surveyed New England students to find out what sort of amenities they would like to see in the Tracy Student Center. Officials likewise assessed what other campus needs they must meet in order to accommodate the growing student body. As a result of this research came the gift registry, which is designed to make the campus the sort of place students won’t want to leave.

“It is important to keep our campus free from infection,” says Dr. Kaiser. “The best way to do this is to encourage our students to stay on campus as much as possible. We believe that the Student Center will be a more desirable place to be than anywhere in the local area.”

With so many of the furnishings now sponsored, the College was able to open the Tracy Student Center for use at the beginning of the academic year. “There are so many people down there all the time,” says junior Mary O’Reilly. Adds her classmate Kevin Murphy, “I think the Tracy Student Center is going to offer students a much more formal and organized place to spend time with each other. That’s something that really has been lacking on campus up until now.”

Humbled by these gifts, Dr. Kaiser is determined to make the most of them. “We are very grateful for this support,” he says. “I would like to assure our benefactors that their donations will be put to good use and that we ask God’s blessings for their generosity.”

Although the Tracy Student Center is now operational, the registry of re-opening needs still contains many unsponsored items that are necessary to ensure the success of the new academic year. Please visit the registry to see how you can help!

Mary OReilly brews coffee in the Tracy Student Center - 2020

Mary O’Reilly (’22) brews a cup in the newly opened Tracy Student Center coffee shop.

“Thomas Aquinas College has always been thoroughly Catholic in its identity. It's an outstanding program of studies, founded on a loyalty to the Chair of Peter and to the Magisterium of the Church.”

– Raymond Cardinal Burke

Prefect Emeritus, Supreme Tribunal

of the Apostolic Signatura