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Edwin L. Wiegand Trust Awards College Grant to Safeguard Dining Commons

Edwin L. Wiegand Trust Awards College Grant to Safeguard Dining Commons

Thanks to the generosity of the Edwin L. Wiegand Trust of Reno, Nevada, Thomas Aquinas College will be even better prepared should a natural disaster ever strike campus again, as it did last December.

The Wiegand Trust has awarded the College a $370,000 grant to purchase a backup power system for St. Joseph Commons, which houses the kitchen and dining room that serve nearly 400 students. The new equipment will ensure that in an emergency like the Thomas Fire — during which electricity and road access to the campus were curtailed for several days — students will be well-fed, and refrigerated food will not go to waste.

“We are deeply grateful to the Wiegand Trust for its help in protecting our campus from any number of possible setbacks, large or small,” says President Michael F. McLean. “Although the Thomas Fire was, by all accounts, a once-in-a-lifetime natural disaster, we are mindful that ensuring our students’ safety and well-being requires constant vigilance.”

As a result of the power outages that accompanied the fire, the College’s kitchen workers discarded more than 100 pounds of meat, produce, and frozen goods worth several thousands of dollars. And, in the following days, the College was prepared to spend tens of thousands more to rent power-generating equipment, which fortunately proved unnecessary when Southern California Edison was able to restore electricity sooner than first thought.

“It was a blessing that we evacuated the campus almost immediately after the fire began, so that we did not need to operate the Commons in those first few days,” says President McLean. “But it is easy to imagine how, were we ever to lose power again, maintaining food service could be a real difficulty. So it is a wonderful reassurance for the College and its families to know that the Wiegand Trust has enabled us to further safeguard our students and our campus.”

Suzie Jackson (’15)

“The texts we are reading ask the fundamental questions in life, which every human person needs to be able to answer. You want to answer these questions, and you experience the beauty of wonder in discussing them.”

– Suzie Jackson (’15)

Manassas, Va.

“The students that have had an opportunity to be part of the life of the College have been enriched by their experience in an environment conducive to achievement. Now in all walks of life, graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are contributing, by following a wide variety of pursuits, to the betterment of society.”

– Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino

President, Pontifical Council

for Justice and Peace