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Friends Celebrate <br>Arrival of College <br>at New England Campus

Friends Celebrate
Arrival of College
at New England Campus

Posted: October 29, 2018

Some 200 friends of Thomas Aquinas College gathered on its New England campus on Sunday, rejoicing in the news that the College will soon offer its program of Catholic liberal education on the East Coast. “We have endeavored to trust in the Lord throughout this entire process,” said President Michael F. McLean, “from acquiring the campus in May 2017 through the arduous process of gaining the approval of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education — an approval we are celebrating today.”

  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus
  • New England Reception 2018
    Slideshow: Reception on the New England campus

The day began, fittingly, with thanksgiving, as an alumnus priest, Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94), offered Mass in Sage Chapel. Although not yet renovated for Catholic worship, the beautiful stone building was furnished for the occasion with an altar and crucifix. Adding to the sense of reverence were the sacred hymns emanating from the choir loft, sung by the choir of the nearby Trivium School, whose director is also a graduate of the College, Clarke Mitchell (’11).

After Mass, the group went to the dining area in Hibbard Hall for a luncheon, where attendees were welcomed by Director of Admissions Jon Daly and President McLean. “We are celebrating our approval, yes, indeed, but more importantly, we’re celebrating the opportunity to bring genuine Catholic liberal education to those young Catholics able and willing to pursue our program, with all the benefits that implies for their communities, their country, and the Church,” said Dr. McLean. “We should all be grateful to God for this day and for the blessings He has bestowed on the College in enabling us to come to New England and bring the highest quality Catholic liberal education to this region.”

Following Dr. McLean’s remarks, Fr. Sebastian spoke to those gathered about how he first came to the College, having already earned a degree in electrical engineering, but hoping to broaden his education. Although he intended to remain an engineer, his time at the College helped him to discern his religious vocation, leading him to join the Norbertine Fathers in Silverado, California, where he now teaches philosophy to seminarians.

“I cannot overstate the good the College has done for me personally and the good the College has done for the Church at large,” said Fr. Sebastian. “Catholic education isn’t just adding Catholic religion classes to a secular education; it’s not putting Catholic icing on a secular cake. It’s a better cake. It’s a cake that finds a deeper wisdom, a truer wisdom, a wisdom which is ultimately more satisfying for the human soul and leads us to a greater happiness. And, to my knowledge, Thomas Aquinas College is the only college that really gets that.”

Finally the group heard from Dr. Thomas Kaiser, a senior member of the College’s teaching faculty, who, as associate dean, will head up the team of faculty that will launch the New England campus. A member of the College’s first graduating class in 1975, Dr. Kaiser spoke about what the initial group of students in New England will experience as pioneers for the College. “The first few classes will set the standards for the school. They will help us adjust to life on campus; they will make the traditions that will be carried on from class to class; and they play a very important role,” he said. “I found that the biggest honor of my life was to be a member of that first graduating class.”

After the luncheon Dr. McLean led the group on a tour of the campus, which included stops at Palmer Hall (a classroom building), Gould Hall (most notably, its dining commons), Meany Gymnasium (site of an indoor pool, basketball court, exercise room, and climbing wall), and on to the Olivia Music Hall. The day ended in the Merrill-Keep residence hall for an hour of conversation and hot beverages before attendees made their way home.

Located on the century-old, former grounds of a boarding school, Thomas Aquinas College, New England, has begun accepting applications for the Class of 2023. Pending the approval of its accrediting agency, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, the College anticipates admitting students to the new campus within the next few months.

Thomas Esser (’18)

“It’s wonderful how, in the integrated curriculum, everything matches up. You’ll be reading one thing in language class, and then it will come up again in philosophy, and goes on to affect everything you read from then on. You get a deeper understanding of each discipline by seeing how they connect with the others.”

– Thomas Esser (’18)

Chino Hills, California

“On behalf of the Church in Phoenix, I want to express my appreciation of the witness to Christ offered by the faculty, staff, and students of this exceptional institution, and to thank you for your love of learning and your desire to offer fitting worship to the Blessed Trinity.”

– Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted

Bishop of Phoenix

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