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Furniture, Equipment from Shuttered College Find New Home at TAC, New England

Furniture, Equipment from Shuttered College Find New Home at TAC, New England

Posted: June 20, 2019

It’s a rainy day in Brookline, Massachusetts, and officials of Thomas Aquinas College are on the campus of the recently shuttered Newbury College, retrieving a wide array of furniture and other items, ranging from desks and chairs to a kitchen stove, gym equipment, and a grand piano.

“Literally all the furniture and everything that is not bolted to the floor is ours,” reports Isaac Cross, a member of Thomas Aquinas College’s newest graduating class who has relocated to Massachusetts to serve as a resident assistant on its soon-to-be-opened New England campus. “We have two large moving trucks and some professional movers to help us out.”

  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College
  • Retrieving Furniture from Newbury College
    Slideshow: Retrieving furniture from Newbury College

Newbury College is the latest entry in a long, unfortunate list of closures and consolidations that have afflicted small liberal arts institutions throughout the country, especially in the northeast, where competition is the most severe, and demographic trends the most ominous. In the last three years alone, the region has witnessed the demise of Mount Ida College, Burlington College, and the College of St. Joseph, to name just a few.

Yet amid the heartache over beloved institutions lost, as well as the frustration of displaced students and faculty, is a sign of hope. In this time of contraction, one small liberal arts college is expanding.

“Since our founding in 1971, we have seen a steady increase in the number of our applications from qualified students, and for some time they have exceeded the capacity of our California campus,” says Anne S. Forsyth, Thomas Aquinas College’s director of college relations. “So it was providential when the National Christian Foundation gifted us with the former campus of a preparatory school in Northfield, Massachusetts, thereby paving the way for the opening of Thomas Aquinas College, New England, this fall.”

The regrettable collapse of other small schools has proven fortuitous for the College, which must furnish its new campus in time for the start of classes in late August. “We’re a good, big buyer, so the shuttered colleges and liquidators have been happy to give us first look,” says Vice President for Finance Dennis McCarthy. “We got a first look at Newbury College a few weeks ago and bought the entire administration building, which was full of great desks, chairs, conference tables, etc. We also bought the contents of the gym, most of the dorms, and the kitchen.”

A crew of Thomas Aquinas College officials is on Newbury’s erstwhile campus today, led by the associate dean in Northfield, Dr. Thomas Kaiser. There they are collecting the College’s purchases, which include exercise bikes, monitors, pots, and pans. “As a small college, we know well that these items weren’t purchased easily, that each represents a sacrificial gift on the part of one or more benefactor,” says Mrs. Forsyth. “Our hope is to honor those benefactors and the institution they loved by putting these items to good use on our second campus.”

Of course Thomas Aquinas College’s own benefactors, as well as its students, applicants, and parents may rightly wonder how this institution has managed to buck the trend that is befalling so many other small, liberal arts schools.

“Our founders blessed us with an enduring vision for Catholic education that has proven remarkably resilient, whatever the trends and vicissitudes of the moment,” says Mrs. Forsyth. “It is also unique. We are the only school in the country to offer a genuinely Catholic liberal education rooted entirely in the Great Books and the Discussion Method. By God’s grace, this combination of timelessness and distinctiveness has allowed us to flourish, even during these difficult times.”

Thomas Aquinas College, New England, will host its first-ever program for rising high-school seniors later this summer, followed by its inaugural academic year, which begins on August 24. “A few spots are still open in the High School program and the first freshman class,” says Mrs. Forsyth. “So it’s not too late to apply!”

Meanwhile, officials continue to prepare the residence halls, dining commons, and classrooms with the College’s newly acquired equipment. “We are honored and delighted to be able to bring our academic program to a part of the country that is so rich in its educational history and heritage,” says Mrs. Forsyth, “And we very much hope that the students and faculty of Newbury College will find some consolation for their loss in knowing that many items from their campus have found a good home.”

Isaac Cross (’19) -- quote 1

“The Discussion Method gives you a sense of finding the truth for yourself, and thereby owning it, rather than being told what to think.”

– Isaac Cross (’19)

Leominster, Massachusetts

“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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