40th Anniversary Gala September 17, 2011

40th Anniversary Gala September 17, 2011

Thomas Aquinas College
40th Anniversary Gala

Beverly Wilshire Hotel • Beverly Hills
September 17, 2011
   Schedule of Events
4:45 p.m 
Mass of Thanksgiving
6:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
To purchase tickets, please contact events@thomasaquinas.edu.

Forty years ago this September, with neither an endowment nor a steady stream of revenue, with a freshman class of just 33 students, and with only the leased site of a shuttered seminary for a campus, Thomas Aquinas College began its first semester of classes. Forty years later, the College is celebrating the vision of its founders; the generosity of its benefactors; the accomplishments of its alumni; the hard work of its students, faculty, and staff; and four decades of abundant grace.

On September 17, 2011 — the feast day of St. Robert Bellarmine, scholar and teacher — the College will host its 40th Anniversary Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the first of several celebrations throughout the year. “It will be a night of thanksgiving, of looking back — and looking forward,” says President Michael F. McLean. “We have so much to be grateful for, and so many to be grateful to; this is our chance to reflect on the achievements and the promise of Thomas Aquinas College.”

Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop GomezHonorary Co-Chairmen

The Honorary Co-Chairmen for the 40th Anniversary Gala are the two shepherds who have guided the Archdiocese of Los Angeles this past year, the recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and his successor, the Most Rev. José H. Gomez. Although Cardinal Mahony will not be able to attend the event, Archbishop Gomez, who graciously served as the College’s 2011 Commencement Speaker, will be in attendance and will offer the Mass of Thanksgiving beforehand.

“We are especially honored and heartened that Archbishop Gomez would once again take the time during this busy first year of his new appointment to be with us,” says Dr. McLean. “We look forward to seeing him again, and to working with him well into the future.”

Keynote Speaker

Rev. Wojiech Giertych, O.P.The keynote speaker for the dinner is the theologian of the papal household, Rev. Wojciech Giertych, O.P. Commonly dubbed “the Pope’s theologian,” Fr. Giertych is charged with ensuring that the many speeches, articles, and remarks that are presented to the Holy Father for his approval are consistent with the tradition of the Church. He holds a licentiate in spiritual theology and a doctorate from the Angelicum, where he has been a professor of moral theology since 1994, teaching several Thomas Aquinas College graduates over the years. He also serves as a consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the International Theological Commission, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Formerly known as the Master of the Sacred Palace, the office of theologian of the papal household was established in 1218 with St. Dominic as its first occupant. It has been held by Dominicans exclusively ever since. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Giertych to the position in 2005. Below is a short trailer of a movie called “Master of the Sacred Palace,” featuring Fr. Giertych:

“We are grateful to the Chairman of our Board of Governors, Jim Wensley, and his wife, Germaine, for introducing the College to Fr. Giertych,” says Dr. McLean. “Because of our discipleship to St. Thomas, the College has always had a strong affinity with the Order of Preachers. Combining that with the centrality of theology in our curriculum, it is not only an honor but it is most fitting that this renowned Dominican theologian would speak at our anniversary gala.”

Richard and Maria GrantDinner Committee Co-Chairs

Serving as Co-Chairs for the Dinner Committee are two of the College’s dearest friends, Maria and Richard Grant. Mr. Grant is the president of the Dan Murphy Foundation, which has been magnificent in its generosity to Thomas Aquinas College over the years. Mrs. Grant is a trustee of the Dan Murphy Foundation, and a member of the College’s Board of Governors, serving as chairman from 2003 to 2009.

“It is by no means an overstatement to say that the College would not be where it is today were it not for the Grants,” says Dr. McLean. “Maria ably led us for six years as Board Chair; Richard’s wise counsel and the generosity of the Dan Murphy Foundation have made possible much of the physical growth of this campus. It is our hope that, in addition to celebrating the College, the Gala will also be a chance to celebrate these beloved friends and co-chairs.”

The Grants, meanwhile, express excitement about their involvement with the gala.  “We encourage friends of the College old and new, near and far, to join us.”

Order of Events
In gratitude to God, the 40th Anniversary celebration will begin with the Mass of Thanksgiving at 4:45 p.m. Archbishop Gomez will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist, joined at the altar by the College’s chaplains, alumni priests, and other clergy, with the Thomas Aquinas College Choir providing hymns and motets.

Following the Mass the Gala itself will begin at 6:00 p.m. At dinner, in addition to Fr. Giertych’s keynote address, there will be remarks from various College officials and a performance by the student choral group Chrysostomos. A swing band will also be on hand, and dancing is expected to continue into the night. “The Gala will have, we hope, three characteristics that have defined the College these past 40 years: prayerfulness, intellectual substance, and great joy,” says Dr. McLean.


To purchase tickets for the Thomas Aquinas College 40th Anniversary Gala, please contact events@thomasaquinas.edu.