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Photos: College, Solar Eclipse Welcome Freshmen at Convocation 2017

Photos: College, Solar Eclipse Welcome Freshmen at Convocation 2017

Posted: August 21, 2017

On the morning of the first total solar eclipse to be visible across the United States in nearly a century, some 102 students, hailing from 3 countries and 26 states, matriculated as freshmen at Thomas Aquinas College — the Class of 2021.

The morning began with a Mass of the Holy Spirit in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, with the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, S.T.L., D.D., Archbishop of Oklahoma City, serving as the principal celebrant and homilist. “Light shines in the darkness,” said His Excellency, referencing the day’s celestial phenomenon. “This place shines in a world that is experiencing a disturbing eclipse, not only of faith and reason but of common sense and human decency and ordinary virtue. This is what your unique education here at Thomas Aquinas is preparing you to be, light in the darkness, holy men and women.”

  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit 2017
    Slideshow: Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit

Following the Mass, students, faculty, and staff gathered outside St. Joseph Commons, where they donned safety glasses and watched the eclipse (65 percent visible in Southern California):

 Members of the student body view the solar eclipse … Members of the student body view the solar eclipse …

… as does the Thomas Aquinas College faculty. … as does the Thomas Aquinas College faculty.

The group then headed indoors for the Matriculation Ceremony. There, members of the Class of 2021 began their tenure as students when Director of Admissions Jon Daly called their names. One at a time they approached the dais, greeting President Michael F. McLean and Archbishop Coakley, and then signed their names to the College’s registry.

  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony
  • Matriculation Ceremony 2017
    Slideshow: Matriculation ceremony

In addition to the new students, the College welcomed its newest tutors: Mr. Joshua Noble and Dr. Stephen Shivone. With Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., leading them, the two educators made the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, as do all new Catholic members of the College’s teaching faculty. Dr. McLean then spoke to the Class of 2021 in his Matriculation Address. “The educational and spiritual life of the College is ordered to wisdom about the highest things,” he said. “In short, it is designed to deepen your knowledge and love of God.”

Archbishop Coakley next delivered his remarks to the members of the new Freshman Class. “Coming here today is very much like a homecoming, though it’s the first time I’ve been here,” he said. “I feel as if we are first cousins, and I am so truly excited for the experience that you freshmen are embarking upon today.”

Dr. McLean then proclaimed the start of the College’s 47th academic year. As in years past the students responded with loud applause. Members of the faculty and Board of Governors then processed out of the Commons as all sang “Immaculate Mary” in joyful anticipation of the new year, now at hand.