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Photos: Members of First Class Visit Thomas Aquinas College, New England!

Photos: Members of First Class Visit Thomas Aquinas College, New England!

Posted: April 29, 2019

Over the recently concluded Easter Recess, a group of freshmen who will transfer to Thomas Aquinas College’s new campus in the fall paid a quick visit to their future home. Joined by two members of the California faculty who are also making the move, as well as two of next year’s resident advisers, some 27 members of the first class set foot, for the very first time, on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College, New England.

  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus
  • New England Student Visit 2019
    Slideshow: Students Visit the New England campus

The trip began late in the evening on Easter Tuesday with a redeye flight from Los Angeles to Boston. From there, the group traveled west, stopping in historic Concord for breakfast before making their way to the Northfield, Massachusetts, campus. “It was huge,” recalls Mary Baker (’22). “You can’t capture the rolling hills in the pictures. There were so many hills — I’m looking forward to sledding down them! It was beautiful, just beautiful. I am still shocked by how beautiful it was.”

After settling into their residence halls, the students gathered for a tour of the century-old campus, the former site of a local boarding school. “The tour took longer than it was supposed to because we were all excited and we wanted to look into every single room of every single building,” says Miss Baker. Plans for excursions to some surrounding sights were scuttled so students could spend as much time as they liked investigating the red-brick buildings, the Gothic chapel, the nearby Connecticut River, and the campus’ gymnasium and indoor swimming pool.

That evening, the visitors enjoyed a barbeque dinner at Hibbard Hall with the associate dean for the New England campus, Dr. Thomas J. Kaiser. The group delighted in the warm spring weather and s’mores by the fire. Tired from the previous night’s travel, however, most retired early. They all met up for Mass the next morning in the chapel’s basement sacristy. (Upstairs, the building was being renovated for Catholic worship, in order to be ready for the start of classes in the fall.) The members of the campus’ first class then had breakfast in Merrill-Keep hall before taking a brief walk into town. They then boarded their vans for the return trip home — less than 24 hours after their arrival on campus.

“Before we left, Dr. Kaiser gave a little talk about how, against all odds, one thing after another has worked out for the College in establishing this campus,” says Thomas Doylend (’22). “It really crystallized the fact that, for the College as well as for the students who are going, this is a mission.”

Visiting the campus affirmed the decision of these pioneers’ to venture eastward. “Before the trip, I was excited about going. But being here in California, you can’t help thinking, ‘It’s so hard to say goodbye,’ because you don’t know what you’re going to — and you know what you’re leaving,” says Miss Baker. “But having visited the campus, I can now plan my dorm room because I know what it’s going to look like, and I can imagine walking to class because I’ve walked the campus. It’s made me more excited, and more prepared to leave, because I know where I am going.”

“This is truly a Catholic center of learning because it reverberates with the ecclesial life of faith, a faith which unfolds the richness of reason and is given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, and through prayer, acts of charity, and a passion for justice.”

– The Most Rev. J. Michael Miller

Archbishop of Vancouver

Former Secretary, Congregation for Catholic Education

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