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President Michael F. McLean:
What Has Changed, and What Has Not,
at Thomas Aquinas College

Posted: May 22, 2017

Dear Friend,

I write to you today about what has changed at Thomas Aquinas College. But also about what has not changed.

What has changed? The College now owns two campuses.

Earlier this month, I signed the final agreement with the National Christian Foundation for the gift of a fully constructed campus in the town of Northfield, Massachusetts. We are honored and humbled by the Foundation’s magnificent generosity, and I ask you to keep its officers and directors in your prayers.

For years our Admissions waitlists have testified to the demand for the College’s program of Catholic liberal education. We want to give as many students as possible the opportunity to benefit from this education, but at the same time, our limited enrollment is key to its success. Because our classes proceed by means of discussion, we want to ensure that every student’s voice is heard. To keep class sizes small and to foster a close community life, both our program and our campus have been designed for a maximum of 400 students.

Sage ChapelContingent upon the approval of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, the New England campus will allow us, in time, to double our total enrollment without losing these advantages. We also hope that applicants who would not previously have done so will explore our program, confident that on either coast they will find the same curriculum, the same search for truth. We pray that God will help us to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity, as we build on what we have already established.

This prayer brings me to what has not changed.

Here in Santa Paula we continue to guide students through the program that our founders designed more than 40 years ago. Last week, we celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2017 at our 43rd  Commencement ceremony, and we are already hard at work preparing the campus for a busy summer — including our Summer Seminar weekends and the High School Great Books Program — before, in just three months, welcoming the Class of 2021.

The work of Thomas Aquinas College is happening right now. While we look with hope and joy to the future, we cannot neglect our present responsibilities.

Each year, we calculate the Annual Fund goal that will enable us to meet those responsibilities. The money we raise allows us to keep our promise to our students: that no one will be turned away because he or she cannot afford tuition.

Our fiscal year will end on June 30, just a few weeks from now. We are still short of our goal of $5.4 million.

Please rejoice with us over our plans for Thomas Aquinas College, New England. But please also consider making a gift to sustain our current work at Thomas Aquinas College, California. Anything you can give — whether it is $500, $100, or even $25 — will help us to close this truly extraordinary year on a strong financial footing and leave us better prepared for the tasks that lie ahead.

Last year, Peter Covington (’17) wrote that at the College, “I have been given the tools and desire to live a virtuous and holy life.” By God’s grace, and with your help, students like Peter will continue to find those tools here in our community. Thank you for your support, your friendship, and your prayers.


Michael F. McLean, Ph.D.

A Message from President McLean

Dr. Michael F. McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College

Isabella Hsu (’18) on integrated curriculum

“It is amazing to read all the different works from a wide range of disciplines, and see the same truth popping up again and again — whether it’s in Euclid, or theology, or natural science. It all comes together to form a full picture.”

– Isabella Hsu (’18)

Redondo Beach, California

“Thomas Aquinas College has always been thoroughly Catholic in its identity. It's an outstanding program of studies, founded on a loyalty to the Chair of Peter and to the Magisterium of the Church.”

– Raymond Cardinal Burke

Prefect, Supreme Tribunal

of the Apostolic Signatura