Giving Rate More than Quadruple National Average, Reflects Alumni Satisfaction
SANTA PAULA—December 19—U.S. News & World Report has named Thomas Aquinas College Number 2 out of more than 1,200 colleges and universities nationwide on its newly released rankings of alumni giving . The rankings are based on the percentage of alumni who contribute to their colleges and universities. Alumni-giving rates are, according to the magazine, “a gauge of alumni satisfaction” and a sign of “school spirit” — a reflection of how much graduates value the education they received as students.
“It’s not hard to get our graduates to contribute to their alma mater,” says Thomas Aquinas College Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer. “I just send them an e-mail, reminding them how important their donations are to the College’s future. Then the gifts start rolling in.”
It is because of such loyal support that “Our alumni — even if they are just starting out in the world, or if they have large families to provide for, or if they are priests — want to contribute to the College,” says Mr. Kretschmer. “They are grateful to have benefited from a Catholic liberal education, and they are eager to share that gift. Most of them received financial aid as students, and they are happy to give back to the more than 80 percent of our students who receive financial aid today.”
Whereas the national average for alumni giving over the last two years is 13 percent, Thomas Aquinas College’s rate is more than quadruple that figure, 58.9 percent. U.S. News has named the College to its Top 10 list for alumni giving for the last three years, and this year ranked it second in the United States, narrowly behind Princeton University.
“We are profoundly grateful to our alumni for their generous and sacrificial support,” says Vice President for Development Paul J. O’Reilly. “Not only do alumni gifts directly help to cover our $4 million in annual financial aid costs, but they also attract the support of philanthropic foundations, which use alumni-giving as a measure of the College’s institutional strength.”
Thus alumni gifts benefit the College many times over. As Dr. O’Reilly explains, “There is no stronger endorsement for the work we do here than the gratitude of our hard-working and loyal graduates.”
Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go on to the priesthood or religious life.