On Saturday, May 12, Mother Mary Assumpta Long, O.P., the foundress and prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, Mich., will serve as Commencement speaker at Thomas Aquinas College’s annual graduation exercises. A friend of the College since its founding in 1971, Mother Assumpta will also receive the school’s highest award, the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, in recognition of her lifelong fidelity and service to the Catholic Church.
Mother Assumpta will address a graduating class of 66 men and women who hail from across the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Australia. Having successfully completed a rigorous, four-year curriculum that includes mathematics, natural science, Latin, literature, philosophy, and theology, each graduate will receive a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in liberal arts. These new alumni will go on to a wide variety of pursuits including law, medicine, business, military service, education, and the priesthood and religious life.
“As a Catholic institution, Thomas Aquinas College takes seriously its responsibility to honor at Commencement men and women of stature who are, in both word and deed, examples of fidelity to Christ and His Church,” says President Michael F. McLean. “A consecrated religious with a zeal for souls that has borne fruit in the founding of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Mother Assumpta eminently meets that standard.”
Moreover this year’s Commencement speaker will provide a fine example for the College’s graduates as they plan for their futures. “For many years we have been blessed with princes of the Church who travel to our campus, often from Rome, and provide our young men, in particular, with inspiration as they discern the vocation to which God is calling them,” adds Dr. McLean. “While Mother Assumpta will certainly be an inspiration to us all, I think she will also touch the women in our community in a special way. Already we have two graduates who are members of Mother's congregation; perhaps there will be more!”
Graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are noted by employers as well as professional and graduate school professors for the strong intellectual and interpersonal skills they attain through the College’s unique great books program. Says Brian T. Kelly, dean of the College, “Our focus on the original texts of the greatest thinkers — authors like Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas — really hones the mind and accustoms it to think in terms of principles; and our small, discussion-based classes ensure that students are actively engaged in their own education, working together with their peers in a constructive and respectful way. As a result, not only do they make a good beginning in a lifelong pursuit of wisdom, they also acquire remarkably strong analytic skills and a distinctive ability to collaborate with colleagues.”
The College’s head chaplain and assistant to the dean for religious affairs, Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., will offer the Baccalaureate Mass at 9:00 a.m. on May 12 in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. Commencement will follow at 11:00 a.m. on the campus’ academic quadrangle. During the commencement program, the College will also award the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion to two of the school’s founders and longtime tutors, Dr. John W. Neumayr and Mr. Peter L. DeLuca, in recognition of their lifetime of devotion to authentic Catholic liberal education.