The campus of Thomas Aquinas College gives form to the notion of being “in the world, but not of it.” Close enough that students can occasionally avail themselves of the attractions of greater Los Angeles, but far enough removed that they will not become distracted by them, it is a place of respite, not isolation.
Situated in a verdant meadow in the foothills of the Topatopa Mountains, the campus is designed with beauty and serenity in mind. Among centuries-old oak trees and Mission-style buildings there are quiet alcoves, prayer gardens, fountains, and ponds. It is an ideal place for study, prayer, reading, and contemplation.
And just beyond the campus’ boundaries are myriad opportunities for excursions, both natural and cultural.
Bordering the campus is the Los Padres National Forest, with its hiking trails, natural swimming ponds, and glorious views that extend far into the Pacific Ocean. Here students come on afternoons and weekends for backpacking, bushwhacking, camping, and rock-climbing. A short, 25 minutes’ drive away are the beaches of Ventura County with their tidal pools, volleyball courts, and paths for running and bicycling. There are spots for fishing, parks for relaxing, waves for surfing, and long stretches of sand where students visit to picnic, socialize, or study.
Thanks to the blessings of the Southern California climate, one can enjoy these marvels of God’s creation all year long, with little more than a sweater for protection.
The College is located roughly halfway between the cities of Ojai and Santa Paula, which offer numerous cafes, shops, and bistros. Even more such venues are available in Ventura, just 15 miles away. Within about an hour’s drive are the larger cities of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, which boast a full array of cultural attractions such as museums, operas, concerts, and theaters.
The location of the Thomas Aquinas College campus is very much in keeping with the mission of the College’s academic program, which aims not to shield students from the world, but to prepare them for it — to partake of its goodness more fully, to appreciate its beauty more gratefully, and to defend more effectively the truth that sustains it.