New England

October 23, 2018
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417
Hi-Res photos



SANTA PAULA, CA—October 23—Thomas Aquinas College is pleased to announce that it has received unanimous approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (the Board) to operate a branch campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, and to award the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. This approval comes as the result of a thorough and rigorous application process conducted by the Board’s legal and academic affairs staff at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). The Board’s grant of authority is subject to stipulations, the most important of which requires the college to submit annual status reports during its initial five years of operation, providing narrative and statistical information on the institution’s ongoing compliance with the Board’s standards. 

“This is a great accomplishment for the college,” says president Michael F. McLean, “and we are grateful to the Board for its thoughtful review.”

Having received the Board’s approval, the college is now seeking an extension of its accreditation to this second campus by its West coast accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission. “We anticipate a favorable conclusion to the accreditation process in the next few months,” said Dr. McLean, at which point Thomas Aquinas College will be able to formally open its doors to students in New England on a fully accredited branch. He added, “Starting today, while the accreditation process goes forward, our admissions office is accepting applications to the New England campus.”

Commenting on today’s approval by the Board, Chairman of the college’s Board of Governors R. Scott Turicchi said, “At a time when more than a quarter of the country’s liberal arts colleges have either closed, merged, or abandoned their mission, it is a testament to the excellence of Thomas Aquinas College’s unique program of Catholic liberal education and to its good stewardship that the school has received approval to operate a second campus.”

President McLean added, “The college wishes to thank all who have supported and encouraged us in this effort. Much gratitude is due to the citizens of Northfield who have welcomed Thomas Aquinas College representatives into the community; to the Moody Center, which has greatly facilitated the college’s plans for its New England campus; to the Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of Springfield, who has welcomed the college into his diocese; and to the National Christian Foundation and other friends and benefactors whose generosity has contributed both to our success in reaching this point and to our confidence as we move forward.  We are grateful to God for the opportunity to bring Thomas Aquinas College’s unique and highly regarded educational program to a region long known for quality higher education.”

Thomas Aquinas College was founded in 1969. It opened its doors to students on a leased campus in Calabasas, California in the fall of 1971, and relocated to its present campus in Santa Paula, California, in 1978. From its first year of operation, the 4-year, co-educational, Catholic school has attracted students from across the United States and abroad. It achieved full enrollment in 2005, and waiting lists have been growing in the years since.

About Thomas Aquinas College

A four-year, co-educational institution, Thomas Aquinas College has developed over the past 47 years a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad and is highly ranked by organizations such as The Princeton Review, U. S. News, and Kiplinger. At Thomas Aquinas College all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one, four-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. 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. Graduates consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents.

The college now plans to open a branch campus in Western Massachusetts in fall 2019 on the campus of the former Northfield School, given to it by the National Christian Foundation in May 2017. For additional information, visit