By God’s grace, Thomas Aquinas College has come a long way since its founding in 1971. Through the generosity of many benefactors, we obtained our first permanent, beautiful campus in California, erected handsome buildings worthy of their noble purpose, and hired a talented, dedicated roster of faculty. The student body then grew to its maximum size, leading us, in 2019, to launch a second campus, providentially provided, in New England. All the while, the College has remained loyal to its mission while becoming widely recognized as a model for the restoration of Catholic higher education. And our alumni, through their lives and work, have testified honorably to the virtues of the formation and education they have received here.
Nonetheless, financial challenges remain. Because of our humble origins, we spent our early years struggling to achieve solvency, not amassing a sizable endowment. Owing to the College’s relative youth, we lack the deep pool of alumni that other institutions can draw upon for their financial security. Moreover, we accept no direct government funding that compromises our mission in any way, nor do we receive any Church subsidies.
Meanwhile, we have always been determined to turn no qualified student away on the basis of financial need. Thus the College maintains a robust financial aid program, with a total cost of nearly $6 million a year, which makes attendance affordable for nearly 70 percent of the student body.
Throughout the decades, God has continually blessed us with generous benefactors — friends who share our commitment to an education illumined by the twin beacons of faith and reason. Even as He has called old friends home, He has never ceased to send new ones in their stead. Some of these friends are graduates, others “spiritual alumni,” benefactors who, out of great love for the College’s mission and its work, contribute — and are embraced — as though this were their own alma mater.
For these friends, contributions to our Annual Fund are a tremendous act of charity as well as a prudent investment. For students are not the only beneficiaries of a gift to Thomas Aquinas College. Fortified by their time and experiences here, these young men and women go on to share their faith, their intellects, their moral strength, and their talents far and wide. Whether as priests or religious, policymakers or professors, entrepreneurs or journalists, mothers or fathers, the College’s alumni become leaders in the service of truth, having a profound influence both within the Church and the broader society.
The effects of every gift to the Thomas Aquinas College Annual Fund, no matter the size, are incalculably large. So, too, is our gratitude. As a small act of thanksgiving, we remember the intentions of our benefactors at every Mass — six each day — offered in our two chapels.
Whether you are a member of the College’s actual or spiritual alumni, I ask you to consider making a gift today.The need is great, and the reward for your investment will be far greater still. On behalf of everyone here at the College, we praise God for your generosity and ask His blessings upon you and yours, both in this world and in the world to come.
Paul J. O’Reilly, Ph.D.