Thomas Aquinas College offers a unique program of studies to its students — and last weekend, it offered a glimpse of that program to over 70 prospective students during the Admissions Office’s annual California Open House.

Guests arrived on campus in the afternoon of Thursday, March 2, and quickly felt at home. Their exposure to the College began in earnest after dinner, when they made their way to classrooms to visit upperclassmen seminars. They watched the juniors grapple with Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, while across the academic quadrangle the seniors explored St. John Henry Newman’s “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.” To finish their first day on campus, guests gathered in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel to pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament.


Students adore the Blessed Sacrament


On Friday, the visitors listened to a presentation by Jonathan Daly, the College’s director of admissions. Then, as a special event, they sat through an entire Sophomore Philosophy class (held in St. Cecilia Hall’s Dillon Seminar Room to accommodate the many listeners). Experiencing a class from start to finish gave the guests a fuller appreciation of the Discussion Method, as well as a taste of the kinds of questions which the integrated curriculum raises over the course of four years. Later, they had a chance to explore the campus and meet its students, many of whom spent the afternoon with the visitors playing games and conversing well after twilight had fallen.

Friday Photos
  • Four chat on the Chapel steps
  • Three amid the flower gardens
  • Six walk
  • A group of visitors chats with a student outdoors
  • Dr. McLean addresses the visitors
  • Students at seminar
  • Visitors listen to an address
  • Another view of listening visitors

Saturday brought more exploring. In the early morning, students joined Open House guests on a hike up one of the nearby hills to catch a splendid view of the campus below. After lunch, the Admissions Office drove visitors to nearby Ventura, a beach town with a picturesque main street and pier. That trip culminated with pizza at Grant Park overlooking Ventura, at the foot of a wooden cross planted by St. Junipero Serra’s missionaries.

Back on campus in the evening, guests gathered in St. Cecilia Hall for “Faith on Tap,” where they sampled root-beer floats and peppered alumnus priest Rev. Miguel Batres, O. Praem. (’09), with all manner of theological questions. To wind down the day, guests and students enjoyed some impromptu swing dancing on the patio of St. Gladys Hall before returning to the residence halls for a well-earned night’s sleep!

Saturday Photos
  • A group of students tours the campus environs
  • Couples dance on Gladys patio
  • A student pair dances
  • Students pose for a group photo on a green hill outside campus
  • Nine pose at at the beach
  • Five on a hill outside Santa Barbara
  • Large group poses afront a wooden cross
  • Three seated side by side in the auditorium
  • Fr. Miguel addresses the students
  • Pouring root beer floats
  • A smiling student enjoys her root beer float

After Mass on Sunday, the Open House concluded with a panel presentation for guests and their parents. Alumni panelists recounted how their formation at the College has assisted them in subsequent careers, which have been as diverse as working at Apple to college education and religious life. With the panel complete, guests and their families returned home, full not only of excellent memories, but with an inside look at TAC, as well.


Five on a panel while Jon Daly speaks