When members of the Class of 2014 arrive at the President’s Dinner tonight, awaiting them at each place setting will be a gift from the College — and from an anonymous friend.

At the annual dinner the College customarily presents each senior with a medal of the College’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas. Additionally, this year the seniors will receive a gift from a former student of the College’s late founding president, Dr. Ronald P. McArthur. The gift is a knotted Rosary — one for which, instead of beads, knots in the cord denote each prayer. Knotted Rosaries are said to be preferred among combat soldiers, because the cords are soft and make no noise.

A few years ago, one of Dr. McArthur’s students from his days at St. Mary’s College in the 1960s presented him with a knotted Rosary. The gift was a fitting choice, as Dr. McArthur served in the Armed Forces during World War II and, throughout his life, was a solider for Christ. Dr. McArthur treasured this gift and prayed the knotted Rosary during the last year of his life. At his request, he was buried with it after his death on October 17, 2013, around the time that the Class of 2014 was beginning its Senior year.

Knowing that the knotted Rosary meant so much to Dr. McArthur, this dear friend decided to present each of this year’s graduates with one just like it. The Rosary comes in a pouch, along with a note that concludes:

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. McArthur, and for his beloved wife, Marilyn.

Thanks in no small part to their faith, courage, prayers, and sacrifices over many years, you are now graduates of Thomas Aquinas College.

Please pray for this anonymous donor and friend, and for your alma mater, as we will pray for you.

May God bless you on your way, Class of 2014!