When members of the Class of 2019 arrive at tonight’s President’s Dinner, awaiting them at each place setting will be a gift from the College — and one from an anonymous friend.

At the annual dinner the College customarily presents each senior with a sterling silver medal of its patron, St. Thomas Aquinas. Chosen in 1975 by the College’s founders, and given to every graduate since, the medal is meant to serve as a reminder of the graduate’s time at Thomas Aquinas College. “The College gives these medals in the hope that they will help our graduates grow in discipleship and devotion to St. Thomas,” says College President Michael F. McLean, “and that he, whom the Church has proclaimed the Common Doctor, will help them continue on the path to wisdom and the attainment of the vision of God Himself in the eternal glory of heaven.”

Additionally the seniors will receive a gift in honor of the College’s late founding president, Dr. Ronald P. McArthur. The gift is a knotted Rosary, on which knots in the cord, rather than beads, denote each prayer. Several years ago Dr. McArthur received a similar Rosary from a former student who went on to become a lifelong friend. Dr. McArthur treasured the gift and prayed the knotted Rosary during his last year of life. At his request, he was buried with it after his death on October 17, 2013. Knowing that the Rosary meant so much to Dr. McArthur, this friend decided to present each member of the Class of 2014 with one like it at that year’s President’s Dinner — a generous tradition he has continued in each subsequent year.

The Rosary comes in a pouch, along with a note, which reads:

Ron McArthur was the first president of Thomas Aquinas College. One of his students at St. Mary’s College gave him a knotted cord Rosary with which he was buried. His student honors him by giving you the same type of Rosary. Please use it to pray for Dr. McArthur and his wife, Marilyn. Their faith, courage, and sacrifices have, in great measure, made the College — and your graduation from it — possible.

College Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., recently blessed both the medals and the Rosaries in the sacristy Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

May God bless you on your way, Class of 2019!