Governor Emeritus Milton “Bud” Daily receives a bust of St. Albert the Great from Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi
Governor Emeritus Milton “Bud” Daily receives a bust of St. Albert the Great from Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi.


At its 50th annual California Commencement exercises on Saturday, Thomas Aquinas College distributed 77 diplomas, as well as one of its most prestigious awards: membership in the Order of St. Albert.

The College established the Order 1998. Named for St. Thomas Aquinas’s own teacher, membership in the Order recognizes those benefactors whose generosity to Thomas Aquinas College has been exceptional. Members receive a cast bronze bust of St. Albert the Great, and their names are engraved on the base of a statue of the saint that occupies a corner of the campus’s academic quadrangle.

This year, the College extended membership to a couple that has been extraordinarily dedicated to its mission of Catholic liberal education: Heather A. and Milton F. Daily.

“My uncle J. Edward Martin was a founder of the College in its early years, and he was my godfather,” reflected Mr. Daily in his comments. “He introduced me to the College” — and soon thereafter, Mr. and Mrs. Daily became some of TAC’s most loyal benefactors. They made their first gift in 2005, and their generosity has never abated.

Mr. Daily followed in his uncle’s footsteps and joined the Board of Governors in 2006, serving for 17 years. In 2018, he played a pivotal role in the College’s acquisition of more than 700 acres of open space surrounding the California campus, and he was an enthusiastic champion of the College’s 2019 expansion into New England. “He shared his expertise with the College by focusing on the careful implementation of the master plan for each campus,” said Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi. “To that end, he served as the co-chair of the Campus Planning Committee for eight years.” By resolution of the Board, Mr. Daily became a governor emeritus in 2023.

Throughout the years, the Dailys have been a regular and beloved presence at College events. When the Thomas Fire surrounded the campus in 2017, they opened their home for 7 days to 10 student evacuees, who likened their gracious hosts to “a third set of grandparents.”

Among the Dailys’ many magnificent gifts to the College was the coat of arms of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI that is inlaid in the marble floor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. That crest bears the late Holy Father’s papal motto, Cooperatores Veritatis, or “Cooperators of the Truth” — an apt description of the Dailys themselves, who have been steadfast in their cooperation with Truth through their support of Catholic liberal education.

“It’s with deep appreciation that I wish to express my gratitude to Thomas Aquinas College for everything that it’s about,” said Mr. Daily, who spoke from the dais while Mrs. Daily, their children, and their grandchildren looked on. “I have to say that, with Heather, my wife, and family, time in and time out, as we have come up to campus, we have reflected on the feeling, the inclusion of Thomas Aquinas College. The graduates, the tutors, the people who are part of it, always left us with a feeling of gratitude to God.”