New England

Whether coming to visit their children or to catch up with old friends, hundreds of members of the Thomas Aquinas College family traveled to the New England campus Saturday for fellowship, scholarship, and fun at Alumni & Parent Day.

Families arrived by the dozens in the morning, checking in at the Bl. Frassati Student Center. After Mass in Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel and a tour of the campus, the group gathered for lunch under a giant tent on the Gould Lawn. There Alumni Association President Pete Colarelli (’92) welcomed guests by telling them, “This is the school that’s going to change the world!”

Welcome, Tour & Lunch
  • Admissions team members greet the incoming visitors
  • Admissions workers chat with the visitors
  • Visitors take a campus tour
  • A shot of some of the visitors taking the tour
  • The visiting family of one of the students
  • Three visitors chatting as they walk
  • The visitors enter the classroom building
  • Visitors about to take a seminar on the Blue Book
  • Visitors walk past Bolger on their campus tour
  • A group of visitors pose in Tracy for a photo
  • Visitors chat in the coffee shop
  • Three having a chat
  • Four chat in the coffee shop
  • Visitors exit Tracy
  • Visitors afront the Chapel
  • President O'Reilly selects a sandwich
  • Everyone gets sandwiches at the food line
  • A family eats at one of the tables
  • Another family dining
  • Getting burgers at the food line
  • A visitor applies condiments to their hot dog
  • Getting burgers at the food line
Members of the Class of 1992
Members of the Class of 1992

Mr. Colarelli also singled out a special group of alumni — his classmates from the Class of 1992, in Northfield to celebrate their 30th Reunion.

From there, attendees headed over to St. Gianna Molla Hall for a seminar on the Blue Book, Thomas Aquinas College’s founding and governing document, written in 1969. Once everyone found their classrooms, members of the teaching faculty began the conversations with an opening question: How do the authors of the Blue Book argue that liberal education is taken to its fullness and ordered to theology?

  • Visitors discuss the Blue Book in a seminar led by President O'Reilly
  • Dr. O'Reilly makes a point
  • One of the visitors makes a point
  • Mrs. Silva makes a point
  • A tutor studies the text
  • Four at one end of the table
  • Five on one side of the table
  • Three on one side of the table
  • A visitor makes a point and the tutor listens
  • A visitor makes a point

Seminars broke down the founders’ arguments and discussed such topics as the meaning of freedom, the necessity of the teacher in Christianity, and whether liberal education can be attained abstractly. While parents got a first taste of the Discussion Method that their children employ in the classroom, alumni were able to return to something beloved and familiar, picking up where they left off with classmates, sometimes decades ago.

Meanwhile, younger siblings and their student babysitters had some fun! The pool was a popular spot on the hot September afternoon, as were the gym and the athletic field. Some families took the time after the seminar to reunite with their current-student children by chatting, taking walks, or playing beanbag toss on the lawn.

Finally, it was time for dinner, once again under the tent on the Gould Lawn, after which the children enjoyed an ice-cream social in Bl. Frassati, while President Dr. Paul J. O’Reilly addressed parents and alumni. “It’s important to build a building with a strong foundation,” he said of the College’s program of Catholic liberal education. “That’s what TAC does: We give you a strong foundation to build on throughout your life.”

President O'Reilly takes questions

Dr. O’Reilly then took questions, which included topics such as the number of alumni in religious life, growth plans for the New England campus, and the College’s Great Books curriculum. After the Q&A session finished, conversations resumed well into the night with wine and cheese.

“The Alumni & Parent Day in New England was a huge success; it was in fact a slice of heaven,” said Parents’ Association President Paula Cummings. “Everything was wonderful — the beautiful Mass, the lovely weather, the hospitality, and the camaraderie among the alumni, parents, students, tutors, and administrators. The addition of the parent and student seminar, discussing the Blue Book, was a wonderful glimpse at the teaching methodology in action and a reminder of the enlightened mission of TAC.”

For those who missed the event, fear not! The next Alumni & Parent Day will take place in California on October 8!