After Mass, faculty, graduates, and guests reconvened for the Commencement ceremony in the Moody Auditorium. Graduate Peter McDonald (’22) delivered the Senior Address on behalf of his classmates to those gathered. “The founding of a new campus informs what we have done in our education these past four years,” he said. “Beautiful new floors and roofs, doors and paths and gardens were all brought about to make a resplendent and ennobling setting for study. Likewise, our education has done the same for our minds. The most beautiful things ever thought have been planted in our minds.”
In the ensuing Commencement Address, Bishop McManus recalled the example of St. Benedict, whose flight from the world made possible the medieval renewal of Western culture: “You have received an excellent classical Catholic education here at Thomas Aquinas College that has prepared you to be the new ‘Benedicts’ of our contemporary American culture.”
In addition to conferring degrees, the College bestowed honors to key friends and stalwarts of the Church. Bishop McManus received the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, the College’s highest honor, while the Board of Governors formally inducted benefactors June and Jack Heffernan into the Order of St. Albert.
At the closing of the Commencement ceremony, outgoing President Michael F. McLean formally transferred the chain of office to his successor, Dr. Paul J. O’Reilly, who took the Oath of Office. “It was six years ago when I first came to this campus, in the hopes that it may one day become the East Coast home of Thomas Aquinas College,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “Thanks be to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon the College, as well as to Dr. McLean for his 12 years of tremendous leadership.”