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By Michael F. McLean
Thomas Aquinas College
November 21, 2021
California Campus


Dr. Michael F. McLean
Dr. Michael F. McLean

As I am sure most of you know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Aquinas College. As we celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, we should be joyful about the good health of the College and grateful for its 50 years of accomplishment. Fifty years of …

  • Fidelity to our mission of Catholic liberal education, as articulated by our founders in their Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education, a mission best described as “faith seeking understanding,” conducted in complete conformity to the teachings of the Catholic Church and under the guidance of the Universal Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • Implementing successfully our coherent and comprehensive curriculum of liberal education, culminating in the beginning of philosophical and theological wisdom.
  • Introducing you undergraduates to the best that has been thought and written — the Great Books of our civilization.
  • Employing the pedagogy of classroom discussion that actively engages you in your own education, helps you penetrate deeply into the works you are studying, and helps you perfect your analytical, critical thinking, and conversational skills.
  • Sustaining a community which endeavors to strengthen all of us in the moral virtues and in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
  • Leasing a campus and then designing and developing a campus of our own, humbly beginning with a tiny kitchen we acquired from a carnival and using cardboard-covered pathways in the midst of a very wet winter, a campus which is now among the most beautiful in America and whose master plan is nearly complete.
  • Attracting qualified students and faculty to the point where we have acquired and opened a second campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, where we will gradually increase the enrollment to around 375 students — 375 students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to pursue our education or benefit from the spiritual and moral formation we provide.
  • Finally, 50 years of sending forth alumni, some of whom are with us this evening, and many of whom are serving the Church as priests and religious, raising strong families, and making substantial contributions to their communities, country, and church in a wide variety of professions and vocations — truly renewing the face of the earth … as all of you will do when your turn comes to graduate. For you, too, are part of the legacy of Thomas Aquinas College, growing in wisdom and moral virtue each and every day. Though you may not discern it, you are being changed in ways that will contribute to your lifelong happiness, prepare you to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and contribute to the preservation of our civilization.

We not only look back at the College’s accomplishments, but confident in God’s abiding providence, we look forward with great anticipation to another 50 years of Thomas Aquinas College playing a leading role in Catholic education, witnessing to the Gospel, remaining faithful to the teachings of the Church, and preparing students for responsible citizenship.

As we mark Thanksgiving, it is fitting to extend gratitude…

  • To all who have made the first 50 years of Thomas Aquinas College possible, especially our founders as well as the courageous students, parents, faculty, Board members, and benefactors who joined us at the very beginning of this adventure and helped make the establishment of the College possible.
  • Gratitude to all of the faculty, staff, students, parents, Board members, and benefactors who have joined us along the way, contributed to the success of our classes, helped sustain our Catholic culture, given of their time, talent, and treasure, and enabled us to remain faithful to our mission and weather the many challenges that have come our way.
  • Gratitude to this country for its generally robust commitment to religious freedom, which makes it possible, although increasingly difficult, for a seriously Catholic educational institution to chart its own course, articulate its own mission, and unapologetically seek the truth guided by the light of faith.
  • Gratitude to this country as well for its commitment to a market economy and to a tradition of private philanthropy which make it possible for generous benefactors to acquire an abundance of financial resources and share those resources with educational institutions like TAC and with students like yourselves who require their assistance to benefit from the College’s educational program. Despite the cultural and social challenges we face in America, it is only in America that a college like ours can hope to thrive.

In closing, I urge you to be of good cheer and justly proud of your accomplishments as we approach the end of another semester. Continue to prepare diligently for your classes and continue to participate actively in the pursuit of truth.

I ask you to pray with gratitude for this country and for this country’s founders who enshrined a deep appreciation for the exercise of religion into the Constitution itself; and I ask you to offer prayerful thanks to God for His many blessings on the College, and to pray as well that He will continue to bless Thomas Aquinas College as we embark on the next 50 years of the College’s history.

Thank you.

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