New England
Bishop McManus and Scott Turicchi
The Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi 


At its first Commencement in New England on Saturday, Thomas Aquinas College distributed 32 diplomas, as well as two prestigious awards: the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion and membership in the Order of Saint Albert.

Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion

Conferral of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, an award established by the College’s Board of Governors in 1975, recognizes those Catholics who have shown, through their lives and work, an extraordinary dedication to God and His holy church. Each recipient has demonstrated unfailing adherence to the Magisterium as well as influential leadership in advancing the teachings of the Church. The Medallion is awarded by resolution of the Board of Governors on behalf of the entire College community.

Receiving the Medallion Saturday was the Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, who delivered the Commencement Address to the first graduates at TAC-New England. Chairman of the Board of Governors Scott Turicchi commended His Excellency’s commitment to “promoting authentic Catholic education and devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist in the Diocese of Worcester,” citing as well “his courage and clarity in publicly addressing the difficult moral issues of our day according to the Magisterium of the Church.”

Order of Saint Albert

The College established the Order of Saint Albert in 1998 under the patronage of St. Albert the Great, who taught St. Thomas Aquinas. 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, and their names are engraved on the plinth of the saint that occupies a corner of the California campus’ academic quadrangle.

On Saturday the College extended membership in the Order of Saint Albert to June and Jack Heffernan, who have been significant benefactors since the early 1990s, first in California and now in New England as well. Among their many gifts to the College was an endowed scholarship fund in memory of Angela Baird (’02), who tragically died in 2000 following a hiking accident. Also of special note is their investment in the New England campus for the renovation of the athletic center. Mr. Heffernan additionally served on the College’s Board of Governors from 1994 to 2003.

“The College is deeply grateful to the Heffernans for their great generosity and their friendship,” said President Michael F. McLean. “They are not able to be with us today for a formal induction ceremony. Please keep them in your prayers in thanksgiving for their magnificent generosity to Thomas Aquinas College. May God reward them a hundredfold.”