All College
California, 5/14
Carl A. Anderson
Recently retired Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus


New England 5/21
Most Rev. Robert Joseph McManus, S.T.D.
Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts


Media Contact: Chris Weinkopf, Director of Communications
805-421-5926 |


Thomas Aquinas College Names 2022 Commencement Speakers for Both Campuses


SANTA PAULA, CA  & NORTHFIELD, MA — Three years ago, Thomas Aquinas College launched its New England campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, with both a new class of freshmen and a class of sophomore pioneers transplanted from California. This spring, just one week after the college hosts its 48th Commencement exercises in California, it will hold its first-ever New England Commencement for those first students who made the trip eastward — the Class of 2022. To help mark the occasion, it will welcome distinguished speakers on both coasts.

“We are very honored that two faithful servants of the Church — one a layman, the other a priest and bishop — will help us celebrate in this, our 50th Anniversary year,” says President Michael F. McLean. “We are grateful for their generosity and for the inspiration that their words will no doubt provide to the Class of 2022.”



Serving as the Commencement Speaker at the California Commencement on May 14 will be Carl A. Anderson, the recently retired Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. And at that morning’s Baccalaureate Mass, Rev. Nicholas Blaha (’02), an alumnus  priest from the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas, will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist.

An attorney by training, Mr. Anderson earned degrees in philosophy from Seattle University and law from the University of Denver. After working for four years in the Reagan Administration, he served for nearly a decade as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He also taught law at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, of which he was founding vice president and first dean. “Congratulations to the Class of 2022,” says Mr. Anderson. “I’m honored and excited to be joining you for this year’s Commencement and celebrating with you your remarkable accomplishments.”


New England

One week later, on May 21, the college will welcome as its first New England Commencement Speaker the Most Rev. Robert Joseph McManus, S.T.D., bishop of the neighboring Diocese of Worcester. Ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence in 1978, Bishop McManus holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Catholic University of America,  a master of divinity degree from the Toronto School of Theology, and licentiate and doctoral degrees in sacred theology from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University. Pope St. John Paul II named him Auxiliary Bishop of Providence in 1998 and the fifth Bishop of Worcester in 2004. In 2008, His Excellency completed his term as Chairperson of the Committee on Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I very much look forward to returning to Thomas Aquinas College to give the Commencement Address,” says Bishop McManus, who served as Convocation Speaker on the New England campus in 2020, and who will also serve as the principal celebrant and homilist at the Baccalaureate Mass.  “I am quite impressed with the intellectual life of the college, which is obviously a community of teachers and learners committed to the pursuit of all that is true, good, and beautiful. Thomas Aquinas College is unambiguously dedicated to being an academic institution that is authentically Catholic in its mission and identity.”


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About Thomas Aquinas College

A four-year, co-educational institution with campuses in California and Massachusetts, Thomas Aquinas College has developed over the past 50 years a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. It is highly ranked by organizations such as The Princeton Review, U. S. News, and Kiplinger. At Thomas Aquinas College all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one, four-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Graduates consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents. For additional information, visit