As our society, our culture, and our world become more and more secular and materialistic, we have been rapidly losing the sense of the true, the good, and the beautiful. In the dictatorship of relativism truth for you is what you think is true; moral good for you is what you think is good with no regard for absolute truth and good as God sees it. People are pressured if not forced to tolerate and approve what a sizable number of opinion makers say is true and good, as for example abortion and the homosexual lifestyle. This is all leading to social chaos where every person goes in a different direction, doing what is right in his/her own mind, which was the mentality at Sodom and Gomorrah.
Our founding fathers noted that our constitution and government of law can only be effective under a moral consensus that our Christian faith can give us. Otherwise a policeman would be needed on every street corner. John Adams observed: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.......Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people."
To prepare to confront this reality in their careers Thomas Aquinas College students have the task of discovering the true, the good, and the beautiful in their studies through the great books and student life. Then the graduates have the mission of promoting the true, the good, and the beautiful in whatever careers they choose, no matter where they are. May God grant the graduates the faith, the strength, and the positive attitude to let nothing discourage them. The quest continues after graduation to come a little closer to the fullness of truth and its understanding which is beyond us and is found only in God, who is truth. Where elements of the truth do exist, the mission includes recognizing them and then building upon them.
The true, the good, and the beautiful are intertwined. Truth will lead one to the good and the beautiful. Fr. Robert Barron, the author of the widely acclaimed video, “The Catholicism Series”, used another approach to evangelization.......show the beauty in the Church as Chartres, the Sistine Chapel, Mother Theresa's nuns, etc. Then beauty will lead to the true and the good. Any one of the three will ultimately lead to the other two. Can it be that the key to the restoration of the entire social order as God intended may be found in the true, the good, and the beautiful? After all, God is truth; God is good; God is love. Truth is beautiful; good is beautiful. Christian love is good; Christian love is beautiful. Can it be said that the true, the good, and the beautiful, is a foretaste of Heaven?
How Does Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) Prepare Their Students for This Great Mission?
First and foremost, TAC is a Christ centered school, one of the few Catholic colleges that have not lost their original mission by being corrupted with creeping secularism which has overtaken much of the world. Thomas Aquinas College maintains its Catholic identity without compromise and is firmly faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and the principles of St. Pope John Paul's Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church). For the complete original text, go to:
(http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_15081990_ex-corde-ecclesiae_en.html. It advocates that Catholic colleges maintain their Catholic identity. Accordingly, professors of Theology take an oath of fidelity to Church teaching, pledging that they will not teach anything that contradicts it so that the students will grow in the faith and their understanding of it.
TAC and a number of other Catholic colleges have initiated a lawsuit against the Obama Administration regarding the Health Care Mandate, which forces Catholic institutions to violate Church teaching regarding contraceptive coverage, including abortifacients and possibly abortion. In sum TAC aspires to not only prepare the student for success in this life, but also for the ultimate goal......eternal life with God.
The school aspires to develop virtue not only in the curriculum, but also in student life. The College has a strict dress code, and Stephanie tries to teach her young sister about modest, yet fashionable clothing (see www.purefashion.com and www.catholicmodesty.com). There is also an evening curfew and men are never allowed in any women's dorm. Nevertheless, dormitory buildings and individual rooms are not locked unless the student so chooses.
There is an atmosphere of trust even in regard to visitors. There is no cashier in the cafeteria, no posted prices, or even a suggested donation. Meals are served to all and the administration confides that they will leave a donation. Invariably, they do. Two years ago, our family stayed in one of their trailers for visitors. We received no bill, but we honored the trust the institution had in us.
There are opportunities for outreach to the youth of Santa Paula Confirmation instruction. TAC students are well represented at the “Walk for Life” in San Francisco. Periodically they silently pray in front of an abortion clinic in Ventura. Last Advent a large group of students invaded a Ventura, CA mall and sang Christmas carols. Hear them by going to my Blog #130 or clicking on http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/news/student-flash-mob-goes-viral-appears-ewtn. On campus there are food drives, blood drives, and fund raisers. When a friend of the College is in need, students offer up sacrifices and prayers.
The focus is upon academics; yet the whole person is not neglected. There is an excellent campus ministry program with retreats, devotions, daily Mass, and an excellent intramural sports program. Our daughter Stephanie participated in many of the weekly social functions......parties, dances, hikes, theater, music recitals, etc. Her high school varsity experience makes her a standout in basketball and her team won the intramural championship. Stephanie is not coming home immediately because she has to attend two weddings within a week after graduation. Thus it's not only work and study, but also a lot of clean wholesome fun.
A great start to a fabulous learning environment is sunny Southern California just northwest of the Los Angeles city limits in the mountains above Santa Paula about a half hour from the Pacific Ocean. See the video on the home page of http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/ and the 360 degree tour at http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/admission/360%C2%B0-tour. The campus was once a bustling ranch, donated for this great enterprise a little after its founding in 1971 by a group of mostly laymen led by the founding president, Dr. Ronald P. McArthur (see http://thomasaquinas.edu/about/brief-history-thomas-aquinas-college). God provides! The scenery there is breathtaking with the college being nestled in a bowl surrounded by mountains with a newly constructed cathedral sized chapel standing out as shown in the photo at the top. That together with beautifully well kept landscaping, ponds, gardens, & an orange grove plus Spanish colonial type architecture makes it perhaps the most beautiful college campus in the world. The functioning pendulum and statues of great scholars such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, their Dominican patron, and St. Albert the Great, further give a great learning atmosphere. Click on http://www.thomasaquinas.edu The very scholarly St. Bernadine of Siena Library with its many rare books is another big plus.
There is so much of the true, the good, and the beautiful in the majestic Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and its magnificent architecture. Recently constructed and full of art and symbolism, it dominates the campus and gives the visitor a heavenly place of worship and prayer to savor and enjoy while receiving a taste of the divine. Much of any Mass there is in Latin. We attended one Liturgy on a Saturday morning two years ago, using the old Tridentine Mass which was completely in Latin. I thought I was in a time machine going back to the 1950s as a kid. They have a staff of full time priests to attend to the spiritual development of the students as well. The one Dominican scholar on the staff, Fr. Michael Chabarek and another on the way for next year give a Dominican presence as the patron of the college would want. Most of the students attend daily Mass and each dorm has prayer to end the day. Often they participate in rosary walks for spiritual and physical fitness in the pleasantly warm climate and scenery all year round.
Modus Operandi. The graduation program booklet provides an excellent summary of what TAC is trying to do: “Following St. Thomas Aquinas, the College affirms that the aim of Catholic liberal education is the union of human wisdom and divine truth. Through small seminars, tutorials, and laboratories, the College seeks this union by exposing students to the depths of human wisdom, as drawn from the great books of Western civilization, and to the heights of divine truth, as drawn from the Catholic faith”. It then quotes the advice of St. Thomas to a student: “Do not try to plunge immediately into the ocean of learning, but go by way of little streams; for difficult things are more easily mastered once you have overcome the easier ones.” Thus the students at TAC “go by way of little streams ---by each of the liberal arts to the highest sciences, philosophy and theology--- so that in the end they may come with assurance to the Font of all knowledge and life, the Well-Spring of all action and desire: God.” At the same time the different subjects are to a large extent cross disciplinary with a beautiful integration of knowledge as a whole with Theology at the center, tying it all together as advocated by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman in his “Idea of a University”.
Senior Thesis. This integration was evident in the titles of the senior theses of each graduate. My daughter Stephanie's thesis integrated a gem of literature and Theology....... “The Clerk's Tale': and Insufficient Account of How to Accept Trial from God.” Other theses showing this integration include:
“The Wealth of Nations and the Pursuit of Happiness”;
“The Importance of Emotions and the Insufficiency of Mathematics in a Correct Understanding of Music”;
“The Importance of Emotions and the Insufficiency of Mathematics in a Correct Understanding of Music”;
“Technology in the Intellectual Life: The Place of Modern Technology in the Life of a Christian”;
“Render to God What Is God's: A Defense of the Natural Law as the Foundation of the Political System”; “On the Morality of Human Genetic Modification”;
“Theirs Was the Task and Nobly They Performed It': A Defense of the United States Constitution and Its Promotion of Happiness”;
“For Suffering, It Seems, Is Infinite, and Our Capacity Without Limit': An Investigation into the T Transformative Power of Emotional Pain in C.S. Lewis' Till We have Faces”;
“When Pride and a Little Scratching Pen Have Dried and Split the Hearts of Men': The Impoverishment of Human Knowledge and the Role of Beauty in Science”;
“On the Apparent Conflict Between the Common Good and Human Rights”;
“The Holy Cosmos: Creation, Communication, and Natural Science”;
“I Have, However, Cogitating with Myself, Seen Further...': A Comparison of William Harvey and Isaac Newton with Regard to Final Causality”;
“The Power of the Society Can Never Be Supposed to Extend Farther Than the Common Good': Why Religion is a Common Good and How the First Amendment Protects it”;
“The Role of Religion in Government”;
“Life's Work: The Relationship of Political Virtue to the Happiness of Every Man”;
“An Exposition of Newton's Two Lunar Theories: On the Importance and Utility of Natural Philosophy”;
“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You”;
“Subdue the Earth: A Defense of the Importance and Necessity of Manual Labor”;
Their senior thesis tends to be more interdisciplinary, but any research they do in their careers will probably be much more specific in a secular area. Nevertheless, they will be able to bring in a broader perspective and at least some Christian and ethical values without calling it that.......directly or indirectly at least a little of the true, the good, and the beautiful.
The Curriculum. Being ranked among America’s Top Colleges by the U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and the Princeton Review, Thomas Aquinas College is probably the best Catholic liberal arts college in the country (See http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/about/press-releases). Furthermore, the Cardinal Newman Society (http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org) named it as one of America's top eight “joyfully Catholic” colleges…..among only 22 it recommended as faithfully Catholic. The yield rate of 63% of those accepted for admission actually attending is one of the tops in the country, indicating that TAC is probably the first choice of most who apply.
The entire very demanding standard curriculum for all students is based upon reading the great books in the original such as Aristotle & Augustine for Philosophy, Aquinas for Theology with some parts in the original Latin, Euclid for Geometry with his original proofs & propositions, Dalton & Einstein for Physics, Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, etc. in literature.
Each semester the student receives grades in the general areas of Philosophy, Theology, Mathematics, Natural Science, Seminar in the classics of literature, plus two years of Latin and one year of music. With each year the depth of study increases. The graduates receive a general degree in Liberal Arts, which due to the program’s emphasis, comes close to a conventional major in Philosophy and Theology.
One Theology major, after some teaching experience at a Catholic school, searched the many Catholic colleges for a doctoral program. He discovered that the Theology professors that he would most like to study under teach at TAC, which does not offer graduate studies. Nevertheless, the scholars there still do research and publish.
Reading and discussing these original works puts the student in the shoes of the pioneer intellectuals and scientists, following in their footsteps in the quest for truth through the centuries and encountering some of the same obstacles, road blocks, contradictions, twists, and turns in their quest for the truth. The student goes through the same discovering and reasoning processes as the original scholars to obtain insights and arrive at much of the truth in the advancement of knowledge and the discovery of the truth throughout history…….Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics, and the empirical sciences with labs. Today we build upon it through faith and reason as brought out by St. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio” (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/JP02/). Then we will achieve the ideal advocated by Pope Benedict XVI.......to learn to know the truth and establish a personal relationship with it.
The spirit of the school can perhaps be summarized in conserving the beauty of the past and the foundation of truth discovered by our forefathers and then building on that, come closer to the fullness of the truth through faith and reason while developing virtue and closeness to God.
The small classes (less than 20 students) with a total enrollment of 358 are based upon the Socratic Method (mainly discussion) with an emphasis upon rhetoric and developing the mind. No lectures or reading an author's regurgitated version of a well known work, nor multiple choice tests; it's all discussion and essay. Classroom discussion even spills over into the cafeteria after class. It’s a very accepting Christ centered, great books school, where they read the original authors, not something regurgitated in a textbook……. The focus is on discussion, writing, and rhetoric to train the students to express themselves clearly and logically.
Furthermore, the students learn how to learn. That is the ability to pick out the most important and learn that well. Placing priorities on the important is the key to time management. The goal is to develop the mind so that one can learn by one's self without the need of any professor. At the same time the students learn to apply principles from known situations to the new, the strange, and the different.......to solve problems very different from classroom examples. In sum TAC teaches the student how to think. Thus one medical doctor testified that his education at TAC was most responsible for his success. Another alumnus thrived in his graduate architectural program, despite omitting the prerequisite courses. Another grad, having finished near the top of her class in an accelerated nursing program, credited the critical thinking skills she learned at TAC.
After her freshman year, Stephanie attended a Bible Study session at our parish and already stood out as being very articulate with her intelligent contributions. Her rhetorical skills gained and intellectual foundation gained at Thomas Aquinas College really stood out.
What do they do with their Liberal Arts Degrees? The students receive a general degree in Liberal Arts, quite equivalent to majors in Philosophy and Theology which will serve as a good foundation for a variety of fields. The top ten career fields of TAC grads are: 1) Education, 2) Business, 3) Medicine, 4) Priesthood &/or Religious Life (10% of all graduates), 5) Law, 6) Public Service/Military, 7) Technology, 8) The Arts & Architecture, 9) Finance, and 10) The Media. Other fields include lay parish ministry, information technology, and the most important job of all......being a full time mother.
Often companies prefer liberal arts generalists with good minds ground in basic skills and then train the very adaptable and teachable young grads in their own way because training in many technical skills and procedures quickly become outdated. Liberal arts majors are usually better able to see the social consequences of business decisions than the technocrats who are simply focused upon profit maximization. Others go on to graduate school to pursue a variety of specialties……law, business, medicine, education, doctoral studies, etc. About a third of MBA (Masters in Business Administration) graduate students in country are liberal arts majors. TAC's Office of Career Advisement is a big help in choosing a career path.
TAC graduates have an excellent preparation for graduate school as observed by professors who have had them in their advanced courses. They are impressed by TAC grads with their broad background; knowing how to think; being at ease with a broad range of subjects; superior ability to reason; excellent preparation in philosophy; among the most widely read; unusual ability to reflect effectively on what is read and to state and defend positions in discussion and writing; intellectual integrity; etc. “They care very much about what they believe, but they care as much about believing what the evidence and arguments available to them best support, and they are therefore tolerant of and indeed eager to hear alternative views and reasonable objections to what they think. In sum, they are a joy to have in class”.
Liberal Arts and Technology. David Langley took another path. Common is the Three and Two Plan where a student goes to a liberal arts college, taking social studies, humanities, Math through Calculus, General Physics, and General Chemistry. Then they take the next two years to obtain a degree at an Engineering School. David had his sights on the prestigious MIT. But first he chose to study three years at TAC in order to be better prepared to study a more specific branch of science later on. David has no regrets. “Surrounded by tutors, priests, and friends who have a genuine love for truth, goodness, and beauty, I have developed a keener sense of what it means to live a virtuous life....I think I am also a better listener and a better learner. I have learned to look at an argument, written or spoken, and find the errors or truth--- and that will serve me well in the years to come.” At TAC the object is to search for the truth and learn for the joy of learning, not simply to acquire the tools of the trade.
“Working through the College's sequential curriculum, I am pretty convinced that the most effective way to learn is by going a little slower in the beginning----in order to understand the principles and interconnectedness of things--- rather than by learning through the method of sudden and rapid specialization. I am so grateful that my parents encouraged me to develop my whole mind by studying mathematics, philosophy, and theology......to grasp the ultimate significance of the subjects studied at a more particular level.....first understanding the whole of which my interest is just a part. I have discovered that science is not merely a tool for solving practical problems or making the world a better place; it is a means by which we can grow in wisdom and gain a more complete understanding of the material order in nature--- and that reveals something about the mind of God.” This Fall the Jamison Group is sending David to MIT with opportunities to do research on neglected tropical diseases.
Stephanie has truly grown into a woman of God, willing to help people. This Fall she will be teaching second or third grade, first as an apprentice at one of the prestigious Great Hearts Charter Schools of Phoenix, which focuses upon the great books, from Hans Christian Anderson to Mark Twain. In fact the Great Hearts schools came on campus in competition with each other to recruit TAC grads. Stephanie and a group of other girls plan to live together in a house, a cross between a Christian Community and I guess a sorority house.
A Few Thoughts. I have wondered whether TAC is so engrossed in tradition and the great works of the past that it might be neglecting the application of truth to problems of the present. Then on second thought the students are getting at least some of that in their outreach programs and in their excellent program of bringing in nationally known speakers. Furthermore, when they return home during breaks, they are brought down to earth and see the reality in the cities and towns where they grew up. When they descend from their little paradise at TAC and are suddenly thrust into jobs in the real world which they have the mission of changing, it will be a significant adjustment and perhaps a reverse culture shock similar to what returning Peace Corps volunteers often experience. Although the college perhaps should prepare them for this transition, the graduates will do fine as their alumni have done in the past.
The liberal arts program of Thomas Aquinas College might be more complete and well rounded with a stronger dose of the social sciences, particularly economics and the social teachings of the Church as developed by a pioneer in social change, Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum in 1891 and updated with new perspectives by his successors to be applicable to new problems and realities over time.......Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno in 1931, St. John XXIII in Mater et Magistra in 1961, Paul VI in Octogesima Adveniens in 1971, St. John Paul II in the very philosophical Laborem Exercens in 1981 and Centesimus Annus in 1991, and Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate (Love of Truth) in 2009. It is remarkable how each Pontiff adapts Church social teaching to new problems of changing times without contradicting his predecessors, always reinforcing them. Studying these documents in addition to the first two already in the curriculum ---all within the context of the times of each--- gives lessons in both history and sustainable economic development as well as insights to the major issues of today together with an appreciation of the evolution of Church social teaching......the true, the good, the beautiful, and the wisdom in it all. For a complete list of all the social encyclicals with a summary and full text of each plus Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II and the 1971 Justicia in Mundo of the Synod of Bishops, see https://educationforjustice.org/catholic-social-teaching/encyclicals-and-documents.
The Baccalaureate Mass was concelebrated mostly in Latin by several priests with Edwin Cardinal O'Brien presiding. The student choir sang beautifully with traditional music mostly in Latin and some Gregorian Chant. It gave us a little taste of heaven, although I would have liked to have seen more participation by the congregation. After serving as Archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal O'Brien was appointed as the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order o the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. My brother John has the great honor of being a Knight of the Order. In the 1970s, the Cardinal served as an Army Chaplain in the jungles of Vietnam with the 82nd airborne Division. In the late 1990s he served as Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. Other commencement speakers in the past include Blessed Mother Theresa, Congressman Henry J. Hyde, Jeremiah Denton, and several Cardinals. The diplomas were written completely in Latin. My deceased parents would have been so proud of Stephanie since they loved the great books and Latin. At the cocktail and supper the previous evening, Stephanie wore her grandmother's favorite dress and received numerous complements. In the photo below she’s with her Polish mother, Jadwiga, her father, and a Polish Dominican priest on the staff, Fr. Michael Chabarek. See more at http://thomasaquinas.edu/news/slideshow-alumni-parents-associations-host-dinner-seniors-parents.
Cardinal O’Brien stated in his address that Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome are the pillars of western civilization. They searched for truth and we build upon what they discovered and developed. Each of the three pillars must reinforce each other. The Enlightenment rejected Jerusalem and civilization collapsed to a large extent. For the same reason, countries fell into persecution and oppression during the French Revolution, under Nazism and Communism, etc. We are on a pilgrimage to our ultimate destination, heaven. Our culture is confused on truth. Today it's “my truth” vs “your truth” and the only way to reconcile them is through the dictatorship of relativism. St. John Paul II witnessed to the truth and gave the world a new birth of freedom in his encyclicals, “The Splendor of Truth” and “Faith and Reason” (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/JP02/). Reasoning helps us to arrive at the truth and that can be exhilarating.
|Chairman of the Board of Governors R. Scott Turicchi presents Cardinal O'Brien with the St. Thomas Aquinas Medallion.|
Senior Address. Felicity Seely, Stephanie's Freshman and Sophomore year roommate, delivered the Senior Address on truth. Christ came to witness to the truth. St. Thomas Aquinas devoted his life to the search for truth. She exhorted us to be open to the truth even if it means to feel stupid and change one's mind. Truth fulfills if we have faith in its depth. Aspects of the truth must be integrated because truth is one; it must be an integrated view of the world through Christ. If an idea does not fit, it must be rejected or reexamined. As we share ourselves, truth looks for the common good. The truth is in Christ and His Church. God will enlighten us to spread that truth. The power of truth changes us.
|Felicity Seely delivers the Senior Address on truth.|
Most touching was the special honor given to the deceased Kent Moore, one of Stephanie's friends, who would have been one of the graduates. He tragically ended up as a martyr for the pro-life cause in the “Walk Across America” in the summer of 2012. His lovely parents, whom I had the privilege to meet at the graduation, exhibited such saintly courage and faith through it all. They reconciled with the man who accidentally hit him with his truck in the early morning hours. For details see my blog #88 at http://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com/2012_07_01_archive.html.
At the reception I tried to congratulate every graduate I could identify with a simple exhortation to never forget their great mission to spread and promote the true, the good, and the beautiful wherever they are and in whatever they do. I also asked what they intend to do now. The answer was to a large extent.......change the world for Christ and further His kingdom. One graduate plans to become a contemplative nun to pray all of her classmates through their great missions. Several aspire to work as a team to start a similar great books college in the East; the leader will prepare himself on the business end of it and the others on the academic side. Sarah Majkowski dreams of doing the same in Canada. Abbey Quinan will follow in the footsteps of the great healer in nursing, another will do the same in medicine. Sebastian Lemmon aspires to go into movie production and bring back the best of movies which we lost after the days of the silver screen.......movies that show the true, the good, and the beautiful; movies that inspire and refresh rather than shock and appeal to our lower instincts. Another wants to go into theater and music. One aspires to get into politics. Another plans to go into journalism; others into engineering and business. Many more aspire to shape lives as teachers and parents. There is hope for America.......a lot of hope!
Student Aid. TAC does not give scholarships as such, but does facilitate loans, gives ample opportunities for work study and obtains sponsors for the very needy students. Through all this, students leave with minimal debt......a maximum of $16,000. For example, Stephanie passed up two scholarships at two great Christ centered Catholic universities that paid most of her tuition, since she was enthralled with this great books school, which she heard about on a campus visit to one of them. Instead of scholarships at other good schools, she chose to work 13 hours per week for the entire four years plus two summers, first with janitorial work and then in the cafeteria. Furthermore, she took advantage of a government grant (FAFSA) and a loan. Being so far away, she could only come home to us in southeastern Ohio in the foothills of Appalachia for Christmas and a couple of weeks in the summer.
Alumni Loyalty. TAC has been recognized by the rating agencies as having the most loyal alumni in the country, right up there with the Ivy League schools. I noticed families that send one sibling after another here and also through the generations. Dr. Langley M.D., a father of ten children, commented that every year he comes for the graduation of a couple of his grandchildren. All six children of Laura Berquist ('75) are TAC alums. Already Stephanie is recruiting her kid brother to attend. He will be attending the two week summer program for high school seniors in July. Perhaps the experience will wet his appetite for the truth and he will follow in his sister's footsteps.
The ratings by different entities best summarize this blog. The 2013 Princeton Review of the Best 377 Colleges gives TAC the highest possible rating for academics and financial aid (99) and includes TAC in its list of “Best Value Colleges”. It rates TAC among the top schools in Quality of Life (97), top 15% of American four-year colleges, top 20 for “Most Religious Students”, “Happiest Students”, and “Best Classroom Experience”. It observes that TAC “takes learning seriously for its own sake, not just as preparation for a job”; has “a strong Catholic identity and a “rigorous curriculum” where “professors lead you to truth without forcing it on you” and “you get all kinds of people here, but one thing they have in common is a desire to search for the truth”.
The U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges puts TAC in the top tier among all liberal arts colleges, top 25 for least debt among graduates, top 40 in “Best Value Colleges”, most popular among applicants, and most loved by alumni. Kiplinger’s: 100 Best Values in Private Colleges rates TAC as #3 for lowest total cost per year and #9 for lowest average debt at graduation. The Association of College Trustees and Alumni rates TAC in the top 2% of the country’s major colleges and universities, the highest rating of “A” for strength of curriculum, and one of only three colleges in the USA to receive a perfect score for ensuring that students study the seven key areas of composition, literature, American history, foreign language, mathematics, science, and economics.
High school seniors may obtain a great preview of TAC and a stimulating taste of the true, the good, and the beautiful by attending its two week High School Great Books Program during the summer following their junior year. See my blog #140 and the TAC website at http://thomasaquinas.edu/admission/summer-program-blog/?cat=51 for 2014 Summer Program Blog which has considerable detail with hundreds of photos and http://thomasaquinas.edu/admission/high-school-summer-program for a description of the program. Most of the 135 students who attend each year enjoy it so much that they end up being students at Thomas Aquinas College a year later.
As parents we saw in Stephanie during the four years marked intellectual and spiritual growth. She seemed to be at ease at the graduation functions and socially poised, introducing her parents to many students, parents, and faculty. I cannot say that our new graduate has definitively found the true, the good, and the beautiful, but without question, she's well on her way. Stephanie will certainly promote it wherever she is and in whatever she does as she makes significant progress toward a greater understanding of the fullness of the truth.