Thomas Aquinas College has entered into a preliminary grant agreement with the National Christian Foundation (NCF) to accept its gift of a former secondary school campus in Northfield, Mass. It will assume ownership of the Northfield property on May 2, 2017 and open its doors to students on this branch campus in the fall of 2018.
Says college president Dr. Michael F. McLean, “To maintain an intimate community of learners at the college, we have thought it important to keep the student body on our California campus at 400 or fewer.” Since reaching full enrollment some years ago, though, the college has had to turn away more and more applicants each year. “We have been considering, therefore, the possibility of a second campus,” continues Dr. McLean. “Given the tremendous challenges and costs involved, the question would have remained no more than academic — but for this extraordinary opportunity that the National Christian Foundation has offered us. Never did we imagine we could acquire a campus so fully developed and so beautiful.”
Located in a lovely rural setting in the Connecticut River valley approximately 90 miles northwest of Boston, the 217-acre Northfield property has 500,000 square feet consisting in part of dormitory and classroom space sufficient for an eventual enrollment of 400 students, a library, a science hall, a large auditorium, a music building, a gymnasium with related athletic facilities, and a beautiful chapel that can be adapted easily to Catholic worship.
Established in the 19th Century by evangelist and Biblical scholar Dwight L. Moody, the Northfield property has a history of education and evangelism. It was the original home of Northfield Mount Hermon School, which began as two institutions – Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879 and Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1881. The two schools became a single institution in 1971 and consolidated to the Mount Hermon campus in 2005.
Four years later, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. purchased the Northfield property with the intention of giving it, free of charge, to an institution that would maintain it and continue Moody’s legacy of Christian education. Hobby Lobby then entrusted the property to the NCF, a leader in Christian philanthropy, to find a suitable recipient.
The Founder of the NCF Heartland’s Board of Directors, Emmitt Mitchell, comments that, “From the beginning, we have been impressed with Thomas Aquinas College for its commitment to academic excellence. We selected it because of this reputation, its strong leadership, and its financial strength.”
The plan for the branch campus, “is to start small and build slowly, just as our founders did in California,” explains Dr. McLean. Thirty-six freshmen will be accepted in each of the first four years, and more as time goes along, allowing the student body to increase slowly to a maximum of 350-400 students. Seasoned tutors from the California campus have volunteered to move east as part of this new venture and will be a strong source of congruence between the California and New England campuses in all aspects: the academic program, the residential life, and the spiritual life of the new community.
“Both campuses will be fully committed to, and governed by, our founding document, A Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education,” Dr. McLean explains. “Both will initially be part of one college, with a single faculty, a single board of governors, a single curriculum, and a single accreditation, but we will explore the path to the possible independence of the two campuses in the years to come.”
On learning from the president of the college’s desire to operate a branch campus at Northfield, the bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, the Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, wrote to Dr. McLean saying, “I wish to inform you of my full support for this endeavor, and will do whatever I can to help you in establishing the school here to form faithful witnesses to Christ in our Catholic faith.”
For further information, please visit: www.thomasaquinas.edu/newenglandpr.
About Thomas Aquinas College
A four-year, co-educational institution, Thomas Aquinas College has developed over the past 46 years a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad and 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.
From Thomas Aquinas College press release.
If one feels called to the priesthood, Thomas Aquinas College is probably the ideal place to get your undergraduate degree.
Far better than most Catholic colleges, but — sorry to keep bringing this up — what kind of Catholic? Sure, it is good to read the “Great Books” but what do they teach about the Faith? Start with the Mass and sacraments: nice to have an altar rail, but there is only one TLM per day, the earliest one in the morning; why not all of them?
What does the school teach about the reality of the creeping schism already within the Church and a Pope that is fine with issuing awful things like Amoris Laetitia? What do they say about “modern” sexual demands of everyone and the resulting moral mess that results? Does TAC advise women about their true priorities in life, such as being a wife and mother first?
Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic university: not RCIA. It teaches critical thinking in the great Western intellectual tradition. Since this tradition was borne and rooted in truth within a largely Catholic framework, the questions you ask are of minor consequence since the education and the university experience provides the answers.
If my son wanted to be a priest, this is exactly the place were I would send him for a BA.
Fine that they celebrate TLM, but honestly, you want all of masses in a form that most people don’t want, can’t understand, and doesn’t inspire many of us?
But the students and families who go to TAC are not “most people.” That’s why they are only a select few 400 students who seek out the faithfully Catholic education that TAC provides. As for “most people,” you’re just pointing out the pervasive problem in mainstream Catholicism in this country – it’s called “liberalism,” and it has given rise to every stripe of heterodoxy as well as a priesthood infused with homosexuality and billions of dollars in lawsuits related to sickening behavior – wear it proudly!
Really, St. Christopher, what kind of Catholic?
Maybe you should go to a Mass or two at Thomas Aquinas College, because it would become very clear to you that this school is committed to being thoroughly Catholic. By the way, today’s homily by Fr. Buckley was about marriage, it’s place and meaning in society, and the confusion Amoris Laetitia has brought to bishops and the faithful concerning this topic. You would also see lots of young families with lots of small children, and if you were to speak to these parents, they would tell you how highly prized marriage, motherhood, and fatherhood are to them.
Mass, whether it be the TLM or NO is always reverent, inspirational, and well attended by students and faculty alike. Oh,…
The whole point of the TAC Great Books program is to discern and teach the truth of the Catholic faith. It is by means of the Great Books that the faith is imparted by depth of understanding of the world that the student comes to by his or her own educational development, without wrote memorization, textbooks or didactic lectures. Your question “but what do they teach about the faith” shows a presumptive and wrong understanding of the whole educational mechanism and how it works. There’s plenty of information on the TAC website about the school’s program. You should read it.
“Steve Seitz”: I am certain you are correct, but Hillsdale College and St. John’s (MD) also offer intellectually sound, “Great Books,” educations. (The “Enlightenment” leaders, as well, were classically educated and look what happened.) My point, perhaps not well made, is that Catholic colleges also need to focus on a full Catholic education, that is, Catholic Tradition. Otherwise, you find a number of schools, such as Christendom College, where you are pretty much involved with a Novus Ordo-focused education, and are invited into town (where the wonderful pastor Fr. Fasano leads the regularly scheduled TLM at St. John The Baptist in Front Royal, VA) if you want to attend a Traditional Catholic Mass. To me, the discovery of…
(Part Deux) ” . . . Catholic Tradition is central to a complete Catholic education. It is fine to read Thomas Aquinas, and other Catholic thinkers and theologians, but they should count more than as history. What they say is relevant today, and this is breached by what happened with Vatican II implementation.
Certainly TAC offers something of great value and it is good they are expanding. Some pressure, however, should be brought to such schools to look more fully at Catholic Tradition, not only to offer a “better” way to embrace Vatican II changes. Not matters of minor consequence, at all.
We might be talking about different points. I’m not sure, but I’ll try my best. It’s agreed that reading the Great Books, alone, doesn’t make you Catholic. But when read, discussed, and argued within an orthodox Catholic environment, such knowledge provides a real solid Catholic intellectual foundation. Regarding TAC, I’ve never heard a negative comment.
With that said, we might be using terms differently. To me, the terms “Norvis Ordo” and “TLM” refer to different forms of the Mass which are both orthodox and reflect Tradition (capital T). If you disagree with this statement, then this would be the source of our disagreement. :)
Thanks, “Steve Seitz”: We are mostly in agreement. My chief concern is use of the word “orthodox.” I may be wrong, but the Novus Ordo is not “orthodox” (to me anyway), in the sense that only the Traditional sacraments convey the history of Catholic struggle and exaltation, and the true connection between Mankind and His Church, and Christ and the Church He founded. Due to the Doctrine of Indefectibility, I must agree that the Novus Ordo (at least as “reverently” said) is “licit” meaning we can trust elects to also be present in the Eucharist there and Catholics can trust such sacraments to assist in attaining salvation. Schools focused on the NO and “Vatican II” implementation may likewise lead one to Heaven, but they need…
TAC’s Great Books program hardly presents just “Catholic thinkers and theologians,” to use your words. The students start with the earliest Greek philosophers including Homer, Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and proceed through modern philosophers and writers of all stripes including people like Locke, Marx, Nietzsche and frankly way too many more to mention here. As I said earlier, your criticisms bear out that you really don’t know what you’re talking about.
(Part Deux) ” . . . to be brought into the True Faith: Catholic Tradition. Anything else merely puts a shine to something that is seriously defective in its nature, form, and effect (not to say, however, that it is illicit, which it is not).
One wonders what Catholic youth schooled at TAC, or Christendom, think when they go out into society. Do they use contraception? Engage in premarital sex? Accede to homosexual marriage? Look the other way on abortion rights? Sadly, most Catholics do these things. Traditional Catholics do not.
As we’ve realized, we’re using terms differently. So please read my prior statements with that in mind.
Nevertheless, from a Catholic perspective, orthodoxy doesn’t involve the terms NO or TLM. Rather, it refers to the dogmas and doctrines of the Church and any associated orthodox theologies. The head of the Church, of course, is Christ with the Pope as his vicar on Earth.
If someone is orthodox or heterodox, it doesn’t matter to me whether they are NO or TLM. I’m most concerned that they [and I] are orthodox and in communion with the See of Peter.