Local Residents Graduate
from Thomas Aquinas College

June 25, 2014
Santa Paula News

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, the following local residents graduated from Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, CA, after completing a rigorous program of classical liberal education that includes four years of mathematics, natural science, philosophy, and theology. Also required for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts which they received was a senior thesis on a topic of their choice, which they then defended before a panel of three faculty members.

* Gabriel Joseph Bagdazian of Santa Paula (93060), whose thesis was titled The Importance of Emotions and the Insufficiency of Mathematics in a Correct Understanding of Music.

* Michael Joseph Schaeffer Forsyth of Santa Paula (93060), whose thesis was titled “But You Have Come . . . to Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the Sprinkled Blood That Speaks More Graciously Than Abel’s”: An Inquiry into How the Sacrifice and Death of Abel Prefigure the Crucifixion of Christ.

* Anthony Michael Letteney of Santa Paula (93060), whose thesis was titled Can Rights Suffice? An Investigation of the Natural End of Government through a Comparison of the Political Theories of Locke and Aristotle.

* George William Mohun of Santa Paula (93060), whose thesis was titled The Role of Religion in Government.

* Felicity Marie Seeley of Santa Paula (93060), whose thesis was titled “There Are More Things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio”: How Tragedy Is Made New in Christianity.

The day began with a Baccalaureate Mass of the Holy Spirit in the school’s beautiful chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, at which Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, presided and preached the homily.  Later in the morning, commencement exercises were held on the academic quadrangle.  Cardinal O’Brien presided at the ceremony and delivered the Commencement Address.  In recognition of his lifetime of extraordinary dedication to God and fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the board of governors of the college awarded the cardinal the school’s highest honor, the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion.

The 81 seniors in the Class of 2014 will go on to a wide variety of pursuits - some to graduate schools for advanced degrees in philosophy, theology, and mathematics, others to law and medical schools, business, military service, public policy, journalism, elementary and high school teaching, and the priesthood and the religious life.

Graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are noted by employers as well as professional and graduate school professors for the strong intellectual and interpersonal skills they attain through the college’s unique great  books program.  Says Dean Brian Kelly, “Our focus on the original texts of the greatest thinkers - authors like Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas - really hones the mind and accustoms it to think in terms of principles; and our small, discussion-based classes ensure that students are actively engaged in their own education, working together with their peers in a constructive and respectful way.  As a result, not only do they make a good beginning in a life-long pursuit of wisdom, they also acquire remarkably strong analytic skills and a distinctive ability to collaborate with colleagues.”

About Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-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. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. 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. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go onto the priesthood or religious life.

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