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Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College is a four-year, Roman Catholic, liberal-arts institution based in Santa Paula, California. It occupies 131 acres about 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Founded in 1921, the college provides an integrated liberal arts program. It is ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. Thomas Aquinas College was originally founded to implement “Blue Book” as an integral part of curriculum. Blue Book describes the relation between liberal education and Christian faith and marked its beginning from the Great Books Movement, a program in liberal arts established by Columbia University in 1921. In 1968, McArthur, a member of the teaching staff of St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California, and his former student, Peter Deluca III, decided to start a college to include Blue Book in the curriculum and approached a Salvatori for seed money. Accordingly, in October, the articles of incorporation were filed for the Institute for Christian Education, a non-profit educational corporation formed with McArthur as the president and chairman. In 1969, Dominican College of San Rafael agreed to provide its facilities for the incipient college and the corporation was renamed as Thomas Aquinas College in May. As a Dominican College did not agree to share its resources, the college moved to the Los Angeles Archdiocese and enrolled its first 33 students in September 1971. Three years later, the college began classes and by 1975, it was granted by the California Department of Education to award degrees. Later, in 1978, the college moved to the present location and received full accreditation in 1981. Today, Thomas Aquinas has evolved to an outstanding liberal arts institution in the nation. Accredited by American Academy for Liberal Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the college offers Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. The curriculum primarily focuses on the study of Great Books, which deals with the works of great minds in Western civilization. The college’s liberal arts education is unique in American higher education. The library holds a comprehensive collection of about 58,000 volumes. Excellent residence facilities are attached.