On Monday, August 27, classes will commence in the 51st year of Aquinas College’s existence. But two subtle yet significant differences will mark this occasion: the presence of graduate students and residential students.
On Saturday, August 18, the first of Aquinas’ on-campus residents began moving into the Seton Lodge on the property of St. Thomas Hospital, adjacent to campus. Mary Schultz, Director of Resdential Life, has been tirelessly preparing the Residential Life Program and the residential rooms themselves for the past few weeks. The 12 residents come to Nashville from 10 different states, from Oregon to New Mexico to Minnesota to Delaware to Alabama.
After a welcome Mass and dinner for families on Sunday, August 19, the students spent the following days in an intensive Orientation Week. Apart from registration and general orientation, the students participated in camp activities, service projects at Room in the Inn and the Hope Clinic, and a rafting trip on the Ocoee River. These first residents will also be pioneering inaugural members of the Residential Life Program’s comprehensive house system.
Aquinas President Sister Mary Sarah, O.P. conceived the house system, which is based upon the Oxbridge model, with the help of two friends she knew from her studies and campus ministry assignment at the University of Sydney. Daniel Hill, Head of the Catholic Chaplaincies for the Archdiocese of Sydney, and Dr. David Daintree, President of Campion College in Sydney, both have extensive experience with college students and the foundation of residential life programs. The Aquinas College house system will incorporate not only residential students but everyone intimately involved in the College: faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. There are four houses for men and four for women, each with a saint as a spiritual patron.
Sister Mary Sarah explains, “As products of the culture, students who are engaged in study often succumb to a mindset of utility in their studies and are intent on simply getting through the process. The Program for Residential Life at Aquinas proposes that a balanced life is a good life, and that work, study, and leisure, when integrated, lead to happiness.”
Please join the Aquinas College community in the official celebration of the start of the academic year at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, September 6 at 11:30 a.m.
For pictures of Orientation Week, please visit the Aquinas College Flickr page.