Early in his high school career, Vincent Sayre’s mother told him about a little Catholic college in Nashville, Tennessee run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. “At the time, I was convinced that I was going to go to another school,” he remembers. “We visited the school and it wasn’t until after the tour that something just clicked. I knew that I had to be here.”
Now in his second year, the Roswell, Georgia native studies in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and lives in Seton Lodge, the residential hall next to campus that is now exclusively for men.
About how Aquinas looks to an outsider, Vincent admits, “On the face, it’s not anything special. But when it comes down to the people here and how they run things, the tradition of Catholic teaching, Dominican teaching, it really stands out, even from other Catholic colleges. They really focus on the person, on the dignity.”
Although he had planned on attending a military service academy to study engineering, when he came to Aquinas, “Everything changed,” he explained. “Suddenly, I’m looking at nursing. I’m more involved in my faith. I got to go to Italy for a semester which really confirmed my faith, really made the Catholic faith something tangible.”
Vincent is particularly thankful for the benefactors of Aquinas who financed his scholarship. When asked “If I hadn’t received a scholarship, the chances of me attending Aquinas would’ve been slim,” he explained. “The time it would’ve taken to pay back the debt would’ve hindered my ability to maybe raise a family or give back to Aquinas or give to the Church.”
Reflecting on how generosity pays it forward into the future, Vincent said, “I would say, as corny as it sounds, is that investing in Aquinas is investing in the future because these students really, truly are able to lead a life, go through a career with a philosophy behind it. It’s not just having the ability to be a nurse or a teacher. It’s really being able to say ‘Why am I a nurse?’ or ‘Why am I a teacher? What am I doing in this role? What’s important about this role?’ What it comes down to is people. We are caring for people. And that’s the future. We have to take care of people, centered around faith.”
About the future of Aquinas, Vincent is equally optimistic. “With Siena, it’s great that the girls have their own place that they can retreat to,” he observed. “They really deserve it. Aquinas is moving forward in all kinds of ways. I can’t wait to see what else happens.”
To support—and perhaps meet—students like Vincent, consider attending the Convivium fundraiser for student financial aid on Friday, March 31 on campus. The evening will feature an Italian feast, the music of Humming House, and celebrity guest Patricia Heaton. Tickets are on sale on the Aquinas College website.