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college of st thomas more

college of st thomas more

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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Sep 02, 2009
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The Newman Guide
The College of Saint Thomas More
Fort Worth, Texas
quick facts
Founded:19 81
Type of institution: Very small liberal
arts college
Setting:Ur ban
Undergraduate enrollment: 87 (2008\u201309
academic year)
Undergraduate cost: $18,000 (tuition, room
and board for 2009\u201310)
Undergraduate major: One (Liberal Arts)
five key Points
1.\ue000All students study liberals arts with
an orthodox Catholic emphasis.
2.\ue000Very small environment allows for
close faculty-student interaction.
3.\ue000The curriculum includes the Great
Books and other infuential works.
4.\ue000\ue000Emulates a 19th-century Oxford
University environment.
5.\ue000\ue000About half the students are somewhat
older, non-traditional students.
Texas may be known for its brashness and
outsized image, but one of the state\u2019s academ-
ic gems is a micro college that re\ue001ects quiet
civility, a unique commitment to classical
education and a \ue000rm dedication to orthodox
Catholicism. Located in the former cowboy
capital of Fort Worth, Texas, The College of
Saint Thomas More o\ue002ers its students an un-
common formation.

The college was founded in 1981 as the Thomas More Institute. The driving force since its inception has been Dr. James Patrick, who has served as provost and is now chan- cellor. He has worked to ensure that the West- ern intellectual tradition is taught through the prism of Ex corde Ecclesiae.

All 87 students study the College List of Texts, a Great Books-plus curriculum. It in- cludes the Church fathers and classical think- ers as well as important modern writers. Also unique are the college \u201cinterterms\u201d in Greece, Rome and Oxford\u2014an experience that most students at other colleges can only dream about.

All student share the same \u201cmajor,\u201d and graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Arts de- gree in Liberal Arts. The college was accred- ited by the appropriate regional agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern As- sociation of Colleges and Schools, in 1999.

Even more so than Thomas Aquinas Col- lege, a somewhat similar institution, The Col- lege of Saint Thomas More appeals to both traditional and non-traditional students; in- deed, only about half of incoming freshmen

The College of Saint Thomas More
The Newman Guide

enter directly from high school. Most of the students are in their 20s, while some are old- er.

In a recent academic year, six of the eight incoming freshmen transferred from other institutions. One student was a physician thinking of entering the priesthood. Two stu-

dents enrolled a\ue004er leaving military service.
The college a\ue005racts students seeking a broad
intellectual challenge that they perhaps did
not \ue000nd at their previous institution.

Several have described the college as steeped in a 19th-century Oxford University model with fellows (professors), seminars and ongoing conversation inside and outside

the classroom. There is considerable a\ue005ention

given to English converts such as John Hen- ry Cardinal Newman, G. K. Chesterton and those in the Oxford movement.

A particular mark of the school is an institutional commitment to civility and re- sponsibility. The college boasts that at St.

Thomas More, \u201clearning is a love a\ue002air with

All this at a bargain price: just $18,000 for tuition, room and board in 2009-10. The tu- ition is not much more than half the typical tuition rate for a private institution in Texas,

and scholarships and \ue000nancial aid are avail-
able (including federal grants and loans).

Students take four years of theology, philosophy, classical languages and litera- ture. According to Chancellor Patrick, \u201cWe do more here with literature than almost any- one else.\u201d An alumnus who now teaches at the college said, \u201cIn one sense every class is the same class. That is, all courses go back to the fundamental questions of truth and of hu- man nature.\u201d


The college is owned and governed by a board of visitors, composed of eight lay mem- bers who serve seven-year terms. Four board members are also fellows. Board members are expected to be Catholic, but there is an excep- tion to this rule for one member who is a long- time and special supporter of the college.

Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Fort Worth supports the college and visits it. He also has endorsed the college\u2019s current capital campaign.

Dr. Patrick, now in his mid-70s, has been
the visionary and leader of the college. A tru-
From the
Financial Aid Office
\u201cThe College of Saint Thomas More is
commi\ue005ed to the principle that the cost of
college should not be a barrier to prospec-
tive students. The College o\ue002ers four ba-
sic types of \ue000nancial aid: grants (federal

and state), loans, work study, and Found- ers and DeMolen Scholarships (merit- and need-based).

\u201cFederal and State Grants (PELL and
TEG): These grants are available based on
need and can signi\ue000cantly reduce the cost
of a\ue005endance.
\u201cLoans: Sta\ue002ord Loans are available to

most students, as are other private educa- tional loans. Even students with the most need do not usually borrow more than $15,000 over the course of four years.

\u201cWork Study: The College permits stu- dents to defray part of the cost of tuition through work-study as needed.

\u201cScholarships: Scholarships are available based on academic promise as well as need.

\u201cFor more information contact Corky
Swanson, 325-673-1934.\u201d
The College of Saint Thomas More
The Newman Guide

ly Renaissance man, he is an expert on archi- tecture, history, education and theology (he has a doctorate in theology). One 2003 alum- nus said of him: \u201cHe is the heart and soul and body of the college.\u201d

The college is not worried about suc-
cession. As one sta\ue002 member said, \u201cIt is not

Dr. Patrick\u2019s college. It is The College of Saint Thomas More and it is the Great Books that are the teachers. If you have the books and people who have read them, you\u2019ll have a school.\u201d

Public Identity

Another alumnus we interviewed said, \u201cYou couldn\u2019t imagine going to a school that is more dedicated to truth, to not just Catho- lic spiritual life but also to continuing the Catholic intellectual tradition.\u201d Some of this

is re\ue001ected in the insightful periodic newslet-
ter, Tradition: Commentary on Modern and Per-
wri\ue005en by Dr.

While many of the writers on the College List of Texts are

prominent Catholic think- ers, just as many are not. But the college makes it very clear what is its priority. The website

notes: \u201cMore than the great authors, Je- sus is the center

of the College, and it is the wish of the Fel- lows and Visitors that His teaching and life permeate the work of the College.\u201d

Outside the classroom, such a position is
re\ue001ected in the speakers invited to campus.

These have included Father George Rutler of the Archdiocese of New York; Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., of Ignatius Press; philosopher Dr.

Peter Kree\ue004; and E. Michael Jones, editor of
Culture Wars. There has been a one-man C.

S. Lewis play as well. We could identify no speakers, plays or other public events at vari- ance with Church teachings.

Every fellow at the college is Catholic, and each takes an Oath of Fidelity on his or her knees before the Blessed Sacrament. One former student said, \u201cAll of the professors at the college stand out as representative of the faith. All are dedicated to the truth.\u201d


The theology and philosophy courses of- fered at the College of St. Thomas More are solid and taught faithfully. Dr. Patrick teaches theology, and one of his former students said of his teaching: \u201cIt is impossible to describe.

He has a precise,

compre- hensive and in- genious grasp of the Western theo- logical and intel- lectual tradition.\u201d Another said quite simply, \u201cHe edu- cated me.\u201d


Shank teaches literature and

philosophy. According to one alumnus,


ture as a mode of knowledge, a subset of philosophy. Literature, then, reveals truth through beauty, especially the beauty of language.\u201d

Harry Lacey, a Senior Tutor and Fellow in
classical languages, has inspired many of his

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