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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
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-
Several have described the college as steeped in a 19th-century Oxford University model with fellows (professors), seminars and ongoing conversation inside and outside
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.
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,
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.
and state), loans, work study, and Found- ers and DeMolen Scholarships (merit- and need-based).
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.
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
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
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
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
These have included Father George Rutler of the Archdiocese of New York; Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., of Ignatius Press; philosopher Dr.
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.
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
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