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Catholic Education Daily


Thomas Aquinas College Mourns Founder Dr. Ronald P. McArthur

Dr. Ronald P. McArthurThomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., is mourning the death of its founder, Dr. Ronald P. McArthur, who passed away on the morning of October 17, 2013, the College announced.

Dr. Michael McLean, president of TAC, said in a statement: "The entire Thomas Aquinas College community is united in prayer for Dr. McArthur.  Of course, we pray first for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his wife, Marilyn, but we also offer a deep, heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving.  We thank God for blessing us with this good, holy man, who was our mentor, our colleague, our teacher, and our friend."

From 1968-69, Dr. McArthur and fellow philosopher Mark Berquist compiled their reflections on their vision for Catholic liberal education and published their work titled "A Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education."  The seminal proposal became the founding document of Thomas Aquinas College.

In 1970, Dr. McArthur was named president of the College. TAC reports:

By the sheer power of his convictions and personality, he attracted an impressive array of supporters and brought the college to life. He recruited faculty members and students, managed scarce funds, entertained guests, spoke at gatherings, courted benefactors, and taught courses all across the curriculum from freshmen through senior year. 


As the years went on, Dr. McArthur began to see the fruit of his efforts in the lives of graduates and in their impact on the Church and society. And he saw the college grow in size and reputation. In 1991, after more than 20 years of devoted service to the college, he retired. Two years later, the Heritage Foundation awarded him the Salvatori Award for Academic Excellence in Education for “accomplishing the herculean task of founding a new private college in 1971, dedicated to the highest standards of teaching and leadership.” In 1996, he gave the commencement address at the college and was awarded its highest honor, the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion. In 2002, Christendom College presented him with its Pro Deo et Patria medal for distinguished service to Church and nation.

That same year, Dr. McArthur returned to Thomas Aquinas College and its classrooms as a tutor. In addition to his teaching, he remained active in research and writing, lecturing, and leading seminars around the country. Dr. McArthur also edited The Aquinas Review, a scholarly publication of Thomas Aquinas College. He continued on in this capacity until falling ill in 2011. With a heavy heart, he retired from teaching prior to the start of the 2012-13 academic year. In a letter to the college’s alumni, he wrote, “It has been my privilege over the years to have had something to do with your lives, and I pray God it has been good. I know it has been good for me, and can only hope the same for you.”

The Cardinal Newman Society joins Thomas Aquinas College in praying for the repose of the soul of Dr. Ronald P. McArthur and thanking God for his invaluable contributions to Catholic education.

Thomas Aquinas College is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.


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