On April 15th, I received startling news. The man who had been the President since 1991 of my alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College in California, died in a car accident in Ireland. His wife, who was in the car, survived the crash.
I remember Dr. Thomas Dillon while I was at the College. He always struck me as a busy man, going all over the world to raise money for the College. He was the President, but he was also a teacher and a friend. This is a small college community, and you would often see Dr. Dillon sitting with the students at lunch or dinner, playing sports, talking to his wife, or discussing with the other staff members. He was always energetic and smiling.
He wasn’t a close friend, but he didn’t need to be for me to mourn his death. Four years ago when I heard the news of the death of John Paul II, I cried so much --- but I had never been to a World Youth Day and was never that close to the Pope. I knew he loved me, that he loved all the young people of the world. His work touched my life, even from far away.
Similarly, Dr. Dillon’s work changed my life and is changing the lives of so many people all over the world. Everyone who passes through the College or visits the College is affected. He fought for a vision of a College that would produce men and women of character, a College that would provide a truly Catholic liberal arts education. I could never have afforded the College if it weren’t for the financial aid program that he made possible by his work with benefactors and supporters.
His dream was always to have a chapel built, for it to be the most beautiful building on campus. And it truly is a grand work of architecture that sings the praises of God – it really is beautiful. It consoles me to know that when the Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel was finally consecrated on March 7th, he was able to witness that.
Thank you, Dr. Dillon and the staff of Thomas Aquinas College for your strong faith and commitment to Catholic education.
To read more about Thomas Aquinas College, go to www.thomasaquinas.edu
Thomas Aquinas College Buries its President
Thomas Aquinas College’s New Chapel