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Published by tacweb, 2020-01-06 18:11:57

TAC Summer Program Brochure


High School
Great Books Program

at Thomas Aquinas College

California • New England
Summer 2020

“Coming to the Summer Program, meeting the people
here, and getting to know how the Discussion Method
works helped me realize that this is a place where I could
become a better person.”
— Joe Guinee (’21)
North Andover, Massachusetts

“ I was overwhelmed by the goodness of the people, the
depth of the classes, and the blessings of the spiritual
life. It really was the best two weeks of my life.”
— Sarah Abood (’20)
South Euclid, Ohio

“The Summer Program is a chance to explore new
intellectual frontiers, to grow in your faith, and to meet
people who are geared toward obtaining virtue in the
same way you are. It gives an insight into all the gifts that
a TAC education can yield.”
— George Stypa (’21)
Tucson, Arizona

“ I could never fully explain the effect it had on me —
academically, spiritually, socially. The Summer Program
is just something you have to experience. And what an
incredible experience it is!”
— Maggie Dillon (’21)
Lunenburg, Massachusetts

For two weeks each summer, students from around the
country and abroad come to Thomas Aquinas College to
delight in spirited conversation, engaging firsthand with some of
the best works of the past 2,500 years. They read and discuss texts
selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition,
including Sophocles, Plato, Euclid, Pascal, Flannery O’Connor,
and St. Thomas Aquinas. Students on each campus forge new
friendships, enjoy the give and take of rational argument, and
pursue the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

You can join them!

The Program

The pursuit of wisdom begins with won-
der — wonder about the causes and
principles of man and the natural world,
and wonder about God, Who is the first
cause and principle of all things. Through
serious consideration of questions which
deeply concern every person, the Sum-
mer Program at Thomas Aquinas College
encourages wonder and leads participants
toward wisdom.

During the first week, discussions include son. The French naturalist J. Henri Fabre’s
questions concerning the sometimes con- argument for purpose and order in nature
flicting obligations to honor and obey par- is contrasted with that of some of the
ents, political leaders, and the Divinity — pre-Socratic philosophers who subscribe
questions raised by Sophocles in Oedipus to the idea of a godless universe, purely
Rex and Antigone, and by Plato in the Eut- material and existing by chance.
hyphro. The Biblical account of creation
and the fall of man in Genesis prompts The mornings of the second week center
a discussion about man’s nature and free on Euclid’s Elements, which demonstrates
will. Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, the intelligibility, order, and accessibility
Pascal’s famous essay on “The Wager,” and of mathematical concepts when under-
St. Thomas Aquinas’ proofs for the exis- stood from their first principles. In the
tence of God all occasion consideration
of the right relation between faith and rea-

Why the Great Books?

The Great Books are the seminal works in all the major
areas of learning, including mathematics, science, litera-
ture, philosophy, and theology. In studying and discussing
these works, rather than textbooks, students engage first-
hand with the most profound and influential thinkers of
Western civilization. The Great Books open up for their
readers the truth about reality. Studied carefully under
the light of faith, they touch students’ minds and hearts,
satisfying their hunger for the truth that makes men free.

afternoons, the curriculum
continues by addressing
more fully many of the
great questions that arose
during the previous week
with a reading of Boethius’
Consolation of Philosophy.
The program concludes
with Flannery O’Connor’s
short story “Everything
That Rises Must Converge,”
which revisits the earlier
questions about life and
death, arrogance and docil-
ity, and the grace that saves.

The Discussion Method

Learning in the Summer Program is not a matter of passive listening, note-taking, and
memorization. Rather, all classes in the program, like all classes at Thomas Aquinas Col-
lege, are conducted using the Discussion Method. Guided by the College’s teaching fac-
ulty, students work their way, together, through rigorous conversation about the readings.
Ideas are proposed, challenged, and defended until, through productive argumentation,
the students discern the meaning of a given text and its truth or error. Class sections are
limited to 17 students in order to allow each student the opportunity to contribute to the

The Readings

The Holy Bible: Genesis
Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy
Euclid: Elements
Fabre: Souvenirs Entomologiques
Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling
O’Connor: “Everything That Rises Must Converge”
Pascal: Pensées
Plato: Euthyphro
Pre-Socratic philosophers: Selections
Sophocles: Oedipus Rex, Antigone
St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae

California July 12–25

The California Summer Program takes place on Thomas
Aquinas College’s Santa Paula campus, 70 miles north
of Los Angeles in the foothills of the Topatopa moun-
tain range. When the students are not in the classroom,
they take full advantage of all the natural beauty that the
region has to offer. There are daily sports on the campus
athletic fields, beach volleyball on the College’s sand
court, swimming in spring-fed ponds, and hiking along
the hillside trails surrounding campus.

Other on-campus activities include open mic nights, theatrical skits, a movie night, and a
dance. Over the course of the program, the group also ventures off campus to experience
the best of Southern California. Students tour the J. Paul Getty Museum, enjoy a concert
with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, take an afternoon trip to the

beach, and spend an evening in historic
Santa Barbara.

Thomas Aquinas College is a genuinely
Catholic school with a rich sacramental
life. Mass is offered daily in Our Lady of
the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and a chap-
lain is available on campus at all times.
Religious activities are not mandatory,
however, and non-Catholic students are
welcome at the California campus.

New England July 26–August 8

Just 90 miles west of Boston, in Northfield,
Massachusetts, students at the New England
Summer Program can get a taste of life on
Thomas Aquinas College’s newly opened sec-
ond campus. Among its century-old buildings
is a newly restored gymnasium that includes a
swimming pool, basketball courts, and a dance
studio, as well as workout facilities and equip-

On-campus activities mirror those of the Cali-
fornia program, including swing dance classes,
“Theology on Tap” with root beer floats, and socials in the residence halls. Students travel
off campus to explore historic Boston and the Freedom Trail, kayak on the nearby Con-
necticut River, and enjoy a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood
Music Center.

Just as on the California program, a full-time
chaplain will be available throughout the New
England program, and Mass will be offered
daily in Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel.

In order to receive the full extent of religious-liberty protec-
tions under Massachusetts law, the College may admit only
Catholic students to the New England campus. Religious
devotions, however, are voluntary. The California campus
remains open to students of all faiths.



The High School Summer Program is open to rising high school seniors.


California: Sunday, July 12–Saturday, July 25
New England: Sunday, July 26–Saturday, August 8


To ask the big questions and explore the answers, forging new friendships to last a life-

How much?

Tuition is $975 and includes housing, meals, books, and organized activities on and off

Where do I apply?

Head to to fill out an application today!

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