Thomas Aquinas College celebrates first graduating class in Northfield

  • Bishop Robert Joseph McManus and outgoing President Michael McLean lead members of the Class of 2022 to the Thomas Aquinas College commencement ceremony in Northfield on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Tam Nguyen/Thomas Aquinas College

  • Bishop Robert Joseph McManus, at right, waits to present a diploma to Benjamin Michael Augros of Waterbury, Connecticut, second from left, during Saturday's commencement ceremony at Thomas Aquinas College in Northfield. For the Recorder/Greg Vine

  • Bishop Robert Joseph McManus displays the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion presented to him by R. Scott Turicchi, chair of the Thomas Aquinas College Board of Governors, in Northfield on Saturday. For the Recorder/Greg Vine

  • Thomas Aquinas College's Class of 2022 at the Moody Auditorium in Northfield on Saturday. For the Recorder/Greg Vine

  • Members of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2022 toss their mortarboards in celebration in Northfield on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Tam Nguyen/Thomas Aquinas College

  • Graduate Jean Guerreiro of Brazil celebrates after receiving his diploma at Thomas Aquinas College in Northfield on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Tam Nguyen/Thomas Aquinas College

  • Chair of the Board of Governors R. Scott Turicchi presents the Chain of Office to newly sworn-in President Paul O’Reilly following Thomas Aquinas College’s commencement ceremony in Northfield on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Tam Nguyen/Thomas Aquinas College

For the Recorder
Published: 5/22/2022 12:33:54 PM
Modified: 5/22/2022 12:31:59 PM

NORTHFIELD — Thirty-two members of the Class of 2022 received their bachelor’s degrees on Saturday, becoming the first graduating class of Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus.

Graduates hailed from as nearby as Paxton and as far away as Brazil and the United Kingdom. More than 200 people gathered in the campus auditorium to see the graduates receive their diplomas.

The Roman Catholic liberal arts college opened its doors to students in Northfield in August 2019. The 217-acre campus had been mostly unoccupied since Northfield Mount Hermon School, the previous occupant, consolidated to its Gill campus in 2005. Students transferred from Thomas Aquinas College’s campus in Santa Paula, Calif., as sophomores and spent their final three years forging new traditions in Massachusetts.

During the invocation, Head Chaplain Rev. Greg Markey praised the graduates for having the courage to come to the new campus “and believe that God would never abandon him or her in this daring adventure.” Their success, he said, would motivate future students to attend Thomas Aquinas College.

Following a short welcoming statement from college President Michael McLean, Peter McDonald of Pillowville, Tenn., gave the senior address. McLean praised the education that he and fellow graduates had received at Thomas Aquinas, including its emphasis on Catholic doctrine, saying they had all been taught to “dedicate our minds and souls to Mary.”

Noting that the Class of 2022 did not “have unity” when its members first arrived in Northfield, McLean said working together and shared experiences knit the class closer together. The experience, he said, strengthened their faith and willingness to help one another and, ultimately, to help those they will meet as they pursue their careers.

McLean then welcomed commencement speaker, the Rev. Robert Joseph McManus, bishop of the Worcester Diocese. Before McManus’ address, however, R. Scott Turicchi, chair of Thomas Aquinas College’s Board of Governors, presented him with the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion for his work on behalf of the Catholic Church and Catholic institutions of higher learning.

McManus praised the graduates for their four years of hard work, stressing the importance of the Catholic education they had received in Northfield, noting it will provide them with the moral foundation they need to persevere. He urged them to call on their faith throughout their future endeavors.

Once diplomas had been distributed, Turicchi administered the oath of office to Paul O’Reilly, who is succeeding McLean, becoming the fifth president of the college.


Connor Michael Ames of Fairfax, Virginia; Grace Anderson of Lafayette, California; Nathan Alexander Andrues of Novato, California; Benjamin Michael Augros of Waterbury, Connecticut; Mary Immaculata Baker of Littleton, Colorado; Joseph Campion Caldwell of Denver, Colorado; Nathanael Joseph Cassidy of Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom; Clotilde Isabel Maria Cecchi of Cazenovia, New York; Jonahs Maurice Chavez of Chowchilla, California; Lia Grace Clarity of Piney Flats, Tennessee; Joseph Peter Kwon Donahoe of Chatham, New Jersey; Thomas Doylend of Morgan Hill, California; Peter Michael Duchow of Spokane, Washington; Peter Dominic Goyette of Santa Paula, California; Jean Carlos Guerreiro of Brusque, Santa Catarina, Brazil; Jeffrey Patrick Augustine Healey of Napa, California; Cecilia Elizabeth Marie Huckins of Auburn, California; Simone Louise Kelly of Santa Paula, California; Emily Marie Letteney of Santa Paula, California; Peter Joseph McDonald of Pillowville, Tennessee; Paul William Metilly of Paxton, Massachusetts; Pierce Joseph Mulholland of Lincoln, Nebraska; Kevin Carmody Murphy of St. Louis, Missouri; Mary Margaret O’Reilly of Ojai, California; Theresa Marie-Philomene Peek of Wanganui, New Zealand; Sarah Clarissa Preciado Castro of Sunnyvale, California; Rosamarie Anna Salas of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Margaret Marie Short of Pasadena, California; Katharine Ann Simia of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Sophie Genevieve Steigerwald of Elm Grove, Wisconsin; Victor Augustus Ulizko of Bloomfield, New Jersey; and Liam Edward Walsh of Banks, Oregon.


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