What a blessing the past five years have been! Of all the letters I have written as President of Thomas More College, none has felt as bittersweet as the letter I write today. I leave you to join St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, another faith-based Diocesan school much like Thomas More. I believe the work accomplished during my tenure at TMC will serve to guide the College as it moves forward. A number of endeavors rooted in our Strategic Plan are helping to secure the College’s future at a moment of adversity for the nation’s liberal arts schools.
We are valuing more. When I arrived at TMC, we were fighting to differentiate ourselves in a tough enrollment market. I’m happy to report that the last three classes of incoming first-year students have been the largest in the College’s history, and I anticipate that this new generation of Thomas More students will continue the tradition of service and sacrifice embodied in our patron saint.
We are engaging more. Just this spring, the College fulfilled the challenge of a $4 million matching grant awarded in 2014, which has since endowed the Thomas More Success Center. The Success Center provides the resources and expertise necessary as we raise the bar for the highest-achieving students, assist students striving to overcome academic challenges, and prepare them all to enter the workforce of tomorrow.
We are thriving more. TMC’s vigorous fundraising efforts and our community’s willingness to invest in us have helped stabilize the College’s financial health. For the last two fiscal years, we have run a budget surplus when most schools like us are operating on a deficit.
The changes still ahead promise to equip Thomas More as a 21st-century school while honoring our heritage in the liberal arts. Foremost among these tasks is adopting a new internal structure and becoming Thomas More University. As a faculty member once summed it up to me, “We’ll have the mind of a university but the soul of a college.”
For us, that soul is our Catholic Identity. Over the past five years, initiatives such as the Bishop Foys Scholarship, the Rosary Rally, the Ethical Leadership Studies major, and the Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III ’67 Institute for Religious Liberty, among others, have lent a new richness and breadth to Catholic culture on our campus. Of all the laudable developments at Thomas More, none can surpass the advancement of our Catholic mission: to honor the human person in all we do.
The best way to end, I believe, is with gratitude. I will always be thankful to our Board of Trustees for the opportunity to lead such a fine college into the future; to Bishop Foys and the Diocese of Covington for inspiring us to remember our origin as a diocesan school; to the donors who have supported our vision for an affordable values-based education; to our staff for their hard work enabling our students to thrive; and to the faculty whose knowledge and guidance is the heart of the TMC experience for all our graduates. Most of all, I want to thank the students and alumni who have impressed me every day I have served as your President. You are the reason we do the work we do.
One last time: God Bless and Go Saints!
David A. Armstrong, J.D.
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