By Ella Fordyce, Class of 2019
Some weeks after classes began, the entirety of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts met for Convocation and its first Traditio. As Fellow and President Dr. William Fahey explained, the concept of Traditio was born out of TMC’s early Humanities program. Back in the days when TMC had a very small student body, all students of the College were combined for the Humanities sequence. As TMC grew, it was no longer feasible for so many students to take one class at the same time. Nonetheless, the school knew there was a great value in students collectively striving for understanding of one great work. For this reason, Traditio days, where faculty and students alike meet to discuss one work, became an established part of the TMC curriculum.
This year, the school met to discuss a biography of Thomas More written by his son-in-law, William Roper. Of course, so many people discussing one work would not be particularly fruitful; thus, three fellows were chosen to lead a panel of discussion. The panel consisted of Fellow Mr. Fred Fraser, Fellow Dr. Anthony Esolen, and Fellow and Dean of Students Dr. Denis Kitzinger. They each, in turn, brought up points or questions that had struck them while reading The Life of Thomas More. While the discussion covered many topics, the three agreed that William Roper’s great affection for his father-in-law was very evident throughout the text.
After a short break, the College reconvened, at which point the panel opened the floor to questions from the assembled students and faculty. The ensuing conversation lasted for an hour, at which point everyone retired for Mass, said by Chaplain Father Healey. Dinner followed, and when everyone had their fill, they headed over to the tent on the lawn for Convocation. Fellow and Dean Mr. Walter J. Thompson opened the evening by explaining that Convocation is the event by which, calling together all faculty, staff, and students TMC marks the beginning of a new academic year. Mr. Thompson proceeded to welcome faculty, staff, and all new students. When he announced that Fellow John McCarthy was for the first time being welcomed as Dr. McCarthy, the audience burst into riotous applause.
The College thus being called together, President Fahey welcomed the keynote speaker, the Hon. Scott J. Bloch. An attorney in Washington DC, Mr. Bloch is a founder of Wyoming Catholic College, a board member of TMC, and proud father and grandfather to seven children and eight grandchildren. In his address, Mr. Bloch spoke of the distinction between schooling and education. While many students today are content with mere schooling, students at TMC seek an education where they may plumb the depths of wisdom. While this may be a glorious pursuit, Mr. Bloch warned us that there will still be many trials in our lives, particularly given the sad state of Western Civilization. But if we remember both our education and those friends that pursued it with us, we will have the strength to rise up, save Western Civilization, and enjoy true merriment, despite the trials along the way.