California, Liberal Education and Single Malt Scotch!

Last Saturday I attended my daughter’s graduation from Thomas Aquinas College. The campus is beautiful, the weather perfect, the people are smart, wholesome, good and everyone is beautiful for some reason. Maybe the soul really is the substantial form of the body!

I am kicking myself for not taking pictures. The science building was beautiful and contains a beautiful Foucault Pendulum in its atrium.

The college choir sang the well-known Hassler Mass which by now is sort of a TAC trademark.  I haven’t seen a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin for quite a while, so that was thrilling as well.

The final hymn was set to the tune “I vow to thee my country” which you may hear for yourself:

That is an excellent hymn and just perfect for stirring hearts in the right way for a commencement.

The classrooms in the science building (St Albert’s Hall) were beautiful and contained excellent seminar tables (octagonal I think). I have always wanted to have a discussion around a real seminar table. We have improvised tables of our own at The Lyceum- but someday it would be nice to have real solid mahogany or oak oval tables that can seat anywhere between 12 to 19 people. That would be heaven!

The professors at the college are fantastic and one can’t help but to come away knowing that the mission of the college as envisioned by its founders is well-preserved and carried forward by many capable hands.

The weekend flew by too fast, but I was still able to see beautiful Malibu (my friend made certain to take the coastal route from the airport to Ojai where he also “put me up”). Friday night we attended a little soiree at a “beach house” in Ventura after walking on the famous pier. Saturday night we returned to Ventura for some Thai food. Sunday afternoon and evening we enjoyed a six-eight course meal at the little “pad” of a tutor who is well known for his extravagant hospitality. (I don’t mean to imply excess here- just magnificence!) This dinner also included a single malt scotch tasting which was very instructive, and a “once in a life time experience” – since several of the scotches simply are not produced anymore. That is the way with single malt scotch production, as I have come to understand. There are roughly 100 distilleries in Scotland of which this or that one may cease production – of which my friend possessed several bottles – among his very large collection of those which are still producing)

Needless to say – if one intends to become a single malt scotch connoisseur one will need to become an expert with this map.

The whole weekend reminded me a bit of what St Thomas Aquinas says might be understood of a “long life” when he talks about the rewards for those who obey the fourth commandment. Sometimes a pious person does not live that long in years- but, as St Thomas says, if we understand “a long life” in the sense of a ‘full life’ we might say that saints such as Dominic Savio and Maria Goretti lived long lives.

So even though the weekend was short temporally speaking- it was about the fullest three days I have spent in the last ten years!

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About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
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