By: Dr. John Pinheiro, Paraclete Adviser
Aquinas College’s mission statement describes the school as an “inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic Dominican tradition.” “Inclusivity” at a college with a distinctive religious identity like Aquinas means that all are welcome freely to enter into our educational community. Yet “Community” by definition means a group of people located in one place who share a common heritage, common values, and a common culture. An inclusive community, therefore, is one that is so confident in its value and uniqueness that rather than being insular opens its doors to all. A college is a community oriented toward a genuine pursuit of the truth in all things. This does not mean all are in agreement about, to borrow Aristotle’s definition of truth, “what is and what is not.” This is why, as Allan Bloom writes in The Closing of the American Mind, an academic community by its very nature is one where diversity is a foregone conclusion and civil disagreement is common because all are seeking the truth of things
According to St. John, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would “teach you all truth” (John 16:13). Truth is the purpose of a liberal arts education and St. Thomas Aquinas taught that all truth points to God, because God is truth. This means education is a sacred task, both in the teaching and in the learning. The promise of this paper is that it will approach truth seriously, reflectively, and from a Catholic perspective. In so doing it will help fulfill the mission of the college. It aims to engage in this task lovingly, for love is another of the fruits of the Spirit. My prayer is that the paper lives up to its name, enlightening all who read it.