Aquinas College is a small, Catholic liberal arts college in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Its origins date back to 1886, when a local Catholic congregation dedicated to local Catholic education – the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids – established the Novitiate Normal School for young women who had not yet taken their sisterly vows. The Normal School grew in size, becoming Sacred Heart College, and in 1922 it was renamed Catholic Junior College and became the first co-educational Catholic college in the US.
During the 1930s, the Dominican Sisters running Catholic Junior College fought with the diocese over control of the institution, and established the college’s independence. In 1941, the college was renamed Aquinas College, and reformed from a two-year to a four-year bachelor’s college.
The college offers more than 60 programs, including one of the first Master of Management degrees ever offered. While Aquinas College is focused on the liberal arts, there is also a range of courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics and other sciences available. Many students spend a semester studying abroad.
The college allows flexible learning, with full time and part time undergraduate and graduate majors. It was among the first to create programs for mature students, with courses on weekends and evenings.
Aquinas College is historically rooted in traditional Dominican values: ‘prayer, study, community and service, combined with a deep respect for truth, honesty and integrity.’
Its alumni include jazz musician John Proulx, former Governor of Guam, Carlos Camacho, and renowned African Studies scholar Godfrey Mwakikagile.