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Patrick Foley

COLLEGE OF ST. THOMAS MORE. The College of St. Thomas More was founded as St. Thomas More Institute on December 26, 1981, by a group of parishioners of St. Patrick Cathedral parish of Fort Worth. The purpose of establishing the institute was to erect "in Fort Worth a Roman Catholic liberal arts college devoted to teaching and learning within the tradition of Catholic arts and letters." In 1982 St. Thomas More Institute was incorporated under Texas law as the Fellows and Visitors of the Saint Thomas More Institute. James Patrick, institute provost, and Ronald Muller, dean of the new school, began to offer short courses in Fort Worth and Dallas in theology, philosophy, and literature. This informal curriculum existed under the auspices of the institute and was called the Common Tradition Curriculum. In 1983 St. Thomas More Institute moved into a donated building in Fort Worth. In that same year the first Cardinal Newman Lecture was hosted and the institute's first visiting professor addressed the school's community. By 1985, an annual budget had been established and the basic courses of a two-year curriculum leading to the associate of arts degree had been developed. In that same year a permanent home for the college was found in the university neighborhood of Fort Worth, when a building located on Merida Street was purchased by the school. The number of students in the Common Tradition Curriculum, in the meantime, had increased to approximately seventy-five, and another sixteen students were enrolled in the college curriculum. By this time, it was understood that the college had been established "to make accessible the great tradition of learning that celebrates language and literature, history, philosophy, and theology as the philosophic forms of the soul, seeking to give these an ordered existence and to make them accessible to every student."

Considerable expansion of the college occurred between 1986 and 1989. It acquired a second building on Lubbock Street, just around the block from the Merida Street edifice in Fort Worth. The college's library holdings were expanded through gifts and donations, and student enrollment grew to twenty-five. Meanwhile, in 1986, St. Thomas More's Oxford Studies Program, initiated at the Oxford suburb of Littlemore, England, was started. As the college continued to develop, in 1988 Judith Shank joined the institution as its fourth teaching fellow. In the fall of 1988 the school applied to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to become a degree-granting institution. In January 1989 the school became a college under Texas law and began its Rome term.

Between 1990 and 1994 the college's library volumes grew in number to about 6,000, housed in one of the two additional buildings that the college acquired. Student enrollment in the college curriculum increased to more than sixty, and the college began to offer some seminars "in ethics, history, and the liberal arts for area civic and business leaders." It also began sponsoring conferences and lectures throughout North Texas. In June 1994 the College of St. Thomas More was granted full accreditation as a two-year college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Enrollment in the fall of 2001 was sixty-three, with a teaching faculty of six. James A. Patrick was the college provost.


North Texas Catholic, August 5, 1994.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Patrick Foley, "COLLEGE OF ST. THOMAS MORE," accessed June 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/iwcve.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 8, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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