Heritage & Traditions at Aquinas College
2000 to 2009
2000 - 2003
Aquinas College/Circle Theatre collaboration is approved by the Board. The new Performing Arts Center will be shared by Aquinas College theater department, Circle Theatre, and Catholic Secondary Schools, making it a facility that is rarely dark.
Community-based nursing program begins at Aquinas in collaboration with University of Detroit Mercy and Saint Mary's Medical Center.
On 9/11, the campus is transfixed as events in New York and Washington reveal the worst terror attack in American history. A spontaneous prayer gathering draws over a hundred people to the Fatima Shrine.
In September, the Aquinas theater program is revived with a production of Oedipus Rex in the Art and Music Center amphitheater, starring English professor Dan Brooks as Oedipus and Sr. Rosemary O'Donnell as Jocasta.
Aquinas's athletic program, under Athletic Director Terry Bocian, is named by the NAIA as a "Champions of Character" institution, one of only 31 colleges nationwide so designated. The honor recognizes respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, and servant leadership in coaches and athletes.
Inauguration of Aquinas College Hall of Fame and Athletic Hall of Fame. The annual event, held on the Friday of Homecoming weekend, honors individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to the college and community, or who have had outstanding careers in collegiate athletics.
Aquinas College and University of Detroit Mercy team up to offer a community-based nursing program to West Michigan students.
The Aquinas College Performing Arts Center, opened in 2003, is a unique collaborative venture, a building used year round by three different performing companies.
The Ireland Program celebrates its thirtieth anniversary at Homecoming. Founded in the 1970's, it has become Aquinas's most successful foreign study program.
A new major in Sustainable Business is added to the curriculum. Aquinas College is the first college in Michigan to offer an undergraduate degree in this emerging field that emphasizes the "triple bottom line" of profitability combined with social and environmental responsibility.
Men's tennis wins the Grand Rapids City Collegiate Championship. Track wins WHACchampionship. Basketball coach Dave Hammer leads the Saints squad to national tourney appearances, Grand Rapids City Championships, and WHAC championships in the middle of the decade.
Classrooms in the Academic Building and Albertus Hall are outfitted with technology equipment, housed in a single unit, which includes controls for ceiling mounted projectors which allow for classroom presentations from the Internet, DVD/VCR viewing, sound projection and Power Point presentations. The TAP units quickly become indispensable resources for many teachers.
The North Central Accrediting Association gives Aquinas a 7 year reaccreditation.
Athletic director Terry Bocian receives the Warren Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award at the March of Dimes West Michigan Sports Award banquet at the Meijer Gardens.
The student newspaper changes its name from The Aquinas Times to The Saint. In October, the first talk in the Saint Thomas Aquinas Lecture on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition is given.
The College breaks ground for The Grace Hauenstein Library, a reconfiguration and expansion of the Jarecki Center for Advanced Learning and Lacks Center. Long a dream of the college, the free-standing library will contain up-to-date electronic equipment, expanded internet and e-book access, and a computer classroom. The building which incorporates the Jarecki Center for Advanced Learning and the Lacks Center classrooms will become a total learning center. (At left:) Ground is broken for the new Grace Hauenstein library, a creative extension of the pre-existing Jarecki-Lacks Center.
Competitive Dance is offered as an athletic activity for the first time.
Nobel Prize winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney appears as part of the Contemporary Writers Series 2005-06 season.
The major in sustainable business stresses the close interconnection between environmental responsibility and good business practice. Here professor Matt Tueth leads a class during the Alaska field course.
2006 - 2009
At a joint faculty-staff assembly in January, President Harry Knopke announces he will retire at the end of June to pursue other life options. A search committee is formed of the members of the Board of Trustees and the officers of the faculty and staff assemblies. During spring and summer, a nationwide search is conducted for a replacement. Knopke's legacy includes increased offerings in foreign study and service opportunities, the first new residence halls built on campus in thirty years, and Aquinas's ranking in the upper tier of Midwest colleges in the annual U.S. News and World Report ranking several years running.
May 10 - Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney reads before an overflow crowd as the concluding event of the 2005-2006 Contemporary Writers Series.
July & August - The library prepares to move from its old cramped quarters in the Academic Building to its new location. As part of the changeover, every title in the collection is re-catalogued from Dewey decimal to Library of Congress numbers. In late August, the move takes place, using a professional library-moving company to transport the library holdings to the new, more spacious quarters in the Grace Hauenstein library.
September - The Grace Hauenstein Library opens its doors to the Aquinas Community. The building, designed by Progressive AE, becomes the first on campus to receive the U. S. Green Building Council's Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
Inside the Grace Hauenstein Library, the computer carrels allow for full internet access as well as access to all Aquinas College computer programs.
The Grace Hauenstein Library at night shines like a beacon of learning.
May 23 - The Board of Trustees announces that C. Edward Balog, Ph.D. has been appointed as the College's sixth president. Dr. Balog, the college's Provost since 2000, had served as interim president of Aquinas since July 1, 2006. He was elected unanimously at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 22, 2007 and assumes his new role July 1, 2007. On October 26, festivities are held across campus to celebrate the inauguration of C. Edward Balog, Ph.D. as the sixth president of Aquinas College.
Patrick Miles, Jr. (left), Chairman of the Aquinas College Board of Trustees, and Monsignor William Duncan (center), Vice Chair of the Aquinas College Board of Trustees, congratulate Dr. C. Edward Balog during the inauguration ceremony.
President Balog with students at the Viva Balog! celebration of his inauguration in October 2007. The Viva Balog T-shirts become instant collectors items.
(At left:) The new artificial turf soccer field is blessed by Deacon Dennis Williams, assisted by members of the women's soccer team. Aquinas became the first team in its conference to play on artificial turf. The field also accommodates men's and women's lacrosse.
Holmdene 100th Anniversary is celebrated with production of a special commemorative DVD, restoration and maintenance of the historical building exterior, and a special luncheon with descendants of the Lowe family who once owned the estate on which the college stands.