Story by Jayden Jones, Opinion Editor
After Dr. Kevin Quinn announced at the end of the fall semester that he would not pursue another term as president of Aquinas College, a search committee led by John Lowrey and Sam Cummings began a nation-wide recruitment effort. They’re looking for a candidate capable of achieving financial stability, enhancing the academic distinction of the College, prioritizing the unique mission and identity of the College, promoting diversity and restoring unity to the Aquinas community.
Finding a president who will guide this institution into a future of growth is undeniably a daunting task. In my opinion, the person best suited to identifying the most important qualities a presidential candidate should possess is our patron himself, St. Thomas Aquinas.
Aquinas was a man all too familiar with the nuances of power and politics. His parents sent him to a Benedictine monastery, hoping that he would eventually become a Benedictine Abbot (a respected position of power). Instead, he opted to become a Dominican friar. Desperate to prevent this, his family went as far as to send a prostitute into his quarters, hoping to tempt him into giving up the life of virtue he desired. Not one to be manipulated, Thomas drove her from the room with a hot poker.
His life was marked by his incredible academic prowess; his works have contributed not only to the development of Aquinas College but also to the Catholic Church and the world at large. My first exposure to Aquinas was through his work on the virtues, specifically prudence, justice and courage. It is these four virtues that I believe to be the most important qualities to look for in any potential presidential candidate.
Known as “the mother of all virtues,” prudence is defined by Aquinas as “wisdom concerning human affairs.” Prudence is the compass for all decisions; it will allow our future president to act in a way that is ordered towards the good of the Aquinas community.
Courage is the ability to restrain and control one’s fears so that they do not become an obstacle to others. It is ultimately a “strength of hope” which will carry our future president through inevitable times of trial and struggling.
Justice is intrinsically connected to our relationship with others. Together, as the Aquinas community, we are part of a greater whole. What affects one of us affects all of us, in one way or another. Justice is an integral part of giving to each person what they are due. Aquinas holds that there are “different kinds of due,” which sounds strangely similar to the idea of equity. Social justice has always been an important part of the Dominican tradition and the fact that our president needs to possess a deep commitment to social justice almost goes without saying.