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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Aquinas College

Aquinas College

GRHC - August 22nd, 2013

Aquinas College has had several names and been in several locations, but it has occupied its beautiful wooded campus since 1945.


Aquinas College was born from the vision of Mother Aquinata. She arrived in Traverse City, in 1875, with a small group of Dominican nuns, to carry on educational, nursing, and charitable work. In 1886 she established the Novitiate Normal School for the training of candidates for the sisterhood, also in Traverse City.

In 1922 the normal school was merged with the College for Laywomen, founded that year at Marywood Academy on East Fulton. The Michigan State Legislature, with full power to grant scholastic degrees, incorporated the school.

In 1931 the school was transferred to 69 Ransom Ave. NE where the sisters for years had conducted a girls’ high school known as Sacred Heart Academy. Co-education was inaugurated and the school reorganized on a two-year basis. It became known as Catholic Junior College. The excellence of the school as a junior college was readily recognized. To meet the demand for education beyond the junior level, it became necessary to operate as a four-year college. It was then that school authorities selected the name Aquinas College, named for Thomas Aquinas whose philosophy guides the Dominican order.

Since 1945 the school, with its winding drives and beautiful trees, has occupied its current site between Fulton and Robinson Road, the former Lowe family estate. However, the very first occupants of the site were cows, part of the McCoy Dairy farm.


Full Details

TitleAquinas College
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; Aquinas College
Pubdate StringAugust 22nd, 2013

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