At a time when Americans are increasingly interested in questions of religious liberty and the relationship between Church and State, Belmont Abbey College offers select applicants the opportunity to become Thomas More Scholars. The Thomas More Scholarship Program aims to enrich the academic experience of morally serious, principled, talented students interested in the vital moral and political issues of our age and the exercise of public courage in defense of the truth. To this end, the Thomas More Program provides:
one seminar-style class each year focused on the study and discussion of the foundational works and seminal ideas of the Western intellectual tradition
the opportunity to participate in other stimulating extracurricular activities throughout the year, including social gatherings, hikes, reading groups, and cultural events
The program takes inspiration from the life and thought of the great Saint Thomas More. Through a broad classical education and a life of prudence informed by faith, Thomas More exemplified the Renaissance tradition of bringing classical learning to bear on political life. In keeping with More’s example, the program seeks young men and women who are themselves looking for a “Renaissance” education that integrates faith, learning, and moral courage, one that promotes the development of virtue and wisdom. High school seniors with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher will be considered for admission to the Thomas More Scholarship Program. The Thomas More Scholarship Program is a four-year award. Renewal for each academic year is contingent upon a student’s maintaining a 3.0-grade point average and his/her continued participation in the Thomas More Scholarship Program by taking Thomas More Scholars courses and by taking part in required Thomas More Scholars activities (attendance at occasional dinners, lectures by visiting professors, etc.).
Faculty Conversation: Each year students attend a live public Socratic conversation among several faculty members on a portion of one of the great texts from the core or the Great Tradition Seminars.
More Program Book: Each year all members of the program read one great book outside of class. The selected text will be one not normally studied in the More Seminars or the Abbey core. This text provides the basis for a cross-cohort all-program seminar where students and instructors discuss the work in small groups mixed of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Other Cultural and Extracurricular Activities: Students in the program will also have the opportunity to attend annual lectures and cultural events, to participate in reading groups and outdoor activities with the director and faculty members, to dine with faculty off campus, and to enjoy social gatherings.
“We cannot go to heaven in feather beds” – Saint Thomas More
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Thomas More Curriculum
Thomas More Seminars (12 Credits) on the Great Western Traditions
The curriculum consists of a four-course sequence—one per year—centered on the study of the great works of the Western intellectual tradition, ancient, Christian, and modern, that raise the fundamental questions about human existence and reality. The program’s approach to these works is philosophic and characterized by a wisdom-seeking spirit. There are no textbooks in the More Program. Students study and discuss the original writings of the greatest authors not so much to learn what others have said as to seek the truth about reality under their guidance. Most texts are read in their entirety.
Year 1 Seminar – Greek Intellectual Tradition: Study and discussion of foundational Greek texts in history, philosophy, and literature. Authors studied include Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Plato, and Thucydides.
Year 2 Seminar – Roman Intellectual Tradition:Study and discussion of foundational Roman texts in history, philosophy, and literature. Authors studied include Virgil, Lucretius, Livy, Ovid, Marcus Aurelius, and Plutarch.
Year 3 Seminar – Medieval Intellectual Tradition:Study and discussion of foundational Medieval texts in history, philosophy, and literature. Authors studied include Dante, Boethius, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Joinville and Villehardouin, and Chaucer.
Year 4 Seminar – Modern Intellectual Tradition:Study and discussion of foundational Modern texts in history, philosophy, and literature. Authors studied include Austen, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Descartes, Tocqueville, and Eliot.
“Dear Lord, give us the grace to work for the things we pray for” – Saint Thomas More
Thomas More Schedule of Activities
Fall Thomas More Schedule (Tentative)
I. Freshman Seminars*
*Tuesday, September 8th– Evening Seminar Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Location: Stowe Hall, Room 300 Reading: C.S. Lewis, “Learning in War Time” Attendance is required for freshman Thomas More Scholars and optional for members of other classes. *Tuesday, September 22nd-Evening Seminar Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Location: Stowe Hall, Room 300 Reading: Joseph Pieper,The Christian Idea of Man Attendance is required for freshman Thomas More Scholars and optional for members of other classes. *Tuesday October 20th-Evening Seminar Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Location: Stowe Hall, Room 300 Reading: Winston Churchill, “Fifty Years Hence” and “Mass Effects in Modern Life” Attendance is required for freshman Thomas More Scholars and optional for members of other classes. *Tuesday, November 3rd– Evening Seminar Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm Location: Stowe Hall, Room 300 Reading: St. Thomas Aquinas, Questions on the Active and Contemplative Life from Summa Theologica. Attendance is required for freshman Thomas More Scholars and optional for members of other classes. *Attendance is required for freshman More students only but is open to other More students.
II. All-More Seminar- Flaubert’s Three Tales (All More Students and Alumni Invited)
Tuesday, October 6th-All More Seminar Time:7:00-9:00pm Locations: TBD Reading: Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales Attendance is required for all Thomas More Scholars. Open to program alumni.
III. Social Events (All More Students and Alumni Invited)
Friday, September 18th-Social Event-Film and Discussion Time: 7:30 Location: Grace Auditorium Film: Casablanca Event is for all Thomas More Scholars and program alumni Friday, October 30-Social Event-Campfire with Music, Poetry, and Food Time: 8:00 Location: Wysocki Home Event is for all Thomas More Scholars and program alumni. All are encouraged to bring instruments, song lyrics to share, and poetry to recite.
IV. Thomas More Lecture
Monday, October 12th Time: 8:00pm Location: Haid Theatre Speaker: Dr. Peter Lawler, Dana Professor of Government, Berry College Attendance is required for all Thomas More Scholars, Open to program alumni.
“I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first” –Saint Thomas More
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