What is Regent University’s Thomistic Institute Chapter?

At Regent’s 2023 Student Life Awards Celebration, the Thomistic Institute won “Best Student Club,” and the chapter’s vice-president won “Student Leader of the Year.” Since its founding  2 years ago, Regent’s Thomistic Institute chapter has rapidly grown, attracting student members who are excited about philosophy and the Christian intellectual tradition.

The Thomistic Institute, often referred to as the “TI,” is an international organization of over 80 student-run chapters at universities such as Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT. It is an academic institute that aims to strengthen the intellectual formation of students through the thought of Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval synthesizer of ancient philosophy, Christian tradition, and the Bible.

Over the past year, Regent’s TI chapter hosted eight well-attended lectures and seminars, with topics ranging from “Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant” to “How is My iPhone Changing Me?” In addition, the chapter funded an intellectual retreat in DC for a cohort of Regent students. The TI also conducted a bi-weekly, student-led discussion on philosophical questions called Coffee with Aquinas, as well as a reading group on Étienne Gilson’s God and Philosophy.

Through these events, Regent’s TI chapter helps students approach philosophy from a distinctly Christian viewpoint and obtain a better grasp of concepts introduced in classes such as GENE 150, GENE 250 and HONS 150-350.

This semester, Regent’s TI chapter has prepared an impressive list of speakers and lecture topics. Dr. Peter Kreeft, an internationally renowned philosopher and professor at Boston College, will speak on Thomas Aquinas’ influence on C. S. Lewis. Fr. Gregory Pine O.P., a Dominican friar and theologian who regularly appears on Pints with Aquinas, will give a lecture entitled “Is Lying Always Wrong?”Dr. Michael Root, a retired professor who has taught at both Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, will lecture on the Biblical basis for the doctrine of purgatory.

The speakers will also conduct a seminar related to their lecture topic that will be available to official members of the chapter. Student members are formally affiliated with the international Thomistic Institute network and receive benefits such as leadership positions, invitations to members-only events, and opportunities to connect with peer chapters at other universities. Regent’s TI chapter will continue Coffee with Aquinas and hold a semester-long reading group on two short books by Josef Pieper: Divine Madness: Plato’s Case Against Secular Humanism and Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power. As always, both events will offer free refreshments such as Starbucks’ coffee, bagels and donuts.

While Regent has several classes that draw heavily on great philosophical works, the TI chapter appeals to students who are passionate about philosophy and want to delve deeper. Following the example of Thomas Aquinas, who used natural reason to defend biblical truths and tackle timeless issues, the Thomistic Institute equips students to be Christian apologists in a secular world.