Heritage & Traditions at Aquinas College

2010 - Present


Lacrosse: Men's lacrosse starts as a club team in 2009, then goes varsity in 2010. Women's lacrosse holds its first season in 2010 and triumphs over all comers with a 29-2 record and regional runner up title under coach Frank Rogers.

Men's lacrosse makes use of the new artificial turf field for its fast and furious sport.

In their inaugural season the women's lacrosse team swamped the competition with their 29-2 record.

A masters degree in Sustainable Business is inaugurated to build on the success of the bachelor's degree in this same area. The Center of Sustainability is founded to be a resource for the college and area businesses on sustainable practices and new developments in the field of sustainability.

The Performing Arts Center becomes the main stage for Aquinas's revitalized theater program.

The festivities surrounding graduation day, including the baccalaureate mass and commencement ceremony, remain a highlight of the academic year for students, faculty, staff and parents.

Phase I of the Fieldhouse renovation opens with the unveiling of the new Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. With fitness equipment for use by students and student athletes, and a new playing surface for indoor sports, the Center looks like a new facility even though the essential footprint and structure of the building is the 1969 Physical Education and Assembly Building. Fundraising for Phase II of Sturrus, a wing that will house indoor practice areas for baseball and softball as well as an indoor track, continues.

The Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center offers a modern workout room for students and staff.

The reconfigured gym and new floor provide a fresh new venue for Aquinas' indoor sports, including basketball and volleyball. Student athletes were displaced for a year while the old Physical Education and Assembly Building, originally opened in 1969, underwent a massive facelift to become the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center, a premier athletic facility.

The Board of Trustees develops a new strategic plan, "Vision Twenty20: Creating a Habit of Mind," to guide the College development over the next ten years.


The Higher Learning Commission, formerly known as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, concludes its March visitation giving Aquinas College a ten-year reaccreditation, its highest recommendation.

Dr. Edward Balog, having successfully guided the school through the re-accreditation process, announces his retirement, effective June 30. On leaving campus, Balog believes his legacy is to have focused on academic excellence across the disciplines and developing a new level of professionalism among the faculty.

After Dr. Balog's announcement of his intended retirement, the Board of Trustees appoints a search committee which conducts a limited search, inviting selected individuals to apply for the vacant position. In April, the Board announces its choice of Dr. Juan Olivarez to be the seventh president of Aquinas College effective July 1, 2011.

(At right:) Dr. Juan Olivarez, a 1971 graduate of Aquinas College and former president of Grand Rapids Community College, is selected by the Aquinas College Board of Trustees to be Aquinas's seventh president, starting his term after Dr. Balog's June 30 retirement. 

2011 - 2012

Aquinas College celebrates its quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, with several signature events to honor the four Dominican charisms which have guided the college since its beginning as Novitiate Normal School in 1886. Prayer, study, service and community are celebrated with public ceremonies, a book written by English professor Gary Eberle, and plans for Dominican Heritage Plaza, a redesigned space between Wege Center and the Academic Building.