Centennial Events

Thomas More University invites you to a celebration 100 years in the making. Below is a list of centennial events that are planned to honor 100 years of academic excellence.


Saints Football Game

Thomas More Field at Griffin Plaza
Fall football returns with an opening game under the stars — and stripes.



In 1945, the return of WW II veterans and passage of the G.I. Bill marked the beginning of co-education at Villa Madonna College and in 1947 introduction of athletic programs that were suspended in 1951 when students and faculty enlisted to serve in the Korean War. Since resuming sports in 1954, the number of athletic programs has expanded to 29 today. Student athletes now represent 49% of current enrollment demonstrating our commitment to providing a well-rounded education that fosters personal growth physically, intellectually, spiritually, and socially.

In memory of 9/11, and to commemorate the relationship between the military service and sports in our history, all veterans, law enforcement, and first responders are invited to the President’s Tent at the opening game of our centennial year to honor and thank those who serve to protect our freedom and ensure our safety.


Sunday, September 12, 2021 | 10 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, KY
Founders Day reception follows — Covington Latin School


On this date 100 years ago, Villa Madonna College had its beginning on the grounds of Villa Madonna Academy as the Sisters of St. Benedict welcomed seven young women entering the convent to classes that would prepare them for teacher certification. By 1924, the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Congregation of Divine Providence joined the Benedictine Sisters and the College moved to downtown Covington in 1929 and reorganized under the leadership of Bishop Francis Howard as a Diocesan College for religious and laywomen. Initially focused on educating teachers who would serve generations of children in area schools, faculty and programs increased as more laywomen were recruited. The very first male students (taught in separate classes only) were limited to graduates of the Latin School in a non-accredited program known as the St. Thomas More College project from 1934-1941. This is part of the history that led to choosing our new name!

For 39 years, Covington from 12th Street to 6th Street was the college “campus,” and the Cathedral was the “chapel” for all our important occasions. To honor the visionary religious communities who planted the seeds that grew to become the Catholic university of the Diocese of Covington— one of only 11 diocesan colleges and universities in the US today—we will formally begin our year of celebration by returning to our roots.

A Mass of thanksgiving celebrated by the Bishop of Covington who is Chancellor of the University will be followed by the reception at the school next door that provided the students for our earliest step towards co-education.

Academic Convocation

Monday, September 13, 2021 | 9 a.m.
Connor Convocation Center


Traditionally in higher education, a convocation is an assembly of the entire university community for a special occasion with trustees, faculty, and administration in full academic regalia. It is a unifying event to build community and, when held as classes begin, it celebrates the university’s past achievements and looks forward to the promise of the year ahead.

To mark the start of this centennial academic year, a formal Academic Convocation welcoming students and highlighting achievement of this historic milestone is planned. The program will introduce first-year students to Thomas More and offer those students completing their degrees next May a glimpse of their commencement ceremonies ahead. Our special convocation will celebrate the rich tradition of Thomas More’s history and mission inspired by the Catholic Intellectual Tradition along with new beginnings for all our students—opportunities to grow in knowledge, abilities, and friendships to become the critical thinkers, persons of integrity, and servant leaders the world needs.

This event is reserved for faculty, students, and administrative staff and is not open to the public. Live streaming will be available with details to follow.

Second Century Campaign Kick-off

Monday, September 13, 2021 | 3:30 p.m.
Thomas More University campus — location to be announced
Community celebration to follow


Building on the foundations of our first 100 years, Thomas More University will formally launch our landmark fundraising initiative with a public announcement of transformative goals that will secure our future as a premier regional Catholic university. President Joseph Chillo will outline the vision for the next century, including strategic projects that will enhance the student life experience as well as educational outcomes through academic program innovation and facilities development. The campaign will raise significant philanthropy that paves the way for continuing the Thomas More tradition of academic excellence and opportunities for students to Make It More.

This kick-off event aims to excite and engage students, alumni, longtime supporters and other interested members of the community in the fundraising campaign. Focusing on the future, all attending can share their enthusiasm by joining in festivities, including a Pig Roast, that will immediately follow.

Saints Serve

tuesday, September 14, 2021
times vary

As Thomas More University Saints, realizing “our place in the world and responsibility to others” are essential parts of fulfilling our mission. By using our talents and energy to serve through volunteering, we all can make positive contributions to those who need support and develop an ethic of service.

On this “day on, rather than day off,” Thomas More students, faculty, and staff will put aside their usual duties and join forces to serve the local community — the hungry, the homeless, our brothers and sisters of all ages in need of assistance. Through activities planned in partnership with local nonprofit agencies and programs such as the Parish Kitchen, Master Provisions, and Special Olympics, among others, this first designated day called Saints Serve will become an annual event.

Look for additional information and opportunities to donate items (clothing, food, etc.) to help us make a difference that will appear on this site.

Centennial Gala

saturday, march 26, 2022 | 6 p.m.

Northern Kentucky Convention Center