.- The chairman of the board of governors of Thomas Aquinas College has announced that college’s Treasurer and Vice President for Finance and Administration, Peter L. DeLuca III, has been appointed interim college president.
College President Thomas E. Dillon died in a car accident in Ireland on April 15.
Maria O. Grant, chairman of the board of governors of the college, explained the decision in a Tuesday press release:
“Mr. DeLuca is a founder of the College, completely committed to its mission, and already deeply involved in the daily running of the school. I have every confidence that he is ready and able to take immediate charge of the affairs of the College. I know that the faculty, students, and staff of the College will give him their full cooperation and support.”
DeLuca, commenting on his appointment, said “I appreciate the confidence the board has placed in me and will do all in my power to protect and preserve the College until a new president can be selected.”
De Luca has been a member of the college’s Board of Governors since 1969 and has been on the teaching faculty since 1971. He has also served as senior vice president and vice president of development.
He graduated in economics at St. Mary’s College of California and has served as western director and national director of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He also worked as assistant to the president of Grant Oil Tool Co. and pursued graduate studies at the University of Southern California, a college press release says.
Grant said she would soon initiate the process of appointing a new president.
The college has announced funeral arrangements for Dr. Dillon, saying that his funeral Mass will be held in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel on Friday, April 24 at 10 a.m. He will be interned at Santa Paula Cemetery. A reception will follow in the St. Joseph Commons on the Thomas Aquinas College Campus.
A rosary was scheduled for 7:30 pm Thursday evening in the chapel, with an all-night vigil to follow.