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Thomas More University
Thomas More University Logo.jpeg
MottoTogether In Pursuit of Truth
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Benedictine Sisters)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$15 million[1]
PresidentJoseph L. Chillo
Location, ,
United States

39°01′18″N 84°34′05″W / 39.0217°N 84.5681°W / 39.0217; -84.5681Coordinates: 39°01′18″N 84°34′05″W / 39.0217°N 84.5681°W / 39.0217; -84.5681
  • Blue
  • white
Sporting affiliations
NAIAMid-South Conference
MascotTommy Mo Edit this at Wikidata

Thomas More University is a private Roman Catholic university in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. It serves about 2,200 full and part-time students. The university was founded in 1921 by the local Benedictine Sisters as Villa Madonna College.


The Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, founded Villa Madonna College in 1921 to train Catholic school teachers and to provide college education for young women. The college was chartered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1923. Villa Madonna graduated its first students in 1929 and became the official college of the Diocese of Covington that same year. Three religious orders operated Villa Madonna in its early years: the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Congregation of Divine Providence, and the local Benedictine Sisters. Through the 1930s and early 1940s, the college grew slowly. The school year 1942–1943 closed with commencement exercises on June 4 with ten graduates. The number of graduates of the college including the 1943 class was 152.[3]

Although Villa Madonna was founded as an institution for women, men attended many of the same classes through the affiliated St. Thomas More College, a college-level program of Covington Latin School. In 1945, Villa Madonna was designated a co-educational college, and St. Thomas More College was abolished.[4] In that year the Diocese of Covington purchased the college. At the opening of classes in September 1945, Villa Madonna College enrolled 28 Sisters, 56 laywomen, and 28 men for a total of 112 students. As the college began to grow, facilities and classrooms were stretched to their limits. Several buildings owned by the Diocese of Covington were quickly secured for additional classrooms and offices. Over the next two decades, as enrollment and curriculum steadily grew, any available space was acquired and adapted for the college's use. Eventually, all available space was exhausted, and it was clear that a more spacious campus was needed.[5]

Campus buildings of Villa Madonna College include St. Joseph's Hall, St. Thomas More Hall,[1] Cabrini Hall,[1] St. Pius Hall, Talbott Hall, Cafeteria Annex, Columbus Hall (library), St. Jude Hall, Aquinas Hall,[1] Bernard Hall,[1] and St. Luke Hall (art department).[6]

In 1964, the school's chancellor, Bishop Richard Henry Ackerman, announced a building program. A growing co-educational institution, an expanding campus and the opportunity to serve a wider area made the move the natural choice. In 1968, the college was moved from downtown Covington to what is now Crestview Hills. In this same year, Ackerman announced that Villa Madonna College would be renamed "Thomas More College". The same year another Thomas More College opened – a woman's college of Jesuit Fordham University in New York which later merged with Fordham College as a co-educational college and dropped the Thomas More name.[7] Although the college was opened in January 1968, dedication ceremonies were held on September 28 with President Lyndon B. Johnson in attendance. The college serves 2,200 full- and part-time students. Although primarily from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, students from roughly 20 states and several countries attend Thomas More.

Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education formally granted Thomas More university status in July 2018. On October 1, 2018, Thomas More College was officially renamed to Thomas More University and assumed university status, with full implementation of the name change taking place during the 2018–19 academic year.[8] Thomas More also began transitioning to a new organizational structure of three colleges and one institute:[9]


  1. Mary Domitilla Thuener (1921–1928)[10][11]
  2. Michael Leick (1928–1943)[10]
  3. Edmund Corby (1943–1944)[10]
  4. Thomas A. McCarty (1945–1949)[10]
  5. Joseph Z. Aud (1949–1951)[10]
  6. John F. Murphy (1951–1971)[10]
  7. Richard A. DeGraff (1971–1978)[10]
  8. Robert J. Giroux (1978–1982)[10]
  9. Thomas A. Coffey (1982–1985)[10]
  10. Charles J. Bensman (1986–1992)[10]
  11. William F. Cleves (1992–2001)[10]
  12. E. Joseph Lee II (2001–2004)[10]
  13. Margaret Stallmeyer (2005–2013)[10]
  14. David A. Armstrong (2013–2018)[12]
  15. Joseph L. Chillo (2019–present)[13]


The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).[14]

The university is a member of Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities, an organization including all of the accredited colleges and universities in the area. This consortium relationship gives students access to course offerings of the other institutions through a cross-registration arrangement as well as access to library resources of the other schools in the consortium.

Greek life


Administrative Building
Houses the majority of administrative offices (except for athletics, campus ministry, and institutional advancement), faculty offices, some classrooms, the cafeteria, and the computer center.
Science Building
Four-story building that holds offices and classrooms for the Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, and Education departments.
Connor Convocation Center[16]
The gym, training rooms, and athletics offices are housed in the Connor Convocation Center.
Saints Center
Formerly the Holbrook Student Center (then Student Center – due to the death of the benefactor and inability of the family to cover the expense of naming rights) contains the Interlude Cafe, Steigerwald Hall, campus bookstore, the Office of the President, and Institutional Advancement offices.
BB&T Field[17]
Marian Hall / Howard Hall[18]
Two connected residence halls that are co-ed.
Ackerman Hall[18]
Male-only residence hall
Murphy Hall[18]
Co-ed suite-style residence hall
BB&T Observatory[19]
Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel[20]
Biology Field Station[21]

Thomas More University Success Center

Accelerated and Graduate Programs

The Thomas More University Accelerated and Graduate Programs[23] is specifically designed for working adults. It offers an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in Business Administration and Ethical Leadership Studies. Classes meet only once a week and utilize group-study project teams, which emphasize interaction and participation.


The Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT)[24] is run by the Education Department of Thomas More University. It is targeted for those who hold a baccalaureate degree and meet the requirements of the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB). The program has two tracks: one for those holding a Temporary Provisional Certificate and the other for those wanting to acquire their teacher certification.[citation needed]

Student government

The student government of Thomas More University serves as the official representative of the student body. It is governed by its constitution and consists of an executive board, delegates at-large, and associates. The president of the Student Government Association receives a full-voting membership on the Thomas More University Board of Trustees.


Thomas More teams are athletically known as the Saints. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Mid-South Conference since the 2019–20 school year. Thomas More previously competed as a member of the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), competing in the American Collegiate Athletic Association only during 2018–19 school year, as well as a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference from 2005–06 to 2017–18. The Saints had previously been NAIA members from 1947 to 1990.[25]

Thomas More plans to return to the NCAA in 2022 in the Division II ranks, joining the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) that July as a provisional member. The Saints will continue to compete in the NAIA and the Mid-South through the 2022–23 school year.[26]

The following sports are offered:

Men's sports

Women's sports

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas Jefferson – Presidency, University, Facts, Political and Biography/; accessed December 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c As of fall 2016. "Student headcount by level: All independent institutions (2006-16)" (PDF). Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Sister Margaret Mary Gough (1930-221)". St. Walburg Monastery.
  4. ^ Covington Latin School, Kenton County Public Library, retrieved February 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Northern Kentucky Views, Villa Madonna College,; accessed September 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Fordham University
  8. ^ Thomas More has new name, but remains the same institution,; accessed October 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "Thomas More College in NKY granted university status". Cincinnati: WCPO-TV. September 28, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Program for Thomas More College Presidential Inauguration, April Twenty-Ninth, Two Thousand and Five
  11. ^ Green, Judy; LaDuke, Jeanne (2008). Pioneering Women in American Mathematics — The Pre-1940 PhD's. History of Mathematics. Vol. 34 (1st ed.). American Mathematical Society, The London Mathematical Society. ISBN 978-0-8218-4376-5. Biography on p.599-600 of the Supplementary Material at AMS
  12. ^ Thomas More College Announces New President
  13. ^ "Thomas More University Announces Its Next President". May 2019.
  14. ^ Accreditation
  15. ^ a b Clubs & Organizations
  16. ^ Connor Convocation Center Center
  17. ^ BB&T Field
  18. ^ a b c Residence Halls
  19. ^ BB&T Observatory[dead link]
  20. ^ Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel[dead link]
  21. ^ Biology Field Station[dead link]
  22. ^[dead link]
  23. ^ "Thomas More | Accelerated and Graduate Programs". Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  24. ^ Master of Arts in Teaching Program
  25. ^ Moore, Josh (July 24, 2018). "Kentucky college making jump to NAIA from NCAA". Lexington Herald-Leader. Lexington, KY. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  26. ^ "Thomas More University Unanimously Approved for Provisional Membership to Join Great Midwest" (Press release). Great Midwest Athletic Conference. August 18, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  27. ^ "D3 team has to vacate a title because Randy Moss' daughter stayed with a coach while recovering from injury". SBNation. Vox Media. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  28. ^ "2022 NAIA Women's Basketball Championship" (Press release). National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. March 22, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  29. ^ Rick Hughes Archived 2007-01-22 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Larry Staverman
  31. ^ Dan Tieman
  32. ^ "William Robinson Named President of the American Bar Association | IADC".