St. Thomas Aquinas College has received a $229,624 two-year grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation to establish The St. Thomas Aquinas Institute for the Study of Loyalists in the American Revolution.
“We are grateful to The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation for this generous grant and entrusting us with this important historic initiative,” said St. Thomas Aquinas College President Ken Daly. “The St. Thomas Aquinas Institute for the Study of Loyalists in the American Revolution will allow for our students to gain invaluable hands-on experiential learning alongside distinguished subject matter experts who hold a passion for our country’s history and founding, as well as a belief in the importance to understand political and civic life, while making history come alive for our community to experience.”
Leading up to the Semiquincentennial (250th anniversary) of the Declaration of Independence, The Institute will include the work of faculty, students, and external academic partners to develop an online educational resource and digital center with extensive text and images related to the American Revolution. The digital center will include a searchable database containing information on thousands of individual loyalists from across the greater New York City metropolitan area, with a special focus on the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island.
St. Thomas Aquinas College students will serve as dedicated Research Associates working on the research and development of the database, visiting historical collections throughout the region, and developing skills in archival research and transcription. Students from the College’s XLAB and Communications Arts courses will dive into the exciting world of digital humanities by creating interactive story maps, data visualizations, and video vignettes.
Leading the project are co-directors St. Thomas Aquinas College Dean of Arts and Social Sciences Heath Bowen, Ph.D. and external academic partner Christopher F. Minty, Ph.D., FRHistS.
“We are pleased to support research of this important yet often overlooked topic on the role New York’s loyalists played in the American Revolution. Many Long Island families and communities have direct links to this aspect of divided loyalty. This project will offer information and understanding of the political, economic and emotional climate of that time” said Kathryn Curran, the Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
The project is currently underway, its research and development phase will last approximately two years, and is planned to be officially launched ahead of the country’s Semiquincentennial in July 2026.
About St. Thomas Aquinas College
St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located on 76 acres in Rockland County, NY, providing education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College’s diverse student body of approximately 2,000 full and part-time students can choose from over 100 majors, minors, and specializations across four Schools: Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Education, and STEM. The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top-Tier for Regional Universities, and by Colleges of Distinction in its New York edition for Business, Education, and Career Development. The College is also recognized as a Yellow Ribbon Program institution. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; its School of Education is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), and its School of Business is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). For more information, visit www.stac.edu.