500 limited spots for our new Theology Institute

Every week I get asked a question through email and Facebook that goes like this:

I really want to learn more and take theology courses. What do you recommend?”

That’s a great question. There are good graduate programs out there. The ones that come to mind are available through Augustine Institute, Steubenville, and Ave Maria.

  • Some people are ready to pay the average $2,100 per course and move to another city to enroll. Others are not.
  • There are also several thousand non-American readers who want advanced education in Philosophy and Theology. They also cannot move or pay high tuition.

Here’s the Solution to the Problem

  • I now have a team and we’re working on a project.
  • We’ll offer high-def video and audio courses streamed to your computer, tablet, or mobile device for 2% of what it costs to take a college or graduate course. You work at your own pace. There are no term papers or exams. Just fun and interesting courses.

We filmed on indulgences today with the fabulous Dr Mary Moorman.

What Will It Be Called?

On September 3 I announced that I needed a name for this entity. 204 readers participated. The most popular name was “The Marshall Plan.” I like it. It’s anti-communistic. It evokes “re-building.”

The problem is that there is no way to get the url. So I could call the format the “Marshall Plan” but that cannot be the official public registered name of the institute.

There were some great name suggestions. Lots of St Thomas Aquinas ideas. I liked these most. Unfortunately the following are already taken:

  1. Thomistic Institute
  2. Thomas Aquinas College
  3. University of Saint Thomas (Aquinas)
  4. Center of Thomistic Studies
  5. Aquinas Institute

There were some other notable suggestions related to “salt” (as in the new tagline) or to abstract concepts (eg Pelican Institute – reference to St Thomas’ hymns Adoro Te Devote). In the end, I decided not to go abstract.

I really liked “Scholastic Institute” but that is already reserved by Scholastic book publishers. Darn!

After thinking it over and over, I decided to go with a name from a reader named Dan Driver. He originally suggested:

The Marshall Aquinas Institute

I’m not worthy to be paired with Aquinas. We took a look at plain old “The Marshall Institute” but that name was already registered by the George Marshall Institute (of the Marshall Plan). Double darn!

Then we looked at Taylor Marshall Institute. It’s short. It’s easy to remember. The url is available. The problem is it evokes the likes of “Gerry Falwell Ministries.” We liked it at first, then we scratched it. It could be seen as presumptuous, uppity, or self-promoting.

Then my wife Joy came up with “New Saint Thomas Institute.” I liked that. We asked a bunch of friends and tossed it around Facebook. We got a great response from everybody. It keeps Saint Thomas in the title but “new” distinguishes the name. It’s a winner!

New Saint Thomas Institute
tagline: non alligabis os bovi
(“thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of an ox”) from 1 Cor 9:9
Saint Thomas is known as the “Dumb Ox”

How to Register

So stay tuned. I’m going to limit the registration to the first 500 people. Currently we have 100,000 unique visitors per month, and 9,226 daily email subscribers. We have 2,092 who have explicitly signed up to receive video courses.

I have no doubt that the 500 spots will fill up fast.

Here is how registration will work. I’ll make registration available to groups in this order:

  1. Email subscribers who have indicated “interested in video courses” in their profile, will get first dibs at registration (currently 2,092 people)*. The first 500 to register get in.If registration isn’t full, then we will open it up to…
  2. The rest of the email subscribers (currently 9,293 people).
  3. The rest of all public readers (currently about 100,000 people)

Personally, I suspect that the 2,092 subscribers who asked for video courses will fill it up.

Mark your calendars for October 7, Our Lady of the Rosary for registration. I look forward to greeting you on the inside!

*If you’re an email subscriber, you can update your email preferences at the bottom of any email that I’ve sent to you.


PS: Dan Driver, you still won the naming contest. Consider yourself registered! You’re the first one into the Institute! 499 to go.

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