Thomas Aquinas College, a private liberal arts college in Ventura County, was the recent recipient of an $8.5 million grant from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. The generous donation will go towards the college’s new lecture and concert hall.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, which has generously supported the college since our founding, for making what is, by far, its largest contribution to date,” president Michael McLean said in a press release.

Rex Rawlinson, president of the Burns Foundation, said that the grant was the result of a friendship with the college’s former president, Dr. Thomas Dillon. Before Dillon’s death in 2009, the two had discussed Plato’s “The Last Days of Socrates.” “I realized then the value of what Thomas Jefferson had and what I missed — a classical education. Thomas Aquinas College fills a void lamentably abandoned by most colleges.”

The new building will be used for lectures, performances and student dances. It will be called St. Cecilia Hall, after the patron saint of music. The structure will feature concert-hall acoustics, theatrical lighting, and have a 580-person seating capacity, as well as a coffee shop for the students.