Around New England

Catholic Colleges Founder Peter Sampo Dies

May 31, 2020

The founder of two Catholic colleges dedicated to providing a rigorous Catholic education has died.

Peter V. Sampo died Wednesday, May 27, 2020, according to a statement from Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire.

Sampo founded the school in 1973.

He also founded Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire in 1978, serving as president there until 2006.

The two schools are sometimes grouped with a handful of others around the country founded since the early 197os that offer an orthodox Catholic higher education, in contrast to the less Church-oriented philosophies of older, mainstream Catholic colleges.

Sampo, a political scientist and an expert on Thomas More and Niccolo Machaivelli, returned to Magdalen College in 2011 and was teaching there as of recently.

The statement from Magdalen College does not mention Sampo’s age or cause of death, but it does say that the college’s chaplain administered him the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.

Funeral arrangements had not been announced by the college as of Sunday, May 31.

Magdalen College’s current president, George Harne, said Sampo was a treasure.

“Peter Sampo was simply one of the greatest men I have ever known. As a teacher, founder, leader, and scholar he embodied the heroic virtues that should inspire us all,” Harne said in a written statement. “No personal sacrifice was ever too great for him to make in the service of Catholic liberal education, his students, and his colleagues. His love for his students animated every dimension of his life. He loved the life of learning and sought to share its joys with all his students. He decisively shaped liberal education for generations to come. I have a acquired a lifetime of wisdom from the nine years we worked together. I only wish we had had more time.”

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