The president of a California college was killed in a single vehicle car crash on his way to a conference in Ireland earlier this week.

Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, president of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, lost control of his car Wednesday, April 15, and drove off the side of the road on the M7 motorway in Co. Laois.

Dillon, 62, and his wife, Terri, were in Ireland for a conference for the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Terri Dillon was injured in the crash and is currently in stable condition in Portlaoise General Hospital.

The Mary Immaculate College flag was at half-mast yesterday as college delegates from as far as Japan and Argentina grappled with the tragic news. The delegates were gathered in an effort to unite all of the Catholic universities influenced by the principles of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Dillon’s family members and a representative are traveling to Ireland while the Californian community back at home mourns the college president’s death.

Dillon has served as dean and president of Thomas Aquinas, a renowned Catholic liberal arts school, for 18 years. He has four children and 15 grandchildren.

Poignantly, Dillon would have turned 63 on April 18.