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President Towey agrees to extend contract to 2020

Monday, March 2, 2015

Members of the Ave Maria University community:

 

I am pleased to announce that on Friday, February 20, 2015, at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University, we unanimously voted to extend President Jim Towey's contract through June 30, 2020.  President Towey has agreed to these terms and our founder, Tom Monaghan, is delighted that the work that he and the many of you began in 2003, will remain in good hands.


In less than four years and with the help of a team of distinguished faculty, talented administrators, and dedicated staff, President Towey has dramatically increased the University's enrollment, nearly tripled the number of majors offered, transitioned the University from dependence upon our founder's financial support for operations, raised tens of millions of dollars in donor support, refinanced the University's debt, closed the Nicaragua and IPT programs that had lost millions of dollars, and most important, shepherded Ave Maria's Catholic mission, identity and outreach, particularly through the Mother Teresa Project. 

 

There are many opportunities and challenges facing the University in the years ahead.  The Board of Trustees is confident in President Towey's leadership and committed to his success as your president.  Your support, trust, and prayers will help make these next years prosperous and filled with grace.

Please join me in congratulating President Towey on this important milestone in his career.

 

Sincerely,

 

Michael T.O. Timmis

Chairman of the Board

Ave Maria University

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AMU introduces sophomore success program: “Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ave Maria University is introducing a newly developed Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “Sophomore Success: Preparing Leaders for the Third Millennium.” The Sophomore Success QEP forms an integral part of the University’s reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

The new sophomore-experience program focuses on the growth and formation of students during their sophomore year at college. The so-called “sophomore slump” is a well-documented phenomenon. During orientation, freshmen are equipped with the materials to begin their journey through college. Juniors and seniors are thinking hard about the future, focusing on excelling in their field of study, gaining experience and developing a strong resume. Sophomores have moved beyond the uncertainties of their first year in college, but they have yet to reach the goal-driven intensity of their junior and senior years. Sophomores sometimes find themselves, so to speak, in limbo.

The Sophomore Success plan is designed to help sophomores turn this “limbo” into a year of personal growth and flourishing. Sophomores at Ave Maria University will confidently commit themselves to their education and begin to transition from students to professionals and leaders in a wide range of fields.

The goals of the program are twofold: (i) enhanced student integration with the liberal arts tradition, and (ii) proactive career development facilitated by growth in self-knowledge.  Each of these goals can be broken down into two concrete outcomes.

First, students will understand and be able to articulate the nature and value of a liberal arts education within the Catholic intellectual tradition. How can a student be expected to commit to his or her studies without understanding the reasoning behind and the value of a liberal arts education? The Sophomore Success program proposes to help students embrace the value of their education, beginning with a specially devised sophomore orientation and followed by additional readings and discussions in Nature and Person (PHIL 205). With guidance from their professors, students will come to know the benefits of a liberal arts education within the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Second, sophomores will work on building oral skills, mastering the tools necessary for clear and effective communication. A study of great American political speeches will be integrated into the required sophomore year American Civilization course (POLT 203), culminating in a presentation that demonstrates a grasp of the conceptual and rhetorical elements of oral communication. Students completing their sophomore year at Ave Maria will be better prepared to articulate the understanding they’ve gained of and through their liberal arts education. Armed with the tools for effective communication, they will be ready to inspire others and be leaders in the 21st century.

A third outcome is that students will spend time identifying their talents and strengths. During sophomore orientation, students will become acquainted with the process of identifying their strengths and weaknesses through the Clifton StrengthsFinder questionnaire. Faculty members will be trained to mentor sophomores in light of the questionnaire, guiding students as they make choices about their course of study and future career. Dr. Keith Houde, Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the QEP Development Committee, said: “The Ave Maria University Quality Enhancement Plan reflects our ongoing commitment to improve the learning of our students.” Increased self-knowledge is a concrete way in which students at Ave Maria will be able to maximize the gains of their education.

The third outcome leads directly into the fourth and final outcome: Students will evaluate their goals, both academic and career-related, in light of their talents and strengths. Building on the knowledge gained in the discussions of the nature and benefits of a liberal arts education, the study of great speeches, the completion of the StrengthsFinder questionnaire, and in the meetings and discussions with faculty mentors, sophomores will begin looking towards the future. Working with Ave Maria’s Career Services, each sophomore will start to build a strong resume that reflects his or her unique strengths and moves the student forward on the path after college. As John Henry Newman writes, “[When] the Church founds a University, she is not cherishing talent, genius, or knowledge, for their own sake, but for the sake of her children, with a view to their spiritual welfare and their religious influence and usefulness, with the object of training them to fill their respective posts in life better, and of making them more intelligent, capable, active members of society” (Newman, Idea of a University, p. xxxix).

The goal of the Sophomore Success program, and ultimately, of a university education, is to form individuals ready to enter the world as responsible citizens and confident leaders. “Although it is focused on sophomores,” Houde remarked, “it is expected that the gains acquired during the sophomore year will be carried into the junior and senior years and beyond. We hope that the love of learning, eloquence in speaking, knowledge of self, and career preparation acquired here will translate into lives well-lived in the service of others.”

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AMU student Mary Joy Silmaro named finalist in national classical organ competition

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ave Maria University sophomore and music major, Mary Joy Silmaro, is one of three finalists in the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition. Ms. Silmaro was selected by an international jury of high-profile performers: Dr. Frederick Swann, Dr. Christoph Bull, and Mr. Felix Hell. In May, Mary Joy will travel to Phoenix to compete for the grand prize.

About the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition
The Rodgers Instruments Corporation is pleased to announce that the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition has been revamped and will have a new focus on young performers in 2015.

When the competition began in 2011, it was open to organists up to the age of 35. Now, with the spectacular performances that the judges have seen from younger musicians during the past several years, it will become an event exclusively for 14-to-22-year-olds.

Equally exciting is the change to a new venue for the competition. Finalists will perform in the Music Theater of the stunning Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. MIM is dedicated to offering a shared experience of the history of musical instruments throughout the world to visitors who tour its 200,000 square feet of exhibit space displaying instruments from 200 countries and regions.

Rodgers also announced the first place award in the competition will be named in honor of Frederick Swann. "Mr. Swann stands as an incredible example of lifelong dedication to excellence in artistry as well as organist education through his work with the AGO," said Rodgers President Duane Kuhn. "It's appropriate to recognize his vision and leadership by presenting the highest award in this competition in his honor."

Cash awards for competition winners are $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second and $1,500 for third. Winners of past competitions have gone on to appear as recitalists playing for audiences around the country.

About Mary Joy Silmaro
Mary Joy Silmaro is a Sophomore at Ave Maria University where she studies organ under Dr. Brice Gerlach. Mary Joy began her music training at age 5 with piano lessons from her homeschooling mother. She embarked on formal piano studies at age 7, violin at age 8, and voice at age 9. After her family moved to Newark, CA, she transitioned to studying organ and Gregorian chant with Sam Dorlaque, music director at St. Edward Catholic Church in Newark, CA. Mary Joy worked as organist and cantor in several churches in her teens, and currently serves at part-time organist at the Oratory in the town of Ave Maria, Florida.

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AMU welcomes Professor Jenik Radon to campus for lecture on February 27

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ave Maria University's Political Economy and Government Program welcomes Professor Jenik Radon to campus for a lecture on February 27th at 5 p.m. in the Henkels Academic Building lecture hall. Professor Radon, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, is founder and director of the Eesti and Eurasian Public Service Fellowship, which has provided students from Columbia, Stanford and other institutions with the opportunity to intern in emerging nations. Radon participated in the constitutional peace process in Nepal and served as the drafter of the interim peace constitution. He has lectured in almost 40 nations.

We hope to see you on February 27!

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Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Fr. Daniel Gallagher to present a lecture at AMU on February 18

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fr. Daniel Gallagher, a priest of the Diocese of Gaylord in Michigan, will hold a lecture on campus on Wednesday, February 18 at 5 pm. The lecture "Latin and the Work of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State," will be held in the Henkels Academic Building Lecture Hall.

Fr. Daniel Gallagher holds degrees from the University of Michigan (B.S. and M.A.), the Catholic University of America (M.A. in Philosophy), and the Pontifical Gregorian University (S.T.L.). From 1995 to 2000, he studied Latin under the instruction of Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D., whom he succeeded in the Office of Latin Letters at the Vatican Secretariat of State in 2009. Prior to this current assignment, he served as Assistant Professor of Latin and Philosophy at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. While working as a papal Latinist, Fr. Gallagher is also pursuing a doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a dissertation entitled The Justification of the Axiom Unreceived Act is Unlimited in Thomistic Metaphysics.

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Dr. Arthur Brooks to be Honored by AMU, Address Class of 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dr. Arthur Brooks will be the commencement speaker this spring at Ave Maria University’s 11th graduation ceremony, Jim Towey, the university’s president, announced today.

“Arthur Brooks will delight our graduates and their families. His friendships with billionaire CEO's, the “who's-who” of U.S. politicians, and spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama have not deterred him from advocating for the poor of the world and their quest for opportunity,” Towey said. “We are very fortunate to have him”.

The University’s 11th Commencement Exercises for an expected 206 undergraduate and graduate students of the Class of 2015 will be held on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. in the Tom Golisano Fieldhouse on campus. The University will confer an honorary doctorate on Dr. Brooks in recognition of his exemplary achievements as a Catholic intellectual both within and without academia, as well as his contributions to public policy development.

Dr. Brooks currently serves as the president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank in Washington, DC., where he also holds an appointment as the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise. Immediately prior to joining AEI, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University. He is also a monthly columnist for The New York Times.

Born in Seattle, Dr. Brooks pursued a nontraditional path to his current position. At the age of nineteen, he left college to become a professional musician, and spent several seasons with the City Orchestra of Barcelona, Spain. Deciding that he wanted more that the routine of life in a professional orchestra, he returned to college and studied economics, mathematics, and languages, ultimately earning BA and MA degrees in economics as well as MPhil and PhD degrees in public policy. Brooks then spent ten years as a university professor teaching economics and entrepreneurship, before coming to AEI.

Dr. Brooks has championed the role of free enterprise and “earned success” as a key to personal happiness and the prosperity of societies. He conducts research in the areas of social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and culture, politics, and economic life in America. He is the author of ten books, including the The New York Times best seller The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise (2012), The Battle (2010), Gross National Happiness (2008), Who Really Cares (2006) and the textbook Social Entrepreneurship (2008).

Dr. Brooks has been married for 23 years to his wife, Ester, and has three children. They live in Bethesda, Maryland and are members of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Potomac, Maryland.

Dr. Brooks’ remarks will be an inspiration to our students,” Towey said. “He is at his best when he is surrounded by young people like our Ave graduates who sincerely seek the truth and want to place their faith into the service of causes greater than themselves."

AMU Press Release

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New scholarship opportunities available for New Orleans-area high school graduates

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Clarion Herald, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, recently highlighted the addition of two new scholarships offered by AMU to New Orleans-area high school graduates. "It’s the first scholarship that’s Louisiana-based for Louisiana kids," said AMU President Jim Towey. “This scholarship, we think, is going to build a nice path from the Big Easy to southwest Florida."

Two types of scholarships are offered: the Fantastic Four, four scholarships with full tuition and half room and board, valued at $23,974 annually or $95,896 for four years (leaving a student and his family responsible for only $5,118 a year); and one Brightest Light, a full scholarship with room and board, valued at $28,892 annually or $115,568 over four years.

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AMU attends the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

More than 200 Ave Maria University students, faculty, and staff members traveled over 1,000 miles to attend the annual March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. on January 22. Every year, Ave Maria University joins over 650,000 others at the pro-life rally at our nation’s capitol to advocate for a renewed respect for life in policy and law making.

To follow Ave Maria’s journey at the March for Life, feel free to follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. See below for President Towey's blog and pictures from the trip.

President Towey's blog

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AMU to host speakers in January

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Late January will see two renowned scholars visit Ave Maria University to give guest lectures.

On Tuesday, January 27th, Dr. Luca Codignola will be speaking at 5 p.m. in the Demetree Auditorium in the Paul Henkels Academic Building. Dr. Codignola is head of the Research Institute of History of Mediterranean Europe, National Research Council (Italy), Professor of North American History at the University of Genoa (Italy), and Adjunct Professor at Saint Mary's University (Canada), and is an accomplished scholar of the Roman Catholic church as situated in the early modern era. Dr. Codignola, will be presenting a lecture on Roman Catholic Libertinism in a New North Atlanic World, 1769-1829: Spirit of Liberty or Freedom to Misbehave?

On Thursday, January 29th, Dr. Richard C. Taylor will be lecturing at 5 p.m. in the Demetree Auditorium in the Paul Henkels Academic Building. Dr. Taylor, who is the director of the Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ International Working Group, specializes in studying medieval philosophy, specifically the relationship between western and Islamic thought. He will give a lecture entitled St. Thomas Aquinas and the Classical Philosophers of Islam on Ultimate Human Happiness.

See fliers for further details.

 

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AMU Theology Professor Anthony Valle awarded Vatican Foundation academic fellowship

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mr. Anthony Valle, Adjunct Professor of Theology at Ave Maria University, has been awarded an academic fellowship by the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger Benedetto XVI. The Vatican Foundation was started by Pope Benedict XVI to promote the knowledge and study of theology, to organize and conduct conferences of high cultural and scientific value, and to award scholars who have distinguished themselves for outstanding achievements in theological research. 

Professor Valle, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A.), is a candidate for the S.T.D degree in dogmatic theology at the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome and his doctoral dissertation deals with Joseph Ratzinger’s Logos doctrine. His research interests include Christology-soteriology and ascetical-mystical theology.

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