Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Quick Facts

Students: 1,068
Location: Ave Maria, Florida
Founded: 2003
Majors: 30
Med. SAT: 1680
% Catholic: 89%
Med. H.S. GPA: 3.68
For admitted and enrolled traditional undergraduates - See more at:
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How Much? $29,476
tuition, room and board
For admitted and enrolled traditional undergraduates - See more at:
For admitted & enrolled traditional undergrads.
Most up-to-date information from the University


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Phone: 239-280-2556  Address: 5080 Annunciation Circle, Suite 101, Ave Maria, FL 34142-9505
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Academic Quality






Core Curriculum


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Residence Life


Student Activities & Services


Student Body


Institutional Identity




President's Letter
Welcome to Ave Maria University!

We offer a sound liberal arts education that is authentically Catholic and academically rigorous. The class sizes are small and almost 90% of our full-time faculty have PhDs, providing students the tools they need to become critical thinkers, competent writers, and lovers of learning. Building upon a strong core curriculum, Ave Maria offers 29 majors, including new ones in finance, health sciences, and education and is even working on developing a nursing program. Together with the Board of Trustees, I am proud to affirm our Catholic identity: “Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service, inspired by Saint John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and devoted to Mary, the Mother of God.”

Our graduates have been admitted to law and medical schools and other graduate programs of distinction. Indeed, despite our young history, an Ave Maria education has been a springboard for many to promising careers and vocations. A number of our graduates have entered the seminary or religious life. Others have discovered their calling to the married life – many with a fellow Ave classmate! We believe that university life should provide an environment for young men and women to mature into responsible adults who celebrate their faith in Jesus Christ and apply their knowledge to the challenges of the 21st century. While attendance at Mass on Sunday by Catholic students is not mandatory on our campus, it is expected, and the moral climate in our dorms allows our students to maintain the values instilled in them by their parents.

Ave Maria University is becoming the epicenter of devotion to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Catholic higher education and throughout the Americas. In 2013, the religious order Mother Teresa founded in Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity, granted the University official permission to establish the “Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria University,” the first-of-its-kind in the world. No college campus in America has a program of study and service which honors this Nobel Peace Prize winner who many believe was the most beloved individual of the 20th century. The Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria offers students many and varied service opportunities in local communities and via mission trips to places such as Calcutta, India; Mexico City, Mexico; and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Come visit the museum that honors her legacy - the more you learn about Mother Teresa, the more you will want to follow in her footsteps.

It is clear to me that what our founder, Tom Monaghan, envisioned is coming to fruition, and that the Lord is honoring His holy Mother by blessing us with another year of record enrollment this fall. Put simply, Ave Maria is unique, affordable, and authentic.

I hope you will visit our campus and see for yourselves why Ave Maria University is attracting some of our country’s finest scholars and students.

Kind regards,

Jim Towey

Information from Career Services
Ave Maria University Career Services offers a full range of programming and services to meet the professional development needs of students and alumni. Individual advising and career development workshops cover topics including choosing majors, self-assessment, career exploration, vocational discernment, resume/cover letter writing, job search strategies, interviewing, professional networking and planning for graduate school. On-campus career and graduate school fairs and employer presentations provide face-to-face opportunities for students to network and explore career options.  Our online recruiting management database, College Central Network, provides the venue for organizing job and internship listings, employers, and student and alumni information. Students and alumni are encouraged to take ownership of their career direction to achieve their immediate and long term goals by taking advantage of these resources. 

Ave Maria University's rigorous liberal arts curriculum prepares students to be articulate, inquisitive and hard-working employees.

Our graduates have gone on to receive post-secondary educations from notable universities worldwide including: Columbia, Dartmouth, Villanova, Oxford,Georgetown, Institute for Psychological Sciences, London School of Economics, and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Among our alumni are attorneys, doctors, policy advisers, professed religious, entrepreneurs, financial advisers, teachers, intelligence analysts, priests, and youth ministers. AMU graduates have worked for notable organizations including: American Enterprise Institute, CACI International, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Carnegie Hall, DC United, Merrill Lynch, the U.S. and Canadian governments, United Nations, Legatus, the Heritage Foundation, Ignatius Press, the U.S. military and more. Others have found success in starting their own businesses, becoming chefs, film producers, physical trainers or priests.

For more information, contact us at

Information from Financial Aid Office
A college degree is an important investment in your future, but figuring out the financial aid process can seem overwhelming at times. At Ave Maria, we are committed to helping you through the process and making the University affordable for you and your family. We offer both need-based aid and merit scholarships for eligible students, so be sure to complete your FAFSA. We look forward to working with you to help you access one of the greatest values in Catholic higher education in the country!

When you compare Ave Maria University to other colleges, we’re one of the best values for higher education. Our education is founded in truth and based on the timeless liberal arts tradition. Therefore, the knowledge you acquire at Ave Maria University is never obsolete or outdated.

The faculty works diligently to build an outstanding academic program, and to raise the standard of authentic Catholic higher education to a new level.  We take great pride in making a high quality education affordable.

Aid available to students includes: federal and state grants, including Florida Bright Futures; Florida Resident Assistant Grant; Federal Work Study and Florida Work Experience, which allow you to earn money while attending college; low interest loan opportunities; and academic, leadership, and athletic institutional scholarships.

For more information visit or call Anne Hart at (239) 280-1669.

Ave Maria University (AMU) was founded by former Domino’s Pizza owner Tom Monaghan in 2003 as a direct response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.

“Ave Maria’s Catholic identity is palpable in every aspect of its campus life from academics to student activities,” said Michael Dauphinais, chair of the Theology Department. “The faculty and students enjoy being at a university where they possess the freedom to be Catholic; non-Catholics enjoy the wholesome and supportive environment.”

AMU has quickly built a national reputation for its strong Catholic identity, largely because of the notoriety and devotion of its founder. What is less known is AMU’s academic quality, which is quite good.

Built from the ground up on a tract of farmland, AMU moved from Michigan to its permanent site in 2007, adjacent to the new town of Ave Maria and approximately 25 miles east of Naples, Florida. “It was the easiest place to attract students and faculty to,” said Monaghan, who has donated much of his wealth to the University and owns a half-interest in the town and its development.

AMU now has 1,068 undergraduate students, most of them Catholic. Relative to other new institutions, AMU has experienced dramatic growth, with the undergraduate student body doubling over the past six years. Students come from 47 states and more than a dozen countries, with over 50 percent of the students hailing from outside the state of Florida. The University recently expanded its academic offerings to include 29 majors. The University has many students who participate in intercollegiate athletics on 16 different teams.

In February 2011, AMU welcomed its second president H. James Towey, who had been president of St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania and also a federal government official responsible for grants to faith-based programs. Under President Towey's leadership, the University has experienced significant growth in its enrollment and the number of offered majors and has transitioned to a period of financial sustainability.

The University is governed by a 24-member board of trustees consisting of both laity and clergy, but all must be Catholic. Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, is an ex officio board member. He officially recognized AMU as Catholic in 2011, following a period of review.

Catholicism is exhibited throughout the University’s architecture, art, and curriculum. The centrality of the Oratory and the availability of the Sacraments highlight the school’s focus. Beautiful religious art is found throughout the 200,000-volume Canizaro Library.

 The newly opened Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall offers students, tourists, pilgrims and area residents the opportunity to learn more about "the saint of the gutters". Items for public viewing include handwritten letters by Mother Teresa, a crucifix from her own rosary, photographs, original publications from her State funeral in India and Beatification ceremony at the Vatican, and other items.

Both students and faculty speak of the academically challenging coursework at Ave Maria. The University has introduced a successful Honors Program and also offers many forms of academic support. Among the students we have spoken to, they simply love the quality of their classes.

Half of the 128 undergraduate credits required for graduation must be within the core curriculum. All students take 16 core courses, including three in philosophy and theology, as well as courses in math, history, politics, literature, foreign language, and the natural sciences. These are intensive four-credit courses, instead of three-credit courses.

Beginning in 2015-2016, the University offers 30 undergraduate majors, with programs in the humanities, the sciences, music and professional areas. The most popular majors are biology, business, psychology, and theology. New majors have been added in finance, environmental science, health sciences, and nursing.

All of the theology faculty take the Oath of Fidelity and have the mandatum from the local bishop. Notably, the theology and philosophy faculty includes three members of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas: Dr. Michael Waldstein, an expert on the Theology of the Body; Dr. Michael Pakaluk, translator and interpreter of Aristotle's Ethics; and Dr. Stephen Long, a Thomist and moral theologian.

Students can attend lectures integrating Catholic theology with particular disciplines as a series of panels including faculty from various departments, titled “Honors Integrated Colloquia.”  They can also study at the University’s program in Rome.
Spiritual Life

Five priests serve the campus. Several Dominican religious sisters also assist the campus and the nearby private K-12 Catholic school.

AMU offers various liturgical styles. In addition to an Extraordinary Form Mass each Sunday and twice during the week, a variety of daily and Sunday Masses are offered in Ordinary Form Latin and English, including one featuring charismatic praise and worship music. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available five days a week.

According to Father Robert Garrity, "The acronym MARC summarizes the spirituality on campus: Mass, Adoration, Rosary, and Confession. The overwhelming majority of Catholic students attend Sunday Mass, and many students attend daily Masses and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We encourage, but do not require, students to participate."

Students describe a strong spiritual life that includes various devotional groups, approximately 15 voluntary “households” of students supporting each other in prayer and service, and student activity clubs such as the Communion and Liberation, Peer Ministry Team, and Marian consecration. Students impressively maintain perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in the University chapel as well as a daily rosary walk. Students also have joined mission trips to Calcutta, Mexico City, and Haiti as part of the Mother Teresa Project.

At least 40 men and women who have attended AMU are now discerning priesthood and religious life, and 12 alumni have been ordained priests.

The dean of students conducts a senior exit interview with each student. The one comment heard most often is, “I came here with my parents’ faith, but am leaving here with a deeper faith of my own.”
Residential Life

With exceptions for students over 23 years of age or whose families reside within a commutable distance, it is University policy for all students to live on campus.

Residence halls are separated by gender, but the University recently loosened its restrictions on visiting dorm rooms. As a reinstitution of an old policy, students may now visit the rooms of the opposite sex — with registration upon entering the residence hall and doors propped fully open — on Friday and Saturday evenings until midnight and on Sunday afternoons. In common areas, hours for visiting are until 1:00 a.m.

AMU "seek[s] to promote true freedom in Christian behavior," according to the Residence Life Mission Statement. Students are encouraged to dress in a way that "promotes the virtue of chastity and encourages of students a mature exercise of free will in pursuit of this virtue." The University sponsors discussions and classes to promote Christian virtue and teach Theology of the Body.

Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Cosden said, "The policies, procedures, and mission of Residence Life aim to strengthen the campus community and to foster genuine and lasting friendship among the students at AMU."

Alcohol is allowed with limitations, and there is no campus curfew. Those who violate the alcohol policy are sanctioned with community hours and/or fines, plus educational training, mentorship, and counseling for repeat violations.

The town of Ave Maria provides a number of convenient stores and services including a large grocery store, a few restaurants, and a pub. Due to the size, everyone tends to know everyone, and students and faculty often travel around campus and town by bike.

However, there are some inconveniences: the nearest hotel is 26 miles away, and the nearest hospital is about 20 miles northwest of the campus, although local emergency medical services are available for serious incidents. Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers is approximately 45 minutes away. Off-campus employment is limited, but growing with the newly-opened medical manufacturing plant of Arthex, Inc. that employs more than 1,000 people.

Student Activities

More than 60 student clubs, organizations, ministries, outreach efforts, and households offer an abundance of activities that include athletic clubs (such as running, ice skating, swing dance, rugby, and fishing) and academic clubs (such as newspaper, writing, film, and business).

The University’s 16 varsity teams compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in baseball, basketball, cheerleading/dance, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball, and women's lacrosse. Students can also participate in a variety of club and intramural sports with the Papist Rugby Club among the most popular.

Much of the student body is engaged in some form of service work. The nearby Hispanic farming community of Immokalee is one of the poorest regions in the country and affords students numerous opportunities for service, including a food and clothing bank, soup kitchen, Christmas toy and shoe collection, Habitat for Humanity, and youth ministry.

Many Saturdays, students travel to Naples and Fort Myers to pray and minister outside an abortion business. Students for Life is the most popular club on campus, and more than 200 students attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., each year.

The Bottom Line

AMU is a young institution that has been under intense scrutiny from both the media and the Church, largely because of Monaghan’s high profile as the multimillionaire who built and sold Domino’s Pizza. But there has also been a lot of interest in the grand vision for a major Catholic university that will one day rival the University of Notre Dame.

Now responsible for fulfilling a somewhat more practical vision in a tough economy, President Towey says the University has survived “the pains of childbirth,” and it has emerged a quite attractive university for students. Planning to grow to 1,500 to 2,000 students in its first phase, the University today enjoys a close-knit community in a small campus town, where it is common to run into professors at the Smoothie shop or the supermarket. The European-style town with education, faith, and art at its center is something of an oasis.

When you take into account the unswerving promotion of Catholic values, the strong core curriculum, and the presence of an impressive and faithful faculty, Ave Maria stands as an exciting new option available to American Catholics today.

“They’ve raised something up for the glory of God, and the good of students,” says President Towey of his predecessors. “Ave Maria is a prototype of what Catholic education in the 21st century can be.”
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