Ave Maria University

President Jim Towey's Blog

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  • October 7, 2014 3:30 pm

    Three Years

    Three years ago today I was inaugurated as president of Ave Maria University.

    The time has flown by as the memories and legion of friendships formed here at Ave Maria amass.  My heart overflows with gratitude.  From trustees to donors, faculty members to fellow administrators, and alumni and students, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness that Tom Monaghan, who recruited me, first showed. 

    And you students never cease to amaze me.

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  • September 5, 2014 4:47 pm

    Archbishop Lori Praises University Efforts in Religious Freedom Battle at Convocation Address

    Archbishop William Lori’s ringing defense of the right of religious liberty which he delivered in his Convocation address to a rapt Ave Maria University community gathered in a jam-packed ballroom this afternoon, capped a remarkable week of activities to start the new academic year.

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  • May 5, 2014 12:17 pm

    Finals week! Final Blog of the academic year!

    Finals week!  Final Blog of the academic year!

    And if you are wondering why I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, here’s why. 

    First, I accepted an invitation by a senior student to be on his intramural basketball team.  The good news is that I played well enough that the opponent actually started to guard me.  The bad news is that I tore meniscus in my left knee and had minor surgery.  Lessons learned?  Probably none.  In fact I want to go out and play as soon as the rehab concludes.  But my wife Mary carefully reminds me that there is a reason why there isn’t a senior circuit for basketball like there is for golf. 

    So perhaps I scored my last points in competitive basketball (in a game, by the way, that we lost by two points).  But perhaps not.  How can I possibly go out on a loss?

    My stupidity in playing against athletes a third my age did not keep me from having a great couple of weeks that were as busy as you would expect.

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  • April 16, 2014 1:34 pm

    2014 President’s Award Finalists

    The season of Lent concludes today and our Ave Maria University community looks forward with great anticipation to the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil liturgies.  It is a time of grace, these days of mystery, and I am excited that this late Easter comes as the academic year reaches its crescendo.  So much is going on and our 199 graduates are getting ready for their big day May 10.

    As you students conclude your studies today and prepare for the holiest days of the year, and as the University closes until next week, I wanted to send you home with the news on the five finalists I have chosen for the President’s Award, our University’s highest honor for a student.

    I received scores of nomination letters and fortunately I had the assistance of three individuals who made recommendations to me after reviewing the qualifications of the nominees.  I am grateful for their help because this year’s nominees were all deserving of finalist status  I congratulate them all on their many accomplishments and extend my gratitude to all who sent to me a letter of nomination.  

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  • March 31, 2014 11:01 am

    Sabbath surprises and delights

    What a Sunday!

    The phone rang at my home Saturday and it was a member of the security detail of Governor Rick Scott saying that he would be coming to Ave Maria University on a swing through the area.  I invited the Governor to join Mary, my family and me for the 10AM Mass, and sure enough, he came.


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  • March 25, 2014 8:46 am

    Today’s newspaper


    For those with a Naples Daily News online subscription, view the opinion piece here: naplesnews.com

  • March 24, 2014 10:14 am

    A new “edict of toleration” is needed

    Tomorrow will be the highlight of our 10th year anniversary celebrations as we gather as a university community to celebrate our patronal feast, the Annunciation. 

    We are Our Lady’s university, and the beautiful bas relief on the front of the Oratory reminds us each day of Mary’s “yes” to God, her breathtaking humility and her unfailing trust of and invincible love for Jesus.  We will have Mass at 5pm followed by our annual steak dinner on the mall (weather permitting, otherwise we move inside).  And then some musical entertainment will follow to cap off the night.  I look forward to having our student body and University community together for this joyful occasion.

    Divine Providence has chosen the feast of the Annunciation in 2014 as the day when the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Obama administration’s unlawful health insurance mandate.  Ave Maria University filed a federal lawsuit against this mandate because it requires religious employers like us to be complicit with the government’s efforts to make abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and other contraceptive services available for free to our employees under the health plans we offer. 

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  • March 5, 2014 1:57 pm

    Ash Wednesday and spring break

    Ash Wednesday and spring break. 

    At first blush, it seems like a terribly odd convergence today.  The liturgical season of Lent and the annual rite of spring where college kids flock to the Florida beaches (including those thirty-five minutes from our campus!) seem to go together about as well as tanning oil and holy water.  Change and repentance with recreation and revelry?  You are “dust and unto dust you shall return” one minute and “eternally young” the next?

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  • February 27, 2014 1:56 pm

    What a week at Ave Maria!

    What a week at Ave Maria!

    We had our annual scholarship dinner last Thursday and it was a huge success!  Four hundred people crowded into the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton on Naples beach and the dinner probably was our best yet.  Fittingly enough for our tenth anniversary as a University, Ave Maria conferred an honorary doctorate on our founder, Tom Monaghan.   It came as a complete surprise to him and we were thrilled that his wife of 51 years, Marge, was there by his side as Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Timmis hooded Tom. The photo below says it all.


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  • February 20, 2014 10:15 am

    "Something Beautiful for God"

    Beautiful morning at Ave Maria University with the temperature in the mid-60’s - and this evening the University holds its annual scholarship dinner and we will have an overflow crowd of 400 of our closest friends in attendance as we celebrate our 10th anniversary as a University.

    Today the University is announcing the dedication of the Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall.  When Mother Teresa died in 1997, you students were in kindergarten or younger.  This small museum, and the larger Mother Teresa project, will provide you - and those who follow you at Ave Maria - the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa, to learn from her, and to follow in her footsteps.  I hope you can come at 11:30 tomorrow morning and be there for this historic event.

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