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

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


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.

Click here to learn more about the scholarships for New Orleans-area students and more institutional aid opportunities at AMU
Click here to read the full article published by The Clarion Herald

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


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

AMU to host speakers in January


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.

 

AMU Theology Professor Anthony Valle awarded Vatican Foundation academic fellowship


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.

President Towey's Keynote Address at Governor Scott's Inauguration Prayer Breakfast


At noon the Governor will place his hand on the Holy Bible and take his oath of office, and utter the words, “So help me God.” In doing so, he follows a tradition first established by George Washington himself. When Washington was sworn in at America’s first presidential inauguration in 1789, he actually bent over and kissed the Bible and added to the prepared oath his own words, “So help me God.”

His invocation of God’s aid had precedent. Two years earlier, 81 year old Benjamin Franklin, stood up and implored fellow delegates at the Constitutional Convention to pray daily for the help of God in drafting the Constitution. He told them that the Continental Congress, too, had prayed for divine help. He reminded them, “Our prayers were heard…and they were graciously answered. All of us…observed the frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favour…Have we forgotten that powerful Friend?”

Two hundred and twenty five years later, America stands as the world’s preeminent superpower. But this morning it is worth asking that same question: Have we forgotten our “powerful Friend”?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian novelist and Nobel winner, concluded that the principal trait of the entire 20th century, the explanation for two world wars, genocidal madness, the assault on the traditional family, and the abject poverty amidst material abundance, was evident. He said, “Men have forgotten God.”

This morning we gather to pray and remind ourselves of the presence of God, to recognize the divine dimension of life, the sacredness of each and every life; and to pray for our governor and his fellow leaders so that they receive the wisdom that is needed to govern the affairs of men.

This prayer breakfast honors democracy’s high ideal of self-governance. We place our hope in God, not government. The wisdom of our founders in crafting the delicately balanced First Amendment that prevents the establishment of religion and protects the free exercise of religion – this wisdom came from what Franklin called “superintending providence.” This balance allows people of diverse faiths or no faith at all to live in harmony, with mutual respect; and it allows the government to resist a drift toward either a theocracy or another form of state-imposed religion: a secularism which denies Divine Providence and moral truth.

We know that Thomas Jefferson, who many secularists claim as their father, did in fact invent the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state.”

But many may not know that two days after coining this phrase, Jefferson himself attended Sunday worship services in a government building with the Marine band playing the hymns, no less.

It has been said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and that is true. But what is the price for religious liberty? Are we willing to pay it? Today our hearts break as we ponder the plight of Christians in stretches of Syria and Iraq, and in many countries in Africa, where a state religion is ruthlessly imposed and religious liberty ritually extinguished.

But we also see in the West what happens when government neutrality toward religion stealthily becomes government hostility toward religion. Some don’t want freedom of religion. They want freedom from religion. They want to confine the practice of faith to only places of worship and keep faith-based organizations out of the public square. Without our vigilance and willingness to pay the price for religious liberty as Washington and our founders did, it is only a matter of time before our country, too, forgets our “powerful Friend,” and loses God’s “favour.”

That is why it is appropriate for people of diverse faiths to pray together and to implore God’s grace on this very morning when Governor Scott begins his second term. Leaders are led. He needs our prayers. If I may ask forbearance from my non-Christian friends, I want to read the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John, Chapter 15. “Live on in me, as I do in you. No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the tree can you bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine, you are the branches.”

So it is fair to ask, how will we know that we are connected to the vine, or more precisely, to the Divine? How can we best remember God?

Of course prayer is indispensable. Mother Teresa used to say that if you are too busy to pray, you are too busy.

When I worked at the White House I remember once going into the Oval Office before 7AM to see if President Bush needed anything for a morning event I was staffing, and I found him alone at his desk, reading Oswald Chambers daily devotional, “My Utmost for his Highest.” The President knew his need for God, as busy as he was. Do we? Are we too busy to pray?

And after we bow our heads and pray, what do we do for our neighbors in need? The prophet Ezekiel tells us of our responsibility as shepherds to strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, and bring back the strayed and lost.

Jesus expanded upon the holy prophet’s words by saying that whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to God. Thankfully, in our midst in Florida are people who are following this command to love thy neighbor. My friend Dave Lawrence in Miami gives his life so that little children will be school-ready and have a fair chance in life. The folks at Aging with Dignity help our elders who are lonely and frightened by the complexity of their health care choices. Jean Vanier’s “The Ark” communities are celebrating 50 years of caring for the developmentally disabled all over the world, including in Jacksonville. There are so many fine people doing the humble works of compassion in Florida.

And thank God they do because the need for faith in action is great. Wherever you look, you see Floridians who are struggling, including countless families in search of stable employment and housing, and farmworkers seeking to maintain their God-given dignity in spite of back-breaking work.

And Florida also knows spiritual poverty which is every bit as debilitating, as seen in those hurting souls who are starving for the bread of company or thirsting for tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness.

So there is plenty of work to be done to honor Florida’s proud history and fulfill its destiny and our Governor can’t do it on his own. He needs the help of God and the prayers and efforts of each of us. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Governor, we are grateful for your faith in God, your leadership, and your good desires as you begin your second term today. We will pray for you and all of Florida’s leaders. We pledge that we will not forget God, and not forget you.

Related Links
VIDEO: Inaugural Prayer Breakfast (President Towey's address begins at 53:30)

President Towey's blog
Miami Herald
The Tallahassee Democrat