Three Endowed Faculty Chairs Established


12 May 2021

Dear Ave Maria University Community,

I am pleased to announce the University has received a generous donation for the establishment of three endowed faculty chairs. The benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked that three current members of the faculty who exemplify a commitment to the University’s mission, scholarly excellence, and superlative teaching, be the first appointees to the chairs. The donor also requested the chairs be distributed across disciplines at the University. The names of the chairs memorialize the contributions of three deceased individuals integral to the founding of the University.

The Fr. Matthew L. Lamb Chair of Catholic Theology honors the role of the late Fr. Matthew L. Lamb in the founding of the Patrick F. Taylor Graduate Programs in Theology at Ave Maria University. In 2004, Fr. Lamb left his tenured full professorship at Boston College to join the University as the founding chair of the Theology Department. Dr. Michael Dauphinais, who is currently the chair of the Theology Department and Co-Director of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal, has been appointed first holder of the chair. Dr. Dauphinais is an accomplished and widely published Catholic theologian, popular professor, and he served the University sacrificially for over a decade as Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He and Fr. Lamb were close friends and colleagues.

The Ambassador Michael Novak Chair of Politics honors the contributions to the University made by the late Michael Novak as a founding trustee of the University, member of the faculty, and great friend and supporter of the students and faculty. Dr. Seana Sugrue, who currently serves as chair of Politics and director of Pre-Law, has been appointed first holder of the chair. She is an accomplished constitutional scholar, served the University sacrificially as Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and one of the highest rated professors at the University. Dr. Sugrue was a dear friend and colleague of Ambassador Novak’s.

Dr. Paula Ines Castagnet Chair of Biological Sciences honors the contributions of the late Paula Castagnet to the founding of the University and the development of its science programs. A Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Dr. Castagnet was among the first members of the faculty at Ave Maria University. While still a member of the faculty, she passed away from cancer in 2011. Dr. Nicholas Curtis has been appointed the first holder of the chair. Dr. Curtis is the chair of the Biology department, which oversees the majors in Exercise Physiology, Health Science, Marine Biology, Biology, and Environmental Science. The Biology department has enjoyed significant growth under Dr. Curtis’s leadership. He is widely published in the fields of cell and molecular biology.

The establishment of these three academic chairs marks a significant moment in the maturation of Ave Maria University. The University has long enjoyed a reputation for strong academics and a renowned faculty. It was these attributes—the strength of the academics and the faculty—that inspired the donor to make this generous gift. The establishment of these three chairs accentuates the University’s commitment to academic excellence and the cultivation of an academically accomplished, mission-driven, faculty.

Please join me in congratulating Drs. Dauphinais, Sugrue, and Curtis for this remarkable honor.

God Bless,

Christopher P. Ice
President