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AMU Student Wins Second Place in National Organ Competition

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ave Maria University sophomore and music major, Mary Joy Silmaro, was awarded 2nd place 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.

For the final round, Mary Joy performed J.S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in G minor (BWV 542) and Allegro Vivace from Fifth Symphony by Charles-Marie Widor.

"It was such a friendly atmosphere and I even got to know the other competitors better and became friends with them. I thought it would be really nerve-wracking for me to perform in front of the other competitors, who certainly have had more experience in performance and competitions, and the many professional organists. Rather, I was very excited to walk onto that stage and just have fun with my pieces. I had so much fun throughout the whole performance - I wish I could do it again!

All the hard work I put towards this competition has certainly paid off. I was even personally invited by one of the judges, Dr. Christoph Bull, organ professor at UCLA, to come to UCLA for graduate studies! I don’t know what exactly the future holds for me, but this competition has certainly opened many opportunities and possibilities for me. I am truly grateful to Rodgers and the other competitors for making this a worthwhile experience, and to my parents and all the professors of Ave Maria University for all their support."

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.

About the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition
The Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition has been revamped and focuses on young performers 14 to 22 years old.

Finalists performed 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.

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.

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Kimberly King Named AMU’s Director of Athletics

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

AVE MARIA, Fla. --- After completing a nationwide search in which over 300 applications were received, the University is pleased to announce Mrs. Kimberly King as Ave Maria's next Athletic Director. She will assume the duties as AMU's Athletic Director in early May.
 
"Kim will have a huge influence in shaping the experiences of hundreds of our students for years to come," stated President Jim Towey. "Her strong Catholic faith and administrative experience in athletics inspire all of us." 
 
Mrs. King brings with her over 20 years of athletic administration and coaching experience at the collegiate level. She concludes her tenure as Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership, Counseling and Life Skills at NCAA Division I State University of New York at Binghamton where she successfully helped them transition from NCAA Division III to Division I.
 
During her time at Binghamton, Kim held positions as Head Cross Country Coach, Assistant Track and Field Coach, Physical Education instructor, Assistant Athletic Director for Academic and Student Services, Assistant Athletic Director for CHAMPS Life Skills and Counseling, and Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator (SWA).

"I am humbled to be able to serve as Director of Athletics at Ave Maria University.  Working at AMU is an extraordinary opportunity to combine the love I have for both athletics and my Catholic faith.? C?ontributing to a University with such a strong mission and clear vision couldn't be more exciting for me," King said.
 
Mrs. King received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Richmond and later earned her Master of Arts in Counseling from Franciscan University of Steubenville.
 
"This is an exciting time for the University and Athletics in particular, as the growth in both has demonstrated the need for a full-time Director of Athletics," said Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Cosden. "I'm excited for Kim to bring her extensive experience in intercollegiate athletics to AMU to continue to build and improve our Athletic Department for our student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and athletic support staff."
 
The Athletic Department at Ave Maria has grown from sponsoring six varsity level sports in 2008-09, to boasting 16 varsity-level programs for the 2014-15 season, with nearly 400 student athletes. The Athletic Department staff has grown to include six administrative and athletic support positions, 13 head coaches, and 17 assistant coaches. The athletics program had a budget this year of $1.8 million.
 
Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning devoted to Mary, the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional disciples of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.

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USA Today features AMU as a top 10 Florida university

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ave Maria University was ranked ninth of 39 public and private universities in Florida by USA Today college partner CollegeFactual.com. The goal of the rankings is to measure the quality of education a student will receive at a specific college, relative to all the other colleges in the state of Florida. The rankings include factors such as student body caliber, a University's educational resources, degree completion, and post-graduate earnings.

AMU, the only Catholic University to make the top ten list, is now in the company of Florida's elite institutions. AMU is one of seven private colleges ranked in the top ten, and is the most affordable of them. Ave Maria is also ranked ahead other schools, such as FGCU, University of Central Florida, University of North Florida, and University of South Florida.

Click here to view the top colleges in Florida.

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Founder Tom Monaghan, President Jim Towey make Newsmax’s Top 100 Christian Leaders List

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ave Maria University President Jim Towey and Chancellor Tom Monaghan were listed as Top 100 Christian Leaders in America by Newsmax. The only Catholic University president to make the list, Towey made his debut at number 45 followed by Chancellor Monaghan at number 61.

“I’m honored to be in the company of great men of faith like Tom, Cardinals Wuerl and Dolan, and the many others,” said Towey. "This is the first time I have ranked ahead of Chuck Norris on any list.”

Newsmax covers the latest developments in politics, national and world news, health, faith, personal finance, and technology with a unique American perspective and topics that the major media often ignore. 

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2015 President's Award Finalists Announced

Monday, April 20, 2015

The President’s Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior of Ave Maria University to recognize academic accomplishments, involvement in the life of the University, service to others, and exemplification of AMU’s highest Catholic ideals.  The finalists for the 2015 President’s Award are (listed in alphabetical order):


Peter Atkinson


Thomas Helms



Lucille Pilarski



Caleb Weston



Angela Winkels



The winner will be announced at the President’s Dinner on Friday, May 8th following the Baccalaureate Mass.

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The Acton Institute names Dr. Catherine Pakaluk the 2015 Novak Award winner

Sunday, April 12, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 16, 2015 – Esteemed educator and zealous researcher of multiple disciplines in the area of advanced social studies and social thought, Catherine Pakaluk has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Novak Award by the Acton Institute in recognition of her early promise as a scholar.

Catherine Ruth Pakaluk is Assistant Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and Founder-Director of the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University. This center is an interdisciplinary institute for advanced studies in social science and social thought. She currently works in the areas of demography, family studies, the economics of education and religion, and the interpretation of Catholic social thought.

Pakaluk earned her doctorate in economics at Harvard University (2010), where her dissertation under Caroline Hoxby examined the relationship between religion and educational outcomes.  Her mentors have included F. Russell Hittinger, Michael Novak, and Steven A. Long.

Pakaluk is also a widely-admired writer and sought-after speaker on matters of culture, religion, gender, the social science of the family, the vocation of women, Catholic social thought, and the work of Edith Stein. She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband Michael and seven children.

Named after distinguished American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak, the Novak Award recognizes new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology's connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation on such questions at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak Award comes with a $10,000 prize.

The Novak Award forms part of a range of scholarships, travel grants, and awards available from the Acton Institute that support future religious and intellectual leaders who wish to study the essential relationship between theology, the free market, economic liberty, and the importance of the rule of law. Details of these scholarships may be found at www.acton.org/scholarships.

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AMU Welcomes Dr. Patrick Deneen for Lecture, April 8

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ave Maria University welcomes Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Dr. Patrick Deneen, to campus to present the lecture, "Liberalism, Toleration and the Future Religious Liberty." The lecture will be held Wednesday, April 8 at 5 p.m. in the Henkels Academic Building Lecture Hall. 

Deneen holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He taught at Princeton University and from 2005-2012 was Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of Notre Dame in Fall 2012. He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles and reviews including The Odyssey of Political Theory, Democratic Faith, Democracy's Literature (ed.), The Democratic Soul (ed.), and Redeeming Democracy in America (ed.). He has also written for First Things, The New Atlantis and Perspectives on Political Science, in addition to occasional writing for The Claremont Review of Books and The American Conservative.

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President Jim Towey interviewed on religious liberty by nationally-syndicated radio show host Laura Ingraham

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AMU President Jim Towey was interviewed this morning by Laura Ingraham on religious liberty. Ingraham, a radio talk show host, best-selling author, and conservative political commentator, hosts a nationally syndicated talk show, The Laura Ingraham Show, which airs throughout the United States and online.

To listen to today's show, follow this link.

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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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