Announces Christopher P. Ice to be 3rd President of Ave Maria University

Ave Maria University Board of Trustees

Announces Christopher P. Ice to be 3rd President of Ave Maria University

Ave Maria, Florida. (November 8, 2019) – Today the Board of Trustees announced the election of Mr. Christopher P. Ice as the third president of Ave Maria University. Mr. Ice will begin his presidency on January 1, 2020.

Ice comes to the university with a deep passion for Catholic, liberal arts education, many years of experience as an executive in the corporate and private sectors as well as Catholic non-profit organizations, with an impressive background of fundraising in Catholic higher education at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He currently serves as chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri), a position he has held since 2017.  Ice and his wife, Mary, are parents of seven children ages 10 to 29, and grandparents of one.

“Ave Maria University is fortunate to have a leader of Chris Ice’s caliber who is wholeheartedly committed to our Catholic mission,” said Patrick Rainey, Chairman of the Board.  “We are fully confident he will build on the fine foundation that our founder, Tom Monaghan, and President Jim Towey have put in place, and take the University to new heights,” he said.

Towey is in his ninth year as president of Ave Maria University.  Upon his announcement to step down in 2020, the University conducted a national search for his successor, attracting dozens of highly qualified applicants.  After a search committee of the Board interviewed the finest of these individuals, the Board met on Thursday to elect Ice. 

“It is an honor to be chosen to lead this great Catholic university,” said Ice.  “I look forward to immersing myself in campus life and within the town of Ave Maria,” he added. 

Monaghan praised Ice’s selection at the announcement ceremony this morning.  “I am excited about Chris’ selection, and believe his experience is well-suited for leading the university,” said Monaghan.  “He is clearly a man of great character and deep faith.  His knowledge gained from working in both Catholic higher education as well as a corporate executive will serve him well as he leads Ave Maria.”

Monaghan went on to honor President Jim Towey for his service to Ave Maria, “As our second president, Jim took over what was still a relatively young institution and made many decisive decisions, which helped advance the university at an important time in our history.  Under his leadership the university tripled the number of majors to more than 30, established the Mother Teresa Program and Museum, and he guided an incredibly successful $60 million capital campaign,” said Thomas S. Monaghan, Founder and Chancellor.  “Jim, along with his wife Mary, have worked tirelessly over the last nearly nine years to advance the university, and I am grateful for his leadership and service to Ave Maria and in particular to the students under his care.”

Ave Maria University was founded in 2003 on a temporary campus in Naples, Florida.  The University moved to its permanent campus in the fall of 2007.  Enrollment has nearly tripled since that time, with the current undergraduate population numbering 1,082 students, as have the number of majors offered to students, which now stands at 32 and includes nursing, biochemistry, biology, theology, business administration and education. In addition, there are 44 students presently pursuing graduate degrees in theology at the university.

Ice’s formal inauguration as president will take place later this academic year on a date to be determined.  Ice will preside over Ave Maria’s commencement exercises on May 9, 2020, where future NFL Hall of Famer Philip Rivers, quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers, will be the commencement speaker.  Ice, Monaghan and Towey will join hundreds of alumni, donors and guests on February 13, 2020 for the university’s annual scholarship dinner.


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