President Towey Speaks at Faith-Based Charity Dinner

President Jim Towey spoke to 400 attendees at a Union League Club dinner raising funds for Aid for Women, a faith-based charity that fights abortion by helping pregnant women have and care for their babies. The organization conferred its highest award on the Missionaries of Charity in honor of their pro-life work and in recognition of the canonization of their foundress, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Four of the seven Sisters serving in the Chicago home attended President Towey’s talk.


Aid for Women runs two Chicago-based residential programs for pregnant mothers, and provides job training, counseling, and health care services. One out of four pregnancies in Cook County end in abortion.


Graduate Program Alumnus to Release Another Book

Dr. Matthew J. Ramage answers questions about his forthcoming book and how his graduate studies at AMU prepared him for entering into contemporary theological debate.

One of the marks of success for the Graduate Theology Doctoral Program at AMU is that of those who have been graduated, all of them have found placement at various universities, colleges, and seminaries. (For a complete list, check here. ) In addition to being an external confirmation of the quality of the program, the diffusion of graduates throughout these various places allows them to engage in the current theological conversations and debates in a multitude of forums and ways. Of course, one of the principal methods of engaging in the current conversation is through publishing. Thus, it is always a moment to celebrate when one of our alumni has a work published.

Dr. Matthew J. Ramage, Assistant Professor of Theology at Benedictine College, is the latest to contribute to current discussion with his latest book, Jesus Interpreted: Benedict XVI, Bart Ehrman, and the Historical Truth of the Gospels, set to be released January 2, 2017. This book is a sequel to his last, Dark Passages of the Bible. In Jesus Interpreted, Dr. Ramage attempts to answer some of the major challenges presented to the Christian faith by some current New Testament Scholarship.

Read the full article here.

Does Philosophy Pay?

Some interesting statistics from the WSJ on the economic advantages of earning a liberal arts degree, such as in philosophy. The payoff, although delayed for the first few years, is substantial compared to other majors over a twenty-year period: a median annual earnings of $97K for philosophy majors (see the chart in the article, ‘How Pay Stacks Up’).

‘“I love hiring liberal-arts graduates,” says Dave Elkington, founder and chief executive of, a Provo, Utah, company specializing in customer-data analysis. “They think broadly and communicate effectively. They aren’t stuck in a rut. They can challenge ideas.” Mr. Elkington, a philosophy major himself, says he came up with a lot of the ideas for his company’s analytic tools by reflecting on Aristotle’s classifications of knowledge.’

Thanks to my colleague Joseph Yarbrough for the pointer.

Read more on the Philosophy Blog.

Dr. Jeremy Bailey Lecture: Sept. 16

Dr. Jeremy D. Bailey holds the Ross M. Lence Distinguished Teaching Chair and has a dual appointment in Political Science and the Honors College at the University of Houston. His research interests include executive power, constitutionalism, and American political thought. His most recent book is James Madison and Constitutional Imperfection. He is also the author of Thomas Jefferson and Executive Power. His writings on American Politics have appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Politics Research, Presidential Studies Quarterly and the Review of Politics.Dr. Bailey received his Ph.D. from Boston College, where his dissertation was the 2004 co-winner of the American Political Science Associations’ E. E. Schattschneider Prize for best dissertation in American politics.

Dr. Bailey Lecture

AMU Thanks Julie Cosden for her Years of Service to the University

After working for eleven years at Ave Maria University, Julie Cosden has resigned as Vice President of Student Affairs.  She will be moving to Dublin, Ireland this fall to work at Emmaus Centre, a retreat center for young adults.  There she will be directing the Centre and designing programs for young men and women pursuing personal growth.

“Julie Cosden has done all things supremely well at AMU since the time of her arrival in July 2005,”  said Jim Towey, President of Ave Maria University.  “She has served in a variety of capacities as residence hall director, admissions counselor, director of student and residence life, and since January 2014, as Vice President for Student Affairs.  In addition to her highly competent management, she has excelled by loving our students and giving her all for them.”

The time she has spent at the University contains so many memories and friendships, as well as time spent strengthening her faith in God.  When asked what she will miss the most about Ave, her answer was simple: the people.  “Some of my closest friends

Kim King, Vice President for Student Affairs

Kim King, Vice President for Student Affairs

in life are former students, or former employees, or current employees.”  She remembers feeling so welcomed when first arriving at Ave Maria, and that warmness and generosity has continued up until today.  Another facet of the University that she will miss is the variety of events.  Whether it was celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation on the quad, or watching the synchronized swimming competition at dorm wars ever year, where she states, “I’ve never laughed harder in my life,” there are an abundance of memories for her at Ave Maria.  Cosden will certainly be missed, and her departure is sure to be bittersweet for people all around the University.

Despite moving on, she thinks that the University has never been in a better position.


John Lamanna, Interim Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach

“I couldn’t be more optimistic about where we are right now, and even more so where we’re going.”  She admires the way the University has grown while maintaining a
strong Catholic identity.  Kim King, the current athletic director, will succeed Cosden as Vice President for Student Affairs.  Cosden hired King last year, and she thinks King is more than capable of handling the new position.  John Lamanna, the current men’s basketball coach, will become the interim athletic director, while keeping his coaching position.

September 9 will be Cosden’s final day at Ave Maria University.  “Over the last two years, I have felt a growing desire to move to Ireland and work with and for the Church there.”  When visiting Dublin, she noticed the Emmaus Centre was at a crossroads of what to do next.  Upon being offered the job, she accepted, feeling she can bring her skill and experience overseas.  Though God is calling her elsewhere, she says there will always be a part of her heart in Ave Maria.  And in a sense, things are not over for her with the University.  “I don’t see this as the end of my time and partnership with Ave Maria.  I just have a sense and desire to really stay involved with the University.”


Ave Maria University Recommended in New Edition of The Newman Guide

Manassas, Va. – Ave Maria University is recommended in the 2016-2017 edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, a resource published by The Cardinal Newman Society recommending 29 Catholic colleges, universities and higher education programs for their strong Catholic identity.

At visitors can read the Guide for free, order a copy, view its companion magazine My Future, My Faith, or take advantage of “Recruit Me”—an innovative program for students to sign up to get recruited by the recommended Catholic colleges.

The Newman Guide says of Ave Maria:

When you take into account the unswerving promotion of Catholic values, the strong core curriculum, and the presence of an impressive and faithful faculty, Ave Maria stands as an exciting new option available to American Catholics today.

First published in 2007, The Newman Guide recommends 20 U.S. Catholic colleges and universities and nine international and online programs for their faithful Catholic identity.  Its companion full-color magazine, My Future, My Faith, helps students navigate the transition from high school to college with advice on important topics like how to know which college is right for you, tips for getting accepted, writing the best application essay, keeping your faith in college, and even rules for campus dating.

The 2016-2017 book version of the Guide features a completely new layout with in-depth narratives exploring the uniqueness of each institution, popular sports, majors, and activities, sample questions to help Catholic families evaluate Catholic colleges, and much more.  The free online version at includes all the content from the book plus the equivalent of more than 400 pages of additional information, videos, social media links, photographs, and the ability to sort colleges by major and athletic offerings.

The online version also makes it easier than ever for families to compare and contrast the recommended colleges.  A chart on the website gives readers a quick glance at crucial facts like percent of Catholic students, number of majors, availability of Confession, opposite sex visiting hours in dorms, and other important information for each recommended institution.  Also, a global map now shows the locations of each recommended institution.

Founded in 1993, the mission of The Cardinal Newman Society is to promote and defend faithful Catholic education.  The Society seeks to fulfill its mission in numerous ways, including supporting education that is faithful to the teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church; producing and disseminating research and publications on developments and best practices in Catholic education; and keeping Catholic leaders and families informed.  The Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization supported by individuals, businesses, and foundations.

You’ve read about us – now come and visit us!

Come experience our beautiful campus for yourself, take a tour, meet current Ave Maria students and faculty, and get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the Ave family.

Click here to submit your campus visit form.

Obamacare Contraception Mandate Sent Back to Lower Courts

Monday, May 16, 2016: The United States Supreme Court made a significant decision today, remanding to the lower courts a challenge brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor to the Obama Administration’s attempt to force religiously affiliated institutions – like Ave Maria University – to act contrary to their rights to religious freedom.  The unanimous decision by the Court is an important win for the Little Sisters and the cause of religious freedom.  The ruling should preserve the injunction issued by the federal court in Ave Maria’s case that prevents the federal government from imposing taxes or penalties on the University by its decision to not comply with the HHS contraception and abortifacient mandate.

Ave Maria University has been fighting the federal government on this matter since 2012.  Under the leadership of President Jim Towey, Ave Maria University was among the very first entities to challenge the legality of the contraception mandate.  The Obama administration has repeatedly tried to involve Ave Maria University, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other men and women of faith in activity that is in direct conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

The University is represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in its case which is on hold in the Eleventh Circuit. Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, made the following statement: “We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position.  It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious — the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today’s decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court.”

Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?

Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?


by Sarah Blanchard

Juan Diego was an insignificant member of his community when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him. One day, as the Christian Indian made a path through the rocky terrain on his way to Mass, he noticed a light coming from the top of Tepeyac hill. There, the Virgin Mother appeared to him and called him “Juanito, my son!”

“Why did God look upon him?” Pope St. John Paul II asked in his homily for the canonization of Juan Diego. Why was Juan Diego, a poor Christian Indian, chosen to see and bear the message of Our Lady? Quoting scripture, the Pope continued in his homily: “God chose what is low and despised in the world … so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:28, 29). The proud and the mighty fight for attention on the world stage, but it is the meek and lowly—like Juan Diego—who reflect the greatness of the Lord. God shines unobstructed through the lives of those who are humble.

With this in mind, it isn’t hard to imagine why the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego. Who better than Mary understands how the soul of the humble magnifies the Lord? She too was an insignificant member of her community when God plucked her out of obscurity and made her Mother—first of Jesus Christ, and then, at Calvary, of the whole world. Her motherhood sprung from her humility; with an unadorned Fiat! she accepted her calling to overflow with God’s compassion and love, signatures of maternal care.

These two things—the humble and the maternal—are intimately united in the Virgin of Guadalupe. Understanding from her own experience how God loves “what is low and despised in the world,” the Virgin has a special care for the insignificant and rejected children of society. Juan Diego’s childlike trust in God was met with Mary’s maternal care. She responded to the humble child with her own humble motherhood.

It is with this same childlike confidence that Ave Maria University has placed itself in Our Mother’s care, first in invoking her name as patron at its founding, and then again in publicly consecrating itself to her Immaculate Heart last year. The University has united itself in her care for the “low and despised in the world,” both in its work defending religious liberty, and as it fosters compassionate care for the poor through the Mother Teresa Project.

On December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the University once again embraced the Virgin as Mother with the opening of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Garden. At the opening ceremony, students processed out from Mass in the Oratory, crossed the canal by way of a newly constructed footbridge, followed a gravel path, and arrived at the base of a 10-foot bronze statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. There, they renewed their consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

On February 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice presided over the official dedication of the prayer garden, offering a blessing of the statue. “Under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he said, “this image will remind us of the close ties of Mary to Jesus, to her Church, and to Ave Maria.” Jerry and Linda Stafford, who generously donated the statue in memory of their son, Jerry T. Stafford (1966-1982), stood by.

Deacon John Jarvis read from the Gospel of St. Luke the account of the Visitation of Mary, in which Elizabeth cried out: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” In reflection afterwards, President Towey invited all gathered at the dedication—trustees, members of the President’s council, the University’s Founder, Tom Monaghan, Chairman Michael Timmis, faculty, administration, staff and students—to look to the example of Juan Diego’s humility and ask, with Elizabeth, “Who are we, that the Mother of Our Lord should come to us?” The answer, he said, lies in the mercy of God, which shines brightly in the person of Our Lady. In God’s mercy, she was chosen to be Mother; in her humility, she carries His mercy to the world.

It is appropriate that the University began this Jubilee Year of Mercy by throwing itself on the mercy of God through Mary. With confidence in her maternal love, the community takes shelter beneath her blue mantel, there carrying out its work united to her in compassion for the poor and lowly, the meek and despised. “What unites people at Ave Maria University,” Towey said, “is a desire to be joyful, intentional followers of Jesus, a love of our Church, and a special devotion to la Guadalupana, la Morena, la Virgencita. A real desire to find ourselves through our work beneath her mantel.”

The dedication ceremony closed with a Rosary led by students. AMU junior Victoria Antram said it was a blessing to be a part of the event. “This statue serves as a reminder that Ave Maria lies in the shadow of Mary’s mantel of grace,” she went on.  “I gaze out from my dorm room window every morning, and she reminds me to live out her Fiat to joyfully accept God’s will. I love the statue and all the goodness it foreshadows in this University’s future.”

The garden currently stands across the canal on the westernmost edge of campus, but, as the University expands over time, it will eventually stand at its center. Although not yet the geographic heart, the prayer garden has already become a spiritual one. Students are at the foot of Our Lady morning, noon, and night. The garden gives students something they have been in “desperate need for,” John Gargano, President of the Student Government Association, remarked. “It is a place of prayer, peace, and consolation outside where they can be with Our Lord and his Mother, contemplating life under the watchful eyes of the beautiful 10-foot statue of Our Lady.” He expects the garden to become a place of pilgrimage, one “where miracles and conversions will unfold.” Who knows? Maybe even a few AMU engagements.

“The Our Lady of Guadalupe Prayer Garden belongs at AMU,” Scott King, Director of Mission and Outreach, said. “Here, where the Blessed Mother is woven into everything.” She desired a church to be built on Tepeyac hill, he explained, “in order that she might be present to us.” The message of her miraculous image is that she wants to be with us, and she wants us to know that she is there by our side. The statue of la Guadalupana in AMU’s prayer garden is likewise a daily reminder to the University community of Our Mother’s presence. Her blue mantel is spread wide, ready to cover those who, like Juan Diego, place their trust in her. “I am reassured,” King continued, “in knowing that Our Lady of Guadalupe will be gazing upon the students, faculty and staff of Ave Maria University from Her prayer garden.”

The Virgin of Guadalupe continues to speak to our times. There is a reason John Paul II declared her Patroness of the Americas; her motherhood and her humility continue to be relevant. We must work on practicing the humility of Juan Diego and look to our Mother for care. She will never fail to respond to our childlike trust with her maternal compassion.

“And should we be frightened…or should worldly pusillanimity threaten us,” Pope Francis said in a homily for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “may She return to speak to our heart and enable us to hear her voice … ‘Why are you afraid? Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?’”

From the Spring 2016 AMU Magazine

The Scalia Symposium: Apr. 18

Our Country’s Good Servant:
A Symposium Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia

Monday, April 18 @ 7 p.m. 
Reception to follow

Student Union Ballroom – Ave Maria University

– Open to the Public –

Ave Maria University is proud to present “Our Country’s Good Servant: a Symposium Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia” featuring lectures by esteemed professors Hadley Arkes and Gerard Bradley.

Professor Arkes was Amherst College’s Edward Ney Professor of Jurisprudence from 1987 through his retirement in 2015.  Professor Arkes knew Antonin Scalia before he became a judge, and will offer a talk on “Memories of Nino,” sketches of Nino Scalia, personal and jural, including Scalia’s “conflicted” relation with Natural Law.

Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Gerry Bradley, will offer his assessment of Justice Scalia’s impact along three axes: the conservative legal movement since 1980; the relationship of moral truth to constitutional law; and specifically on the constitutional law of church and state.

The symposium is made possible through the Ave Maria University Henkels Lecture Fund; members of the public are invited to attend.

Scalia Poster.png

Dr. Jerome A. Solinas Lecture: Mar. 21

Dr. Jerome A. Solinas earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1985 and works as a Senior Technical Leader of the Trusted Systems Research Group in the National Security Agency, the U.S. government’s premier information assurance research and design center.  Jerry studies cryptographic algorithms and encryption systems in which number theory plays in important role in keeping data secure.  Among other techniques, his area of research includes using hyperelliptic curves as well as large prime numbers (such as the Solinas primes, which are primes of the form p =  where 0 < b < a) for public-key crypto systems.  These systems allow for the safe transmission of private financial information over electronic channels that may otherwise be subject to eavesdropping and intrusion.

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