Message from the President

Office of the President

25 March 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Happy Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord! The day Our Lord was immaculately conceived in the Blessed Mother’s womb.

Today, immediately following Fr. Rick’s 11AM Mass, please join my wife Mary and me as we pray the Marian Consecration prayer to renew the University’s consecration and, to consecrate my presidency to Jesus through his mother, Mary. You can join us via live stream through our facebook page.

As Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, states in his book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, “The act of consecrating oneself (or our University), to Jesus through Mary marks the beginning of a gloriously new day, a new dawn, a brand new morning in one’s spiritual journey. It’s a fresh start, and it changes everything.” St. John Paul II described Marian consecration as the “turning point” in his life. In fact, his papal motto was “Totus Tuus” (“Totally Yours”) which are St. Louis de Montfort’s words for consecration to Jesus through Mary.

As we began this 33-Day Marian Consecration on February 21, I had no idea the challenges that would lie ahead of us. I don’t believe it was fortuitous, I believe is was inspired. The Ave Maria University community prayed this consecration asking for Our Lady’s intercession and protection and the Holy Spirit’s wisdom. I can assure you that these prayers from our faithful community have given us calm in the midst of the storm. Your prayers have helped guide us through the turmoil so far. 

Thank you for all of you who joined me each day in praying this Consecration. If you were not able to participate, it is not too late. You can still join us today and pray the consecration prayer with us. 

God bless you! Totus Tuus!

President Ice

23 March 2020

Dear Ave Maria University Community,

Thank you for joining with me in praying the 33-Days to Morning Glory consecration prayers. We had no idea on February 21st when we began this consecration that we would be faced with some of the most challenging decisions in Ave Maria University’s history. This pandemic will be forever etched in our memories, but through our perseverance with this consecration, I believe we will be stronger when the unrest subsides.

I am excited to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25th by praying the Morning Glory Consecration Prayer with you. Due to restrictions placed on us due to the COVID-19 virus, we will not hold our planned gathering at sunrise on this day. Immediately after Fr. Rick’s 11:00AM Mass (around 11:30AM), I will join you with a special guest, to pray the final consecration prayer for Ave Maria University and the protection of all that work and study here. This coronavirus may take away our ability to congregate, but it will not take away our ability to pray as a community. This will be an opportunity for us to ask for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s special protection now and in the time to come.

God bless!

Christopher P. Ice

18 March 2020

Dear students, faculty & staff,

I just received the attached letter from the Bishop of Venice, FL, Frank Dewane. It is with heartfelt sadness that I have to inform you that all Masses are canceled for our diocese as of Friday, March 20, 2020, through Easter Sunday.

As your President, I want to encourage you to continue to double down on your prayers, fasting, and sacrifices. I know that the Blessed Virgin Mary is watching over this University. I firmly believe that we will endure this trial and you must not lose hope. We are living in extraordinary times and when things that we love are seemingly taken away, we must be steadfast in our faith and trust in the Lord. Our prayers and sacrifices and our yearning for our Eucharistic Lord will be heard into the highest heaven.

Please keep Bishop Dewane, Fr. Rick and all of our beloved priests in your prayers as we gather tomorrow on the Feast of St. Joseph to give God thanks for all the blessings bestowed on us.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us.

Christopher P. Ice

16 March 2020

During this time of trial, suffering and a great fear of the unknown, I recall St. John Paul II in his welcome address as the new pontiff in 1978 where he said, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus himself said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and meek in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:29-30) Numerous times in Jesus’ earthly life, we are quite confident that he turned to his mother, Mary, for comfort and peace. She was there for him even to the point of his death on the cross, at the foot of the cross. We need to learn from Jesus and tum to Mary in time of trial. 

Ave Maria University is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. On March 25th, I invite you to join me as we will consecrate the University to Jesus through Mary on the lawn near the Bob Thomas Student Union while watching the sunrise over the Ave Maria church. Mary will protect us from harm and we need to trust in her intercession, just as she consoled Jesus as a mother to her child before and after his public ministry. 

I want to strongly encourage all of you to take this time to commit more time in prayer to help us endure this trial. Fr. Rick Martignetti, O.F.M. will do everything in his power to make sure that the sacraments will remain available for all those on campus. We need to take advantage of daily Mass, take advantage of confession, spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and pray the rosary each day. The rosary is one of the greatest weapons in your possession to combat the great evil that is being unleashed on our world. If we go to daily Mass, attend frequent confession, pray the rosary each day, spend time in adoration, fast and offer up our sufferings, we will defeat the Coronavirus.

In February 1986, there was political unrest in the Philippines to the point where hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to pray the rosary and confront the military who had brought in tanks and soldiers with guns to disperse the crowds. As the crowd prayed the rosary, blocking the tanks from advancing, the soldiers were ordered to begin firing their guns into the crowds. All of a sudden, the soldiers were awestruck as a “beautiful woman encased in an immense bright light” appeared before them standing in front of the people between the tanks and soldiers. According to these soldiers, this beautiful woman was dressed in blue with heavenly eyes, appeared in front of them and spoke in a voice audible to everyone, “Dear soldiers stop! Do not proceed. Do not harm my children. I am the queen of this land.” The soldiers immediately dropped their weapons and joined the people in prayer. The soldiers later claimed that the woman was the Blessed Virgin Mary. Disaster was avoided and the Marcos regime was overthrown without a single shot being fired. 

We have the same weapons on our campus, the weapons of the sacraments and the sacramentals (i.e. rosaries). I am inviting all of you to join me for a day of fasting and prayer on Wednesday, March 18 to preserve our campus from harm from the Coronavirus. 

I would ask that you pray the following prayer each day for the protection of our campus and community from the vicious attacks of this virus. 

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now your Spirit over the earth and Ave Maria. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disasters, and war. May the Lady of all Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our Advocate.” Amen. 

God bless each of you! We will endure this battle. You are in my prayers. 

Christopher P. Ice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 3/24/20

Office of the President

24 March 2020

We have moved all classes to online instruction effective Monday, March 23 and everyone has worked hard to make this transition as smooth as possible. We have discovered in this process that we are nimble, agile and resilient to the challenges being presented before us each day. Our faculty and staff were ready for this unexpected turn of events and are doing outstanding work to provide a first-class education to all our students. In this transition, we did not miss any days of instruction.

Our Executive Team and Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) are meeting daily to review any changes implemented by these authorities, give updates on our campus and to make changes as needed. On Monday, our campus instituted a number of new protocols to protect the remaining students on campus who cannot leave due to travel restrictions or other personal reasons. We continue to follow all local, state and federal health requirements and are constantly updating our processes per CDC guidelines. Our physical plant crews are thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the campus each day. We have plenty of food and supplies.

On top of these measures we have placed a 10 PM curfew on all dormitories and there are no visitors allowed 24/7. The swimming pool and weight room are closed and all meals in the cafeteria are being served (vs. self-served) to the students. Our post office and library are now limited to student use only. In obedience to our local Bishop, we closed the Martha Burke Eucharistic Adoration chapel and Fr. Rick Martignetti has placed the Blessed Sacrament under his care. We are live streaming all Masses and invite you to join our priests at 11 AM for daily Mass. At this time, there are no known reported positive cases of the COVID-19 on the campus at Ave Maria University. We pray for God’s continued protection and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession for all our students, faculty and staff.

Thank you for your prayers for Ave Maria University. Tomorrow, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord, we will virtually pray the Marian Consecration together as a community with Fr. Rick Martignetti live after the 11 AM Mass. Please join us online as we ask Jesus and his Blessed Mother to protect Ave Maria University from all illness, including all fears from this illness and the wisdom to guide our University into the future.

May God bless you and thank you for all your prayers and support.

Christopher P. Ice

18 March 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff and parents,

We have been doing our best to try to be as accommodating as possible for our students to allow everyone the option to remain on campus or return home. We feel that we have come up with some innovative solutions by offering a synchronistic academic setting online and in-person. So far, this has worked well and we have not missed a day of instruction.

The students have now been back on campus from Spring break for at least 10 days. At this time, we do not have any reported positive cases of COVID-19 at Ave Maria University or in the town of Ave Maria.

Unfortunately, we are faced with a new reality and there are a lot of unanswered questions and you need clarity. We will continue to communicate as best we can. You have been patient with us and we greatly appreciate everyone’s prayers and support during this trying time.

Given that we are in the midst of a national quarantine that includes avoiding congregating in public places, social distancing, and a ban on gatherings of ten or more people, the University has decided to suspend in-person instruction to students, effective Monday, March 23. Online instruction will be the exclusive mode of delivery for the remainder of the semester.

At this time, the campus will remain open to accommodate students who choose not to return home or who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions. Residence life will be sending further communication later today or tomorrow that will address new protocols for students who remain on campus, as well as students who need to return to retrieve their belongings.

We have been holding out hope that we would be able to enjoy our commencement ceremony on May 9th. Unfortunately, it does not appear that a gathering of this magnitude will be possible as soon as May, and therefore, the ceremony has been postponed. The Executive Team will develop an alternative schedule or delivery method in the coming weeks.

As the University brings its day of prayer and fasting to an end, let us join together in praying for our campus community and all those impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

God bless.
Christopher P. Ice

17 March 2020

Dear Ave Maria University Community,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We hope you put on your Irish today. Wear your green with pride!

Yesterday, President Trump issued the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines for Coronavirus. I would like everyone to review these here. Our Executive Team and our Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) is meeting on a daily basis to review the seemingly endless stream of information that is coming out each day. To keep the risk of spreading the virus as low as possible, we would ask that all students residing on campus refrain from non-essential travel. For the same reason, if you have chosen the temporary check out, we ask that you do not return to the residence halls until further notice.

I want to assure you that our team of faculty and staff were well prepared for this turn of events. Classes have continued without interruption and without a loss of a single instructional period. This is a great testimony to our faculty’s commitment to our students and academic mission, and our students’ commitment to their studies. In the midst of the uncertainty of this virus, it is consoling to know that the fullness of truth is continuing to be disseminated through the learning and scholarship that takes place on our campus under Our Lady’s mantle.

The campus is well stocked with sanitary supplies and food. Our residence halls, library, and cafeteria will remain open for those who choose to remain on campus. There is no shortage of food from our vendors. The food service is following CDC guidelines to ensure that the cafeteria is sanitized.

Please join us for a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow, March 18th for the safety and protection of our community from the Coronavirus.

God bless.
Christopher P. Ice

15 March 2020

Dear Parents of Current Ave Maria Students,

In light of the recent announcement that the University will be moving all course instruction to the fully online mode of instruction, effective Monday, I am writing to seek your assistance in supporting and encouraging all of our students to continue with their studies. The faculty had been preparing for the possibility of going online all week. This preparation and quick action, which has continued through the weekend, gives us confidence that the University is well-prepared to make this switch. After meeting with the faculty on Friday evening, our Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Roger Nutt, sent an e-mail to students updating them on some academic-specific points that will be relevant in the upcoming days. We thought that it might be helpful to share some of this communication with you to keep you informed and to enlist your support for our students in the coming weeks. Here are some key points from that message to the students:

“It is important that you [student] understand that there will be no interruption in the University’s offering of your courses. There may be a few bugs to work out the first few days, so please be patient with us. We have been actively preparing for this possibility for the entire week, and we are confident that the faculty is very well prepared to make this switch.”

“Whether or not you are staying here on campus, you need to be prepared to continue your studies and to attend your classes, at least virtually, at the regular meeting times starting on Monday. You should be in touch with your professors and following your classes in Canvas so that you know what will be expected of you.”

“It is important to note that while we have moved to an online mode of instruction, the campus is not closed. The University facilities, including the library, will remain open for your use. Many of your professors will continue to work on campus from their offices, and many will conduct their online instruction from the classroom at the regular meeting time. You are welcome to seek out your professors or attend their teaching sessions in person, if they are working from campus.

“To continue to progress in your classes and to work towards a successful completion of the semester, you will need to be very focused and disciplined with your approach to your classes.”

This is not a vacation for you or the University faculty and staff; the coursework is going to be steady. The faculty have been asked to be patient and accommodating during this stressful time, but we need to keep in mind that classes remain in session online and you will be expected to participate and complete the work that is assigned.”

“We will be tracking your engagement in the classes through Canvas and we are committed to providing you with all necessary support to succeed as students.”

We are making every effort to provide all of our students with the instruction that they need to successfully complete the semester. Any support and encouragement that you parents can provide to your children during this period of online instruction will be most appreciated.

Also, students who are choosing not to stay on campus must complete a temporary checkout with residential life.  A communication with detailed instructions about the temporary checkout process was sent directly to students on Friday.

Be assured of our prayers for you and yours during this time of uncertainty!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Christopher P. Ice

13 March 2020

Ave Maria University has been closely following public health recommendations surrounding the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority at AMU, as is our mission as an educational institution. As we watch and observe information about Coronavirus the statistics and data seem to change by the hour.

The number of confirmed cases in the state of Florida continues to rise and even though Ave Maria University and the town of Ave Maria do not have any confirmed cases as of this writing, we continue to be vigilant in how we approach this novel virus.

A number of students and parents have expressed concerns about the implications of the University continuing to hold in-person classes. In light of these concerns, the Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) has decided to take the following actions:

  • All classes will move to the online format effective Monday, March 16th. On April 3rd, we will announce whether in-person classes will resume after Easter Break.
  • Residence halls, dining halls, and other campus facilities and buildings will remain open.
  • Students may choose to stay on campus or may choose to go home.
  • Credit-bearing clinical rotations, student teaching, and other internships will continue.
  • Faculty will be expected to teach their courses online, with necessary adjustments as needed, and remain available and accessible to their students.  Further information from faculty will be forthcoming.
  • Students will be expected to follow their courses without interruption, and to take all necessary steps to stay engaged with their courses and professors.
  • Florida Governor DeSantis has strongly advised that we consider limiting large gatherings as this poses an increased risk. Following this directive, we are postponing all public events including the Inauguration, Annunciation Celebration, and Battle of the Bands.
  • Seminars and conferences will be canceled or postponed effective immediately. Updates will be provided in the Daily Bulletin.
  • Further updates on Commencement will be announced on or before April 3rd.
  • Off-campus community outreach and service will be discontinued until further notice.
  • Athletic activities will follow the Sun Conference guidelines; the Sun Conference has postponed athletic competitions through March 27th with updates to follow.
  • Campus Ministry will continue to meet the sacramental needs of the AMU community. Schedule updates will be forthcoming.
  • All non-essential University business travel is suspended.
  • Students with existing health problems or compromised immune systems should limit their exposure to the general campus population.
  • AMU will continue to take extra precautions on cleaning and sanitizing the campus.
  • Students should continue to practice good hygiene as recommended by the CDC.
For general updates and information on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website:
A page that is particularly helpful is the CDC’s website on preventing the spread of the virus:
The U.S. Department of Education link is:

We continue to plan, prepare and pray. I ask all of you who have joined in our Marian Consecration to continue in earnest. We will also be asking the AMU community to join us in a day of fasting and prayer for all those impacted by COVID-19. More information will be forthcoming on this event.

May God bless you,
Christopher P. Ice

12 March 2020

Dear Ave Maria University students, faculty, and staff: 

I pray you all are doing well and settling into your classes following the Spring Break. I realize that with the recent outbreak of coronavirus around the globe, you all have many concerns regarding what the University is planning to do. I would like for us to look at the facts together and try to dispel any fears.

The Ave Maria University Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) has been meeting for the past two weeks and met again this morning to review the current status of the virus and best practices moving forward. The CRT is comprised of experts from several departments and fields of experience, and they are working extremely hard to navigate all concerns. The CRT has been in constant contact with local, state, and federal health departments, along with reviewing all updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

There has been a lot of inaccurate and unreliable information spreading throughout our AMU community. I would like to share with you some of the facts: 

1.       Unlike many other universities, AMU students have been back from Spring Break and mission trips for several days now.

2.       AMU students who visited or were studying abroad in Italy have returned to the United States, but are not allowed to return to campus until after their 14-day period of self-quarantine is up, and only then if they remain symptom-free.

3.       Florida has had 30-some positive cases of coronavirus; of these cases, there are no known cases in the state of Florida for people of our student’s age demographic.

4. There are no known cases of coronavirus on the AMU campus, and we are not aware of any positive cases in the town of Ave Maria.

At this time, the CRT views that keeping AMU open and keeping students on campus is the best approach for the safety of our students, and for their academic success.   

Online coursework can be difficult for some students, as it robs them of the freedom to take part in regular office hours and one-on-one meetings with faculty and peers, so moving to “online-only” classes could present a different set of challenges. In light of this, we have chosen to continue to hold in-person classes in the classroom.

We would ask that you adhere to the below instructions and practices as per CDC guidelines; The guidelines which informed these decisions are posted on our website, and include practicing standard safe hygiene precautions.

1.       The University has added cleaning crews who have been tasked with additional cleaning rotations; this will continue indefinitely.

2.       Please limit all unnecessary trips to and from campus as a precaution.

3.       We are reviewing activities, such as guest speakers and other visitors from outside of the community, on a daily basis. All on campus events will continue as planned for now.

4.       Decisions will be forthcoming about large events like the Inauguration, the Annunciation Celebration, and Commencement.

We have planned, we have prepared, and now I am asking you to pray. I would ask that you join me in prayer for Ave Maria University’s CRT as we continue to discern the appropriate decisions each day. Please pray our local, state, and federal government leaders, along with healthcare workers who are responding to this virus. And finally, I would ask Our Blessed Mother to spread her mantle of protection across the Ave Maria University campus and the residents in the town of Ave Maria from the fear of this virus. 

We will continue to update you frequently on our website. 

Thank you for your time and may God bless each of you.

–President Christopher P. Ice

11 March 2020

We want to assure you that the Ave Maria University Coronavirus Response Team has been meeting regularly to discuss COVID-19, receive updates on the latest developments, and review the actions that need to be implemented. At this time, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 within the University Community. To our benefit, our campus is located in a fairly isolated area in the warm sunshine of SW Florida and away from the larger population areas, which has allowed us to continue to keep our campus open.

We have received another shipment of sanitizer stands that will be placed strategically throughout the campus. Physical Plant employees are conducting extra cleaning of doorknobs and table surfaces every night, and, beginning today, cleaning solution will be left in each classroom for faculty and students to wipe down desks and chairs after each class. We are in touch with the local health authorities and have plans that will be implemented if the virus breaks out on our campus.

All Ave Maria University students who were studying at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts campus in Rome have officially departed from Rome and are either en route or have arrived to their respective homes. Students were screened prior to departing Italy. Study Abroad students will complete their semester online through Thomas More College and will not return to the Ave Maria campus. 

We urge all students, faculty, staff and their families to follow CDC directives to help safeguard the public health of the campus; a link to these directives may be found here

We want to confirm that we are aware of two students who traveled to Italy during Spring Break; these students are currently in self-quarantine at their homes. Neither student has shown symptoms related to COVID-19, but as a precautionary measure, they will not return until after the quarantine period ends, and even then, only if they are symptom-free. 

Our Coronavirus Response Team will continue to meet on a regular basis, and will continue to receive frequent updates each day from local and state health authorities, the CDC, WHO, and other resources. We will continue to post relevant updates as the situation unfolds. 

Finally, President Ice asks everyone to adopt this motto, “Plan, prepare and pray, but don’t panic.” 

Let us join in prayer as a University community for all those suffering from this illness and ask for the protection of Our Lady:

O Most Holy Virgin, Mother of God and my Mother Mary, I thank you for all the graces you grant here to those who turn to you. Nobody ever prayed to you in vain. I, too, resort to you and beg you for the Passion and Death of Jesus and for your pains: welcome me, o’ merciful Mother, under your mantle, which is a maternal mantle; grant me the particular grace that I ask of You to protect Ave Maria University students, faculty, and staff from the Coronavirus and protect me from all evil and especially from sin, which is the greatest evil.

Oh make, oh Mary, my Mother, that I always enjoy your loving protection in life and even more in death and then come to see you in heaven and to thank and bless you forever. Amen.

Sweet Madonna, pray for us.

O sweet Virgin, pious mother of love,
Like this Ave rising from the heart.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria
Ave, ave, ave, Maria

O Virgin, shine as a star in the sky,
Motherly defend your faithful children.
Ave, ave, ave Maria
Ave, ave, ave, Maria

9 March 2020

In light of Prime Minister of Italy, Guiseppe Conte’s unexpected announcement this afternoon (March 9) that he has put the entire country of Italy under “stay at home” rules due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is with great sadness and dismay that Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and our study abroad partner, has chosen to shut down the program in Rome effective immediately. Dr. Fahey and I have been conversing multiple times a day over the last week and I support his decision.  We both feel this is the best decision for our students studying in Rome.

I want to be clear that we do not feel that there is any health risk to our students, but the Italian Prime Minister’s decision severely limits the program’s effectiveness in Italy and we believe our students will be better served by studying online at home in the United States. Thomas More College is committed to allowing students to finish their semester online at their homes. These students will not return to the Ave Maria University campus.

The Thomas More College staff in Rome is working with students to schedule departure travel over the next 72 hours. Their staff will stay in Rome until every student has departed. The “stay at home” rules do not affect essential travel or travel of foreign nationals to their homes.  

Please join me in prayer for my colleague Dr. Fahey and his wonderful staff at Thomas More College. We appreciate all of their due diligence during this unfortunate turn of events. I would ask for prayers for all the Rome students and for their safe travels back home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Alex Bartsch at or 239-280-2540.

-President Christopher P. Ice

8 March 2020

The following communication was sent out to students on todat, March 8, 2020.

Dear Students:

We hope that this e-mail finds you well-rested after Spring Break. We are writing to give you an update on the University’s current response to the coronavirus.

Classes will resume on campus tomorrow, as planned. There are currently no known cases of the virus among the University community (students, faculty, and staff) or in the town of Ave Maria. During Spring Break the University took careful measures to safeguard the public health of the campus-based on directives from the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and local authorities. These measures included the installation of hand sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas around campus and the (extra) cleansing of all surfaces. These extra precautions will continue after classes resume. Updates are available on the landing page of the University’s website. The most recent update includes the following CDC recommendation for students (or faculty and staff) who have traveled to high-risk areas or who may be experiencing symptoms: “The University is restricting University-affiliated travel outside of the United States to locations where a level 3 travel warning has been issued related to COVID-19 and coronavirus. In addition, we strongly discourage personal travel to these areas. Given the rapidly changing nature of the virus, if you traveled to these affected areas you may be asked to do a 14-day self-quarantine off-campus upon return. Please see [below] for CDC resources regarding travel.” 

ALL students and employees returning from China, Italy, South Korea, Iran or Japan – and/or – who have had close contact with a lab-confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) patient – are directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.  During this time, those students or staff should not come to any part of the campus, including the student residence halls or offices. Also, students needing to self-quarantine must notify the office of residential life of their circumstances by emailing the Director of Residence life at:

The best way to prevent the spread of the virus for all students and employees is to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and stay home if they are sick.  Students who develop flu-like symptoms or are concerned that they may have COVID-19 can contact the local health department regarding COVID-19 testing or to make an appointment.  If you are severely ill, you should call an urgent care, emergency department at a local hospital, or call 911 before going in person.  They will direct you on the steps to take to get help without infecting others.  Keep in mind that this is the cold and flu season, so you should not assume you have the Coronavirus even if you have similar symptoms.  If cases of COVID-19 are identified among residents of on-campus community housing, the University will work with local health officials to take additional precautions and determine next steps, which when possible, may include having them return home to recover. Students can get answers to frequently asked questions on the CDC website:

As the COVID-19 virus circumstances continue to change, updates will be provided on the University website. Students who believe that they need to self-quarantine for any reason should contact to discuss their situation so that the office of residential life is aware and can also verify the status with faculty. Again, please do not attend class or the dining hall if you are sick and notify your professors if you will need course accommodations.

We look forward to seeing students back in class this week.

-Coronavirus Response Team

6 March 2020

The University is restricting University-affiliated travel outside of the United States to locations where a level 3 travel warning has been issued related to COVID-19 and coronavirus. In addition, we strongly discourage personal travel to these areas.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the virus, if you choose to travel to these affected areas you may be asked to do a 14-day self-quarantine off-campus upon return. Please see below for CDC resources regarding travel.

4 March 2020 

Our Ave Maria University Emergency Preparedness Committee is closely monitoring the latest information related to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This page will continue to be updated if information changes.

Regarding Classes: 

  • Class will be in session on Monday, March 9, after spring break. While there are two confirmed and one presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the state of Florida, none of these cases are connected with Ave Maria University. Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) among the University faculty, staff, or student body. Furthermore, there are also no known cases of COVID-19 in the town of Ave Maria adjacent to the University. 
  • University officials have been and will continue to be in regular contact with the Florida Health Department. There are currently no public health directives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Florida Department of Health, or local county authorities that recommend against holding classes. The public school system in Collier County and other local universities are currently in session.

Advice for Travelers: 

  • Students who are traveling during the Spring break should follow CDC guidelines regarding good hygiene and regular handwashing. Any student who feels they may have been exposed to the coronavirus or is displaying symptoms should see a physician and remain home until they are clear of any threat of spreading the disease. More advice for travelers may be found on the Florida Department of Health & CDC websites

University Response: 

  • The University is taking advantage of the spring break week to follow public health recommendations related to the prevention of COVID-19. These measures include the acquisition of additional hand sanitizing stations for high traffic areas around campus, extra cleaning of potentially at-risk areas with disinfectant agents, the posting of public health directives regarding proper handwashing and cough/sneeze etiquette, and the sanitization of surfaces around campus that are prone to contact (door handles, desks, and tables). These measures will continue after students have returned from break.


Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University vote unanimously to revoke honorary degree awarded to Jean Vanier

Office of the President

February 27, 2020

To: Ave Maria University Community

From: Office of Christopher P. Ice

Re: Jean Vanier, Honorary Doctorate Revocation

For Immediate Release:

On February 22nd, 2020, the leaders of L”Arche International sent a letter to the Federation of L’Arche Communities publishing the findings of an Inquiry that had been commissioned from an independent organization. The published results include testimony implicating the organization’s founder, Jean Vanier initiated sexual relations with them, usually in the context of spiritual accompaniment. Although they had no prior knowledge of each other’s experiences, these women reported similar facts associated with highly unusual spiritual or mystical explanations used to justify these behaviors. The relationships were found to be manipulative and emotionally abusive, and had a significant negative impact on their personal lives and subsequent relationships. These actions are indicative of a deep psychological and spiritual hold Jean Vanier had on these women and confirm his own adoption of some of Father Thomas Philippe’s deviant theories and practices.”

In light of these tragic and disappointing findings, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University has voted unanimously to revoke the honorary degree awarded to Vanier in 2017 prior to his death. The University expresses its deepest sympathies to all of the victims and assures them of its prayers. This is the first degree revoked by Ave Maria University.

Please direct all media inquiries to Bryant Morin at

5050 Ave Maria Boulevard | Ave Maria, FL 34142-9505 | 239-280-2511 |

Winter Mission Trips: Peru and the Puerto Rican Earthquakes

This January, fourteen AMU students volunteered the last week of their Christmas break to serve alongside the Missionaries of Charity at locations domestic and abroad. While assisting Mother Teresa’s congregation of sisters, students at each location were given the opportunity to experience the transforming power of service, realize the dignity of every person, and deepen their faith life. In addition to offering the annual winter mission trips to Washington D.C., Brazil, and Puerto Rico, for the first time this year, the Mother Teresa Project sent a group of students to Cuzco, Peru.


Monica Williams, a senior history major, was one of the four girls who served in Cuzco, a town located in the Peruvian Andes at an elevation of 11,200ft. The Incan culture is deeply rooted in Cuzco, with the elderly still speaking Quechua, an Incan derived language. While most of the week the girls served the elderly and disabled who lived the MC’s walled-in compound, one day, they drove two hours up the mountain to a secluded village. Monica described the town as untouched by time, recalling the thatched roofs, adobe looking mud walls, and distinctive colorful garb of the Peruvian people. As they drove into the town, children congregated at the church where the Missionaries of Charity and AMU students handed out donated clothing. Monica recalled that among the donated items, the Peruvian boys found a batman costume. “They were all holding it up — just glowing. It was one of those costumes that’s padded with muscles and everything. We were all like, ‘oh my gosh, now there is some five-year-old boy in Peru running around the mountains in a batman costume.’” Monica expressed how important the mission trip was for her, especially while in college, where the faith can easily become very intellectual. Through mission work, she was given the opportunity to step outside herself and put her faith into action. 

Puerto Rico

During their mission trip to Puerto Rico, AMU students Therese Brown, Irene Defelice, and Maria Halecky also experienced the challenge of living out their Catholic faith. Three days into the mission trip, they woke up to an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude, one of the biggest earthquakes to have struck Puerto Rico in over a hundred years. This earthquake soon caused the city to lose power. Maria Halecky shared her fears following the earthquake and how she strongly considered leaving Puerto Rico early. “I had the choice to go home the next day, but I also had the choice to stay there and do what I was supposed to do. I chose to stay because I was meant to be there. I feel like that was a big thing for me spiritually.” On the morning of January seventh, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake shook the town of Yauco, stranding the three girls and chaperone in Puerto Rico until the ninth. During these days of uncertainty and changing plans, the girls experienced a sense of peace. “I feel like I really grew in my trust in God,” Therese remarked. “Knowing that no matter what happens, even if your plans change a hundred times, He’s still there. He’s still leading, and you just got to trust Him because He’s good.” After the earthquakes, the girls spent their time praying and simply being present to the locals. 


Ave Maria University strongly encourages students to give of themselves through service. In addition to the mission trips organized through the Mother Teresa Project, the MTP also provides occasions for service throughout the whole year. To learn more about local service opportunities and upcoming mission trips visit

Written by: Madeleine O’Rourke

Ave Maria University Scholarship Dinner: A Salute to Our Past, Present, and Future

         The ninth annual Scholarship Dinner unfolded in the evening hours of February 13th, 2020, right on the ocean at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, Florida. Beginning with a cocktail hour and followed by a dinner program emceed by Andrea Serrani, class of 2012, and Colin Stroud, class of 2022, the theme of the night was  “A Salute to Our Past, Present, and Future.” This was beautifully conveyed through the performances and presence of many current students and alumni. Additionally, all three of Ave’s presidents — Nick Healy, James Towey, and current president, Christopher Ice — were in attendance. Founder and Chancellor Tom Monaghan also attended the evening.

         The night featured an invocation from board member Bishop Kevin Rhoades, from the diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, and remarks from Mr. Monaghan, Mr. Towey, and President Ice about their own Ave experience.

         Monaghan spoke on the founding of Ave Maria and the transition to the current campus, addressing some of the challenges that have taken place over the years. He recalled that when Jim Towey came to Ave, “He was looking at everything with fresh eyes. He added a lot of new majors and many good projects, especially the fantastic Mother Teresa Project.” Monaghan stated that after Towey’s nine-year term, “God sent us a man by the name of Chris Ice. I think he is just what the doctor ordered for this university at this time.” Monaghan concluded by asking those present to “think of Ave Maria in your prayers, and say an ‘Ave’ every day for Ave.”

         Towey began his remarks by thanking Monaghan and the Board of Trustees for the transformational privilege of serving the University for nine years. He said, “When I look back, I take a great deal of satisfaction in what we did in the Blessed Mother’s name on this campus.” He went on to speak of the growth of Ave over those nine years, saying that, “All of the success is not mine to claim because it owes to the foundational efforts of all who joined Tom at the beginning and all those who joined since then, and most, of all, by God’s grace.”

         President Ice shared stories about his experiences with students, remarking how impressed he is by the maturity of their Catholic faith and the genuine joy they have expressed to him and various visitors to campus over the past weeks. He spoke about vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and marriage blossoming at Ave. Leading up to the Feast of the Annunciation and his inauguration, he invited the entirety of the Ave Maria family to join him in Marian consecration, using Fr. Gaitley’s “33 Days to Morning Glory.” He said, “As I stated in my acceptance remarks in November concerning the state of affairs at numerous Catholic universities today; I commit to you again here tonight at Ave Maria University, we’re going to run to our Catholic faith, not away from it. Please pray for me, that I will lead with wisdom, prudence, and clear vision.”

         “Everything about who I am today has been shaped by Mary’s little nudge that got me to Ave,” Andrea said in her alumna testimony, as she talked about how Ave taught her how to really love. Colin Stroud talked about how the scholarships are what originally piqued his interest in Ave. The theme of generosity characterized Ave for him, from the original scholarships he received, to going to Uganda with the Mother Theresa Project and preaching the truth of God’s love to prisoners. He said, “My education prepared me for my mission. So, whether it be summer camps, mission trips, parishes, nonprofits, radio stations, in Andrea’s case, Fortune Five Hundred companies, or just the domestic church at home, Ave students, current and alumni, are all over the world during exceptional things thanks to generosity.”

         In addition to these profound remarks and testimonials, the evening featured incredible student performances, from the AMU Chamber Choir to a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by freshman Teresa Thompkins, as well as student-led Irish folk band called Jimmy and the Spud Guns. Matthew Resin, class of 2019, concluded the night in grandeur, singing Ave Maria as a parting gift to Mr. Towey.

         It was a night filled with tributes to Ave’s past, excitement for all of the goodness presently happening at Ave, and hopeful anticipation for all that is to come. The scholarship dinner attendees generously gave a total of $585,000, which will be used to enable future Ave students to attend the university with financial aid.

Written by: Anne-Marie Schlueter
Edited by: Madeleine O’Rourke

*Postponed: New Date to be Determined* The Inauguration of Christopher P. Ice as 3rd President of Ave Maria University

POSTPONED: New Date to be Determined



AVE MARIA, FL (February 3, 2020) – The Inauguration of Mr. Christopher P. Ice as the third president of Ave Maria University will take place on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

The occasion will be marked by four major events open to the general public:

Friday, March 27th:

Opening Presentation

Ex Corde Ecclesiae at Thirty: A Call for Renewal in Catholic Universities – Dr. Michael Dauphinais

6:30pm ·   O’Bryan Performance Hall, Thomas and Selby Prince Bldg.

Saturday, March 28th:

Inauguration Mass

Mass with Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice

10:00am · Ave Maria Catholic Church

Inauguration Ceremony

11:30am · Ave Maria Catholic Church

Inauguration Keynote Address

Ego Sapientia: Our Lady and Catholic Higher Education – Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P.

2:30pm · O’Bryan Performance Hall, Thomas and Selby Prince Bldg.

Annunciation Celebration

6:00pm · Ave Maria University Academic Mall

President Ice comes to Ave Maria University after serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

“I am excited to begin my presidency at Ave Maria University and lead this authentic, orthodox Catholic university into the future,” President Ice, said. “As our motto of Veritatis Splendor suggests, students at Ave Maria will continue to develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary to distinguishing truth from falsehoods, especially in a culture that blurs the lines of truth. ­­We have outstanding faculty, who are dedicated to academic excellence and preparing our students for the rigors of life after college.”

President Ice continued, “My main goal as the President of Ave Maria is to help form joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service. My desire is for our students to become great leaders in our society and ultimately, saints.  At Ave Maria University, we won’t run away from our Catholic faith, we will continue to run to it.”

The public is invited to all the inaugural events and tickets are not required*. The Mass and inauguration ceremony will be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend.

*Tickets will be required for the dinner portion of the Annunciation Celebration.


Bryant Morin
Director of Marketing and Communications

Christopher P. Ice Elected as the Third President of Ave Maria University

President-Elect Christopher P. Ice

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in front of the Bob Thomas Student Union on Friday, the eighth of November, for the announcement of Mr. Christopher P. Ice’s election as the third president of Ave Maria University. 

Patrick Rainey, the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, introduced Ave’s Founder and Chancellor Thomas S. Monaghan. 

Monaghan first thanked Michael Timmis for his hard work, generosity, and strong leadership during his more than ten years serving as Chairman of the Board. He then took a moment to personally highlight President Towey’s accomplishments over the last eight years. Under Towey’s leadership, the University tripled its number of majors, started the Mother Teresa program, conducted a highly successful sixty-million dollar capital campaign, and received the official designation as a Catholic university. 

“Leaders rise to the occasion in times of crisis. Hurricane Irma was one such example that showed the mettle of Jim’s leadership. He cared not only for our students during this time but took this potential crisis and showed all of Collier County what Ave Maria was really about.”

Ave’s Founder concluded his remarks by warmly thanking President Towey for his eight and a half years of faithful service at Ave Maria. The crowd loudly applauded as Monaghan paused to show his gratitude. Once the students and faculty quieted, Monaghan expressed his excitement for the future and his confidence that Ave would be in good hands as they look to the future. 

President Jim Towey and President-Elect Christopher P. Ice

Patrick Rainey returned to the podium to introduce Mr. Christopher P. Ice. Ice currently serves as chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri), a position he has held since 2017. He brings many years of experience as an executive in the corporate and private sectors as well as Catholic non-profit organizations. He possesses an impressive background in fundraising for Catholic higher education at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Christopher Ice began by thanking Patrick Rainey, Tom Monaghan, Nick Healey, and the presidential search committee. 

“Ultimately, I really thank Jim Towey and his wife Mary for their great leadership.”

President-elect Ice and his wife, Mary Ice, have been married for thirty-one years. They are blessed with ten children, seven living and three in heaven, and one grandchild. Ice shared that his wife could not be present that day, due to family commitments. Last summer, she survived her second bout with breast cancer. Ice paused to collect himself as he choked-up over her illness. “She’s a warrior, I’ll tell you that.” The crowd cheered and Ice remarked, “The good news is you don’t have to worry about changing the first lady’s name, it’s still Mary.” 

President-Elect Christopher P. Ice

Ice continued by thanking the students for coming out to show their support in the ninety-degree weather, along with the faculty who had welcomed him so warmly. “I believe it’s our Lady’s intercession that I’m standing here today as the president-elect of Ave Maria University, and I’m honored.”

Asserting that his top priority as president is to help every one of the students to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and ultimately, to get to heaven, Ice said, “I think everyone would agree that the world needs more saints.”

Ice reflected on the experiment of secularism that has enveloped many Catholic institutions and corrupted the truths of the Catholic faith, all under the guise of academic freedom. Among the two-hundred and forty-seven Catholic higher education institutions, only fifteen residential Catholic colleges and universities are on the Newman guide for Catholic schools.

“In the marketing world that I came from, these colleges that call themselves Catholic would be accused of false advertising.”

He emphasized Ave Maria’s critical role in the future of the Catholic Church, “At Ave Maria, I commit to you, we are going to run to our Catholic faith and not away from our Catholic faith.”

Ice, who has a strong Marian devotion, said that he firmly believes that Mary has commissioned Ave Maria University. 

“We may be small, we may be new, but we are going to have great impact and continue to have great impact on the world today.” 

President-elect Ice looks forward to serving the University in January and asked for prayers for himself and his family as they transition to Ave Maria University.

L-R: President Jim Towey; President-Elect Christopher P. Ice; Chancellor and Founder Thomas S. Monaghan; Chairman of the Board Pat Rainey

By: Madeleine O’Rourke

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.


Media inquiries: Please contact Bryant Morin, Director of Marketing and Communications,

at 239-280-2513 or by email at:


 Ave Maria University will have a major announcement today, November 8, 2019.

The announcement ceremony details are as follows: 

 Location: Front of the Bob Thomas Student Union, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida 

Time: 11AM 

Participants: Chairman of the Board of Trustees Patrick Rainey 

Chancellor and Founder Thomas S. Monaghan 

President Jim Towey 

Special Guest 

Media release will be available at 11AM. 

Students are encouraged to attend. All are welcome.

Media inquiries: Please contact Bryant Morin, Director of Marketing and Communications, at 239-280-2513 or by email at:

Hurricane Dorian Updates

#4 – 9/1/2019 – 12:45 pm – Classes Begin Tomorrow

The University continues to monitor Hurricane Dorian.  All current forecasts, including those of the National Weather Service, predict that the storm will pass a safe distance from our campus.  Should these forecasts change, the University will be in immediate contact with you.  

Classes begin tomorrow.  All area airports have been open all week, and all ground transportation to and from campus is operating as normal.  The University is not aware of any gas availability issues that would impede travel to or from Ave Maria.  Therefore, all registered students are expected to attend their regularly-scheduled classes.  Any student with extraordinary circumstances preventing his or her timely arrival on campus should contact the University’s Office of Academic Affairs to secure an excused absence from classes on Monday and Tuesday.

We look forward to a great semester!  Please keep in your prayers all of those living in the path of Hurricane Dorian.  

#3 – 8/31/2019 – 2:00 pm – Hurricane Dorian Update

Good Afternoon,

At this time with the change of course which the storm has taken, classes will begin as scheduled on Monday. Have a wonderful Saturday!

#2 – 8/30/2019 – 12:30 pm – Hurricane Dorian Update

Good afternoon!

The University continues to monitor Hurricane Dorian.  Because the storm’s forward speed has lessened, Dorian is not expected to make landfall on the east coast of Florida until early Tuesday.  In the meantime, the University is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of students housed on campus.

Classes are expected to begin as scheduled on Monday. 

Please continue to monitor the AMU web site, your email, or LiveSafe app for all University communications related to Dorian.  The next Dorian update will be on Saturday at 6PM. 

AMU administrative offices will be open tomorrow from 9AM-1PM.  Take advantage of these hours to get parking passes, IT passwords, mailbox keys, bills paid, financial aid issues resolved, and other outstanding matters settled prior to the commencement of classes.  Returning students are asked to check-in at the Bob Thomas Student Union during these hours.  Please let your Residence Hall Director know when you have arrived on campus so that the University can maintain an accurate census. 

The University community remains united in prayer and resolved to deal with any Dorian-related issues in the days ahead. Have a great weekend!

#1 – 8/29/2019 – 12:00 pm – Special Message Regarding Hurricane Dorian

Ave Maria University is monitoring Hurricane Dorian’s projected path and remains confident that the threat of a significant weather event on our campus remains unlikely.  The University is fortunate that Dorian is not approaching Florida on its Gulf coast side, and that the storm’s projected landfall appears to be over 200 hundreds miles away.

However, the University is concerned about the travel challenges students and their families may face in getting to and from our campus this weekend as congestion on Florida’s interstates and roads (and the availability of gasoline to refuel) become issues.  Flight schedules, too, may change as airports prepare for Dorian’s approach. 

Current forecasts tell us that Dorian is not expected to make landfall in Florida until Monday morning.  However, mandatory evacuation orders are expected along the Southeastern coast in the near future which will affect transportation routes and gas availability.  Travelers are urged to monitor traffic radar and exercise prudence in mapping and timing their travel.

Because of Dorian’s approach, the University is altering its check-in schedule to accommodate upper-class students who may wish to return to campus early.  Any student who wishes to come ahead of schedule may do so at any time after 3PM today.  Upon arrival on campus, please report to the Bob Thomas Student Union and follow check-in procedures.  Returning students arriving after business hours on Thursday or Friday should report to their residence halls.

Classes are expected to begin as scheduled on Monday.  For those whose arrival on campus may be delayed by Dorian, the AMU faculty will work to ensure that they are not disadvantaged because of class absence necessitated by this weather event. 

Please monitor the AMU web site or LiveSafe app for all University communications related to Dorian.  The next update will be on Friday at noon.  And please pray for our students, their families, and all those who will be affected by Dorian. 

Thank you.