Fr. Gregory Hrynkiw Presents Lecture at AMU

Hieromonk Gregory Hrynkiw, ASTH, recipient of the Aquinas Center’s dissertation prize for 2014, lectured at AMU on Friday, November 20th. An audio recording of the lecture can be heard below.

Fr. Hrynkiw has been a Byzantine-Catholic monk since 1989. While serving as Protohegumenos of the Basilian Order in Ukraine from February 2004 to July 2007, he fought on the front lines against systemic corruption. After suffering threats to his life, he was ordered to return to Rome, and in 2010 made his solemn profession of monastic vows into the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs. The Hermitage is a form of consecrated life, which follows the “middle path” of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, uniting both the contemplative (theoria) and active (praxis) aspects of monastic life.

In 2014, hieromonk Gregory completed his doctoral dissertation on Cajetan on Sacred Doctrine (In ST, I, q. 1): An Original Contribution towards a Theology of “Light from Light” by a Renaissance Cardinal and Theologian in via Thomae under the direction of Mons. Charles Morerod, O.P. at the Angelicum in Rome. At present, he is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, preaching and teaching. He is also the publisher of The Asketerion, which is the journal of the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs.

Hieromonk Gregory Hrynkiw’s November 20, 2015 lecture at Ave Maria University:

Stein Center to Host Conference Nov. 5-6

The Stein Center for Social Research at AMU will host the conference, “Reimagining Care for the Poor” this Thursday and Friday on the campus of Ave Maria University. The Stein Center for Social Research is an interdisciplinary institute for advanced studies in social science and social thought, oriented to understanding the nature and character of human flourishing.

The keynote lecture, by David Lapp, will take place on Thursday, November 5th at 5 pm in the Demetree Auditorium at AMU.  All are welcome to attend this presentation. Lapp’s talk is entitled “A Poor Church for the Poor: How We Can Accompany Our Neighbors in Need–and Save Our Souls in the Process.”

We hope to see you on Thursday!

AMU Welcomes Columba Bush to Campus

The Ave Maria University community welcomed Mrs. Columba Bush to campus on Monday, October 12. Mrs. Bush was greeted warmly by AMU students as she toured campus and visited the Mother Teresa Museum.

Dealing with the Hand God Gave Me

Remembering the words spoken by then five year-old Valeria Tkacik still gives her mother, Anne, goose bumps. “I turned around to look at her and she was looking at me and smiling and I’ll never forget that day. She said Mommy, I was born to make people happy. I said to her I know you will. I truly believe she was getting a message from the angels right then. And from all her achievements, I know this to be true.” These days, Valeria is a standout lacrosse player for Ave Maria University in Florida. By all accounts, she is a leader on and off the field. Tkacik was named to the National Women’s Lacrosse League South Regional Team and is considered a talented athlete who loves playing lacrosse, basketball, golf, track, soccer and flag football. A good student in the classroom, Tkacik was also accepted as a Mother Teresa Scholar at Ave Maria. She has contributed service time for charity work, including a mission trip to Harlem, NY where she served the poor and homeless. Also, Tkacik recently got a haircut and donated 12 inches of her hair to Art of Wigs (Texas) to help cancer patients. As a freshman, she served as a representative on Ave Maria’s Student Government. For her sophomore year, Tkacik will serve on the Student Activities Board and was selected for Ave Maria’s Media Internship Program. And if those achievements aren’t enough, Valeria is also a motivational speaker, helping patients who are struggling with the loss of limbs and providing them encouragement. The reason? Tkacik can relate to their story. Read more…

Anthony Valle Wins Grant Awarded by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation

Anthony Valle, Research Fellow in the Department of Theology at Ave Maria University, was named winner of one of ten grants given by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation in Rome. Valle’s article, titled “Retrieving the christological core of Joseph Ratzinger’s communio ecclesiology”, is part of the volume “Proceedings of the international Symposium of Theology” (Dublin 2013), collecting the interventions of a Symposium dedicated to Ecclesiology of the Communion. The Symposium was celebrated in 2012 in Maynooth, Ireland, during the 50th Dublin International Eucharistic Congress, 50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

President and Mrs. Towey Meet Pope Francis in Philadelphia


Jim and Mary Towey greeted the Holy Father on Sunday after his departing remarks in a hangar at the Philadephia International Airport. President Towey told Pope Francis that Ave Maria University sent its love, and the Holy Father asked for our prayers.

Six Ave Maria University students, President Jim Towey, and Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Cosden were in Philadelphia for the Papal Events this past weekend. AMU’s Director of Student Engagement and Operations, Martin Doman, and his band performed prior to Sunday’s Mass with Pope Francis. Martin’s band was selected as one of nine to perform on Sunday. The band includes two AMU alums, Ben Houde and Rich Dittus.

AMU Alumna Receives American Mathematical Society Scholarship

Elise McMahon (AMU Class of 2015) received a highly coveted scholarship from the American Mathematical Society to participate in the Math in Moscow program. The AMS awards only five scholarships given each semester; funding is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
According to the AMS website, “the Math in Moscow program was created in 2001 to provide foreign students (primarily from the U.S., Canada and Europe) with a semester-long, mathematically intensive program of study in the Russian tradition. The main feature of the Russian tradition of teaching mathematics has always been the development of a creative approach to studying mathematics from the outset, the emphasis being on problem solving rather than memorizing theorems. Indeed, discovering mathematics under the guidance of an experienced teacher is a central principle of the program and so the Math in Moscow program emphasizes in-depth understanding of carefully selected material rather than broad surveys of large quantities of material.”
Elise, who won the AMU Mathematics Departmental Award at this year’s commencement exercises, had spent her last two summers doing research at the University of Texas at Tyler and at California State University at San Bernardino. She also spent a semester in the Budapest Mathematics Institute. She will be studying at the Independent University of Moscow (IUM) this fall.
More information on the AMS Math in Moscow Scholarship program can be found here.

Ave Maria University Receives Approval to Offer State Teaching Licenses

Ave Maria University has been awarded status as an “Initial Teacher Preparation Program” by the State of Florida’s Department of Education. This designation means that students who graduate with an Education Major from Ave Maria University automatically qualify for a Florida professional teaching license. AMU joins 48 other Florida colleges and universities authorized to provide initial teacher preparation in Florida. State approval required submission of an extensive report and artifacts documenting that AMU’s program presents required core content, prepares and tracks teacher-candidates in the required skills and dispositions expected of teachers, has an extensive program evaluation and continual improvement process in place, and has the ability to collect and document evidence for continued approval by the state. There are more than 700 program data points that the program must account for. A special database is used to track collect and evaluate artifacts as well as teacher-candidate performance on more than a hundred individual metrics.

“This was a huge process, taking many months of work” remarked education department chair Dr. Dan Guernsey, “I am grateful to the members of the department for their assistance as well as to Dr. Michael Dauphinais and President Towey for making sure we had the resources to move through this intense process at the greatest possible speed.”

The AMU Education Department has formed its core philosophy so as to be deeply in the Catholic tradition. While examining the field of education using methodologies and practices proper to the discipline, the program maintains a deliberate and explicit foundation in the philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic tradition, especially its understandings related to the nature and dignity of the human person, the nature of Truth, and the unity of all knowledge as ultimately rooted in the order of God and creation. Holding that education is more than simply preparing K-12 students for college and career, Ave Maria’s teacher candidates are formed to attend to authentic human liberation and orient their students to transcendental realities related to truth, beauty and goodness. The Ave Maria University Educational program provides a strong undergraduate preparation in the liberal arts and a strong Catholic worldview, providing for a powerful pedagogical punch. Our teacher candidates spend time thinking deeply about the liberal arts tradition in general and about the nature and purpose of Catholic education in particular.

The program anticipates continued growth now that teacher licensure is awarded upon graduation. Those who wish to return to a home state with a Florida license are usually able to transition to the new state’s license under reciprocity agreements between states. Formal entry into the major is only possible for rising juniors who have substantially completed their core liberal arts studies, maintained a sufficient GPA, passed the first of three required Florida Teacher Certification exams, and who have met other requirements typically begun in the spring of the sophomore year.

AMU Student Wins Second Place in National Organ Competition

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.