This Wednesday is Constitution Day. On September 17th, 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, best summed up the significance of the day when he wrote in the first Federalist Paper, “It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, to decide by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”
To mark Constitution Day a panel of Ave Maria faculty (Dr. Seana Sugrue, Politics; Dr. Michael Breidenbach, History; Dr. John Colman, Politics) will discuss the following question:
“The U.S. Constitution: Christian or Secular?”
The colloquium will discuss the nature of the U.S. Constitution as a Christian or secular document. The framers of the Constitution were in many respects products of the Enlightenment and its complex understanding of religion. In some ways the Constitution reflects that complexity as evidenced by the continuing debates over the First Amendment. Some claim that the Constitution is based on Christian values while others suggest that it is a secular document aimed at reducing religion’s influence on political life. Is the Constitution Christian or is it informed by a strictly secular understanding of government and society? Can it be argued that the uniqueness of the Constitution is that it is both secular and Christian? Is such a thing possible?
The Colloquium will be held in the Demetree Auditorium in the Henkels Academic Building at 5 p.m.
The Constitution (http://www.constitution.org/cons/constitu.htm)
Federalist Papers, No. 10 (http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm)
Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm)
John Courtney Murray, We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition (London: Sheed and Ward, 1960), chapter 2 (http://www.library.georgetown.edu/woodstock/Murray/whtt_c2_1954d) and 3 (http://www.library.georgetown.edu/woodstock/Murray/whtt_c3_). The full book is available at http://www.library.georgetown.edu/woodstock/Murray/whtt_index.
Ave Maria University continues its fight for religious liberty. AMU filed a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of a federal requirement to provide contraceptive coverage to employees beginning Nov. 1. The Fort Myers News-Press covered the re-opening of AMU's lawsuit. View the full article here.
Ave Maria University is beginning a new chapter in its alumni outreach by kicking off the “Drive for Five” initiative. Graduates of Ave Maria are invited to update their records with the Office of Alumni Relations through a brief online survey. Those who complete the survey by the deadline will have a chance to win one of three $100 Amazon gift cards.
Watch as Zachary Crockett, Coordinator of Career Services and Alumni Relations, highlights the purpose of the initiative, and learn about how you can contribute to the growth of the alumni association! Find out more by messaging firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survey can be found here.
Archbishop William Lori’s ringing defense of the right of religious liberty which he delivered in his Convocation address to a rapt Ave Maria University community gathered in a jam-packed ballroom this afternoon, capped a remarkable week of activities to start the new academic year.
What an honor to have him on our campus and with our students! And his timing could not have been more providential as Ave Maria is in discussions with our lawyers regarding our continued fight against the Obamacare mandate. Archbishop Lori praised our University’s efforts and pointed out what was at stake for the Church in this battle with the federal government. He warned of the dangers facing those in any Catholic organization who formally cooperate with a mandate so immoral, mean-spirited, and hostile to religious autonomy and Church teaching.
After his talk he met with honors students at a reception. His morning began with – you guessed it – Ave students.
He capped off his visit to Ave Maria University with a tour of the Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall , accompanying the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Michael Timmis, and me.
His visit came on a day special to him and special to us. Mother Teresa of Calcutta went home to God on this day in 1997, when our freshmen were learning how to walk (as they are now!). Today is a First Friday, just like then.
And now the Archbishop knows just how true it is that Ave Maria University’s devotion to, and identification with, this saintly woman are unmatched in academia.
There simply is no campus that honors her the way Ave Maria does, and when Archbishop Lori celebrated Mass at noon today to over 500 attendees, he had his dear friend in mind. In his capacity as secretary to James Cardinal Hickey in Washington, D.C. in the 1980’s, and as a young monsignor, he worked closely with Mother and her nuns as they opened numerous homes in the area, including a home for people with AIDS.
He told me this morning that when he and Mother were looking for such a home, he drove by one of the Archdiocesan properties that housed their Catholic Charities offices and some day care programming. The building had previously been used as an orphanage. The Archbishop recalled that Mother looked at the building, prayed, and then placed a blessed medal on the wall, and how he instantly realized that the Archdiocese wasn’t going to own that property for much longer!
What a joy to have Archbishop Lori with us and what a great way to start the academic year! Ave has its largest entering class ever – just under 400. The total enrollment of undergraduate students on our campus now exceeds 1,000 – also a milestone. The academic excellence of our new students continues to improve, too.
It is going to be another great year at Ave Maria University. I’ll try to post as regularly as I can.
Have a great weekend!
Blessed Mother Teresa – pray for us!
– President Jim Towey
Click here to view an archive of President Towey's blog posts.
Dr. Timothy McDonnell, Assistant Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at AMU has been named an American Prize choral conducting finalist for his work with Ave Maria University's choirs. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Please follow this link for the full release and to view all finalists.
The American Prize Facebook page
Ave Maria University is now on Snapchat! On July 30th, Ave Maria sent its inaugural “snap”, introducing a brand new way of connecting current and prospective students and giving others an inside look into life at AMU. Snapchat, a social media platform that allows users to connect through sending pictures and videos, is one of the most popular ways in which high school and college-age students communicate with their friends. The premise of Snapchat is simple. Users send a picture or video to a select person or group which is viewed by the recipient for a few seconds before the “snap” disappears.
Snapchat’s ease of use, massive user base, and private-feel makes it perfect for keeping in touch with friends. However, Snapchat is starting to be used by businesses to offer promotions and connect with their customer base on a more personable level. There is also a small group of colleges on Snapchat, using it as a means of connecting with their students and allowing for an intimate look at day-to-day life on campus.
Ave Maria University (avemariau on Snapchat) hopes to do just this. From setting up spontaneous contests and giveaways, to providing students a place to show their school pride, Snapchat will add a fresh and personally engaging part to being a student at Ave Maria. Snapchat is a very new way for us to help connect our current students, prospective students, and alumni. However, with hundreds of followers in just the first week, we are encouraged and excited about the social and creative possibilities that Snapchat offers! Please feel free to add us on Snapchat (avemariau) to see what we’re up to!
For more than two years, AMU has been fighting the Federal Government for an exemption to the Affordable Care Act mandate that requires employers provide free birth control to employees. The Supreme Court's decision to rule in favor of Hobby Lobby should only help the University in its lawsuit going forward.
See the a just a few of the media outlets that highlighted AMU as part of the June 30th Supreme Court decision below.
Fox 4 News
Naples Daily News
Fort Myers News-Press
Cardinal Newman Society
The Ave Herald
The following is a statement from Jim Towey, President of Ave Maria University, and former Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of the White House Office of Faith- based and Community Initiatives, in response to today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Hobby Lobby case:
Click here to view the release.
AMU President Jim Towey served as the guest speaker at the reception that followed the 25th anniversary Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Society of South Florida. The Mass was celebrated June 4 at St. Anthony Church by Archbishop Thomas Wenski. Click here to read more.
Ave Maria University President Jim Towey was recognized by the Florida State University Alumni Association's
VIRES magazine for his work in bringing to life AMU's Mother Teresa Project and Exhibition Hall. “We think this museum will reintroduce [Mother Teresa] to people and also inspire a new generation to follow in her footsteps,” said President Towey, who was recognized on the list of 100 Most Distinguished Graduates compiled by FSU's Alumni Association. Click here to read the full article.