Little things mean a lot, especially when a crisis is imminent.
Late last week, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on southwest Florida, tension was running high for many residents in Ave Maria, Florida, where I live with my wife and five children. The latest prediction models painted a bullseye on the town, 30 miles east of Naples. Irma would make landfall 35 miles straight south of us at Everglades City.
All week we had watched the “spaghetti models” fluctuate between a direct hit on Miami to Naples and every place in between. We were in between. And that’s an uncomfortable place to be when the biggest recorded Atlantic storm in history is headed your way.
We spent Wednesday putting up our hurricane shutters — large sheets of corrugated metal that attach to pre-installed screws that come standard with most homes in South Florida. Many of my neighbors were doing the same, even though Irma was at least four days away.
Classes were canceled at Ave Maria University this week.
But the students who stayed behind to weather Hurricane Irma are getting the education of a lifetime.
“I told our students they’d be better men and women by Monday,” University President Jim Towey said Wednesday.
The students and staff of the university, which was largely spared from hurricane damage, have been volunteering in droves to lend a hand in Immokalee, the nearby farming community which was not so fortunate.
On Wednesday, students filled van after van with water, sandwiches, fruit and bread and drove into Immokalee.
Some went to the soup kitchen operated by Guadalupe Social Services, but others drove straight into neighborhoods where residents are just returning from shelters to find spoiled food, flooded streets and few stores open.
Students joined President Towey on Monday as he began a year-long study of the Gospel of Matthew. Held in the lobby of John Paul II Hall, students gathered to focus on the birth and baptism of Jesus and the role of John the Baptist. Over the course of the school year, President Towey will to host regular sessions to further explore the Gospel.
Picture the city of Rome, where a 10th century basilica stands on a small island in the middle of the Tiber River. The Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island, founded by Otto III at the close of the first century, contains within its walls the relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle and St. Adalbert of Prague—both early Christian martyrs. At the close of the twentieth century, Pope John Paul II dedicated the basilica to the life and history of the New Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century. Now, resting besides the ancient relics, you can find memorials like the bible of Shahbaz Bhatti (1968-2011), the missal of Óscar Romero (1917-1980), and a letter written by Christian de Chergé (1937-1996).
With this image of old and new, united by a single theme that spans the centuries, Dr. Daniel Philpott launched into his Convocation Address, “What Persecuted Christians teach Us,” at Ave Maria University on September 1, 2017. In his address, Dr. Philpott, who is Professor of Politics at the University of Notre Dame and co-director of Under Caesar’s Sword, explained the various ways in which Christians around the world respond to persecution, drawing from their example a lesson for the students and faculty gathered to begin a new academic year.
AVE MARIA, Fla. — Ave Maria University announced this morning plans to add an artificial turf multi-purpose field to campus that will be home to the Gyrenes football, soccer and lacrosse teams.
The field will cost approximately $650,000 and will be constructed on top of where the current football field is located. The University expects to complete installation of the new field before the Gyrenes’ first home football game on Saturday, September 2, 2017.
“This is a significant announcement in the short history of our athletic department,” said Director of Athletics John Lamanna. “The new synthetic turf field will fill the needs of four sports. We are committed to excellence and growth in mind, body and spirit. The new field will enhance the student-athlete experience by providing excellent practice and game playing conditions and will help in attracting future students to Ave Maria University.”
Rainy season in Southwest Florida coincides with football and soccer seasons and afternoon storms often render the Gyrenes’ grass fields unusable.
“The artificial field will allow for perfect drainage and a consistent surface, both of which are nearly impossible on a grass field in Southwest Florida,” said second-year head football coach Joe Patterson. “The new field will have a transformative impact on the program, especially in regards to our practices and games.”
Ave Maria’s soccer teams and the women’s lacrosse team will also use the new artificial turf field. The field is expected to positively impact recruiting, increase player safety, and improve game time experiences.
Ave Maria’s athletic teams are members of The Sun Conference and compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Ave Maria football program begins a new chapter in 2017 as they will participate in their first season in the Sun Division of the Mid-South Conference.
The Athletic Department at Ave Maria has grown from six varsity level sports in 2008-09, to 16 varsity-level programs for the 2017-18 season, with over 40% of students competing on athletic teams. Visit Ave Maria’s Athletics website for schedules, team rosters and stories: http://www.avemariagyrenes.com.
Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning devoted to Mary the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.
The University was founded in 2003 and moved to its permanent campus in the fall of 2007. Ave Maria enrolled 1,102 students for the 2016-17 academic year, including 1,042 undergraduates, and offers 33 majors as well as graduate studies in Theology. Students from 45 states and 20 countries comprise a student body that is approximately 85% Catholic, 25% minority, and evenly-divided between men and women.
AMU’s state-of-the-art campus includes residence halls with a capacity for 1,300 students and rests on a tract of over 300 acres in Southwest Florida near Naples. For more information on Ave Maria University, visit https://www.avemaria.edu.
AVE MARIA, Fla. (May 6, 2017) — The families, friends and graduates of the class of 2017 at Ave Maria University celebrated the school’s 13th commencement with the largest graduating class in their history today. 232 graduates received their diplomas: 217 undergraduate degrees, 13 master’s degrees, and 2 doctorate degrees. The class of 2017 included the first graduates of Ave Maria’s nursing program.
The commencement speaker was Mr. Daniel D’Aniello who was recognized by Ave Maria University with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his exemplary life as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, philanthropist, and Catholic layman. Dan D’Aniello was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , raised by a single mother, and started working at the age of nine as a stock boy at his uncle’s produce market. He subsequently worked his way through college at Syracuse University where he graduated at the top of the Business School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the time of the Vietnam War, served on the U.S.S. Wasp, and had four major deployments during his time of service. Last year, D’Aniello received the Lone Sailor Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. D’Aniello placed his MBA from Harvard Business School in the service of successful stints at TWA, Pepsico, and Marriott International before co-founding The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset management firm, in 1987. Carlyle currently has offices in 20 countries spanning six continents and manages $169 billion of assets across its portfolio of funds.
Mr. D’Aniello encouraged the graduates to be strong persons of faith “Most all of you will be leaving this nurturing faith-based community to find your place in the world. And in this day and age, you’ll find that it’s not so easy being a person of faith in the dispassionate secular world we live in. As a graduate of Ave Maria University, however, you’ve not only received a top flight education in the field of your choice, but you’ve also received a strong faith-based formation. You not only can succeed professionally, but as importantly, if not more so, you are well-prepared to live your faith as an example to others.” He further exhorted the class of 2017 “If I leave you with one thought on this graduation day, it would be this: I hope you will find ways to turn your appreciation for what has been given to you into an inspiration toward helping others – including family and friends, your communities of faith and, of course, the poor in corporal needs and the poor in spirit. In the end, our personal relationships are the most important thing we have in this world, and none more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning devoted to Mary the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service. The University was founded in 2003 and moved to its permanent campus in the fall of 2007. Ave Maria enrolled 1,102 students for the 2016-17 academic year, including 1,042 undergraduates, and offers 33 majors as well as graduate studies in Theology. Students from 45 states and 20 countries comprise a student body that is approximately 85% Catholic, 25% minority, and evenly-divided between men and women. AMU’s state-of-the-art campus includes residence halls with a capacity for 1,300 students and rests on a tract of over 300 acres in Southwest Florida near Naples.
Virginia – Ave Maria University is recommended in the 2017-2018 edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, a publication of The Cardinal Newman Society that recommends 29 Catholic colleges, universities and higher education programs for excellence in faithful Catholic education.
With the release of the 2017-18 edition, The Cardinal Newman Society celebrates 10 years of connecting families with faithful Catholic education through the Guide. We also celebrate the strength and accomplishments of the recommended institutions over the last several years, despite the substantial challenges faced by most private colleges.
In seven years at Ave Maria University, undergrad enrollment climbed 75%. Recent expansions at the University include Catholic teacher formation and the Mother Teresa Project with the Missionaries of Charity to promote service.
“In the last 10 years, the institutions recommended in The Newman Guide have experienced remarkable success while remaining committed to a strong Catholic identity,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “The reputation of and appreciation for these faithful institutions is certainly growing in the Church, and they have become pillars of the New Evangelization in America.”
The late Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, who wrote the preface to the first Newman Guide 10 years ago, said it was the Newman Society’s “most important contribution to Catholic higher education ever.”
Since the first edition of The Newman Guide in 2007, the Newman Society has greatly expanded the profiles of the recommended colleges online at TheNewmanGuide.com, distributed more than 100,000 free copies of the companion magazine My Future, My Faith, and launched the innovative Recruit Me! program to introduce families to The Newman Guide colleges.
Founded in 1993, the mission of The Cardinal Newman Society is to promote and defend faithful Catholic education at all levels, including elementary, secondary and higher education. The Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization supported by individuals, businesses, and foundations.
As some students headed out of town for the mid-term break, others left the country to go and serve the poorest of the poor with Mother Teresa’s nuns in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Here they are at a dessert Mary and I hosted at our home the night before they departed.
March was filled with huge University events. Principal among them was the joint celebration of the Annunciation and our founder Tom Monaghan’s birthday. I had a lot of preparatory work to do so that meant early mornings in the office. As I worked at my desk the week before the big day, I looked out my window and saw this gorgeous sunrise above the Oratory, with the shining cross at its highest point.
The History Department hosted its third annual Undergraduate Mini Conference this weekend. At the event, junior history majors gave presentations laying out the groundwork and direction of what will become, next year, their senior thesis projects.
The conference on Saturday April 8th began with a keynote address from AMU Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Michael Breidenbach, on one of his research specialties, the role of Catholicism in the American founding. Dr. Breidenbach’s paper, “‘This Damnable Doctrine’: Lord Baltimore and Catholic Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,” both set the conference tone as one of serious academic inquiry and offered to the hopeful historians an example of historical research to which they can aspire.
Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, twelve juniors presented on topics as diverse as a history of medicine in the Middle Ages, the creation of the mythical gangster in the 20th century, diplomacy between the Confederate States of America and the Vatican, and Communism’s role in the decay of Russian mystical culture.
These presentations are projects stemming from the Historiography course (HIST 401), in which AMU history majors learn the philosophy of history and the methods and instruments used in the conduction of historical research. Next year, these research projects will be further developed into senior theses, which culminate in an oral presentation and defense. The Mini Conference affords the junior history majors valuable preparation in presenting on and fielding questions about their research.
Pauline Gilmore is an exemplary presence on Ave Maria’s campus. As a New York native, Pauline has spent her summers bringing her love for Christ to young adults by attending and working for Camp Veritas as a counselor. This summer, Pauline plans to set off on a missionary journey with Camp Veritas in the UK and is excited for the chance to truly encounter God’s children and tell them how loved they are.