Jim Towey to step down as president of Ave Maria University in 2020


October 8, 2018 Ave Maria, Florida Michael Timmis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University, announced that Jim Towey will be stepping down as president on June 30, 2020.  Towey began as AMU’s second president in July 2011.  Timmis also announced that in the summer of 2019 the Board would begin a national search for Towey’s successor.

Timmis praised Towey’s leadership and extolled the University’s many achievements during the last seven years.  “Jim Towey stabilized Ave Maria during a time of crisis, and ushered in an era of stability and growth,” Timmis said.  “Had it ever come to a vote the Board would have extended his term because he’s done such a great job, but Jim thought the time was right to step down when his contract ends, and transition leadership.”

Among the significant accomplishments of Towey’s presidency, Timmis cited:

  • Over 70% increase in total undergraduate enrollment (fall 2018 headcount is 1,071); the entering class prior to Towey’s appointment was 248 and this year’s was 413 (a record high)
  • $80 million raised from donors (none of whom attended AMU); Towey personally cultivated and stewarded over 20 seven-figure gifts
  • Successful completion of $60 million “Building on Faith” capital campaign
  • New $13 million multi-purpose Prince Building that is paid for and houses AMU’s nursing program and America’s only Mother Teresa Museum
  • An increase in the number of majors from 10 to 34
  • Successful 10-year reaccreditation through 2025
  • Official recognition as a Catholic university
  • Faculty-led revision of core curriculum that strengthened AMU’s liberal arts education, and the flourishing of the Honors Program instituted five years ago

Timmis also recognized the difficult but necessary steps Towey took to restructure AMU’s finances and improve campus life, particularly during the early years of his administration when the University faced numerous daunting challenges.  These included:

  • 2011 budget cut of $3.6 million in spending and the elimination of dozens of positions through an urgent streamlining initiative
  • Refinanced AMU’s $57 million debt in 2013 and earned an investment-grade credit rating and “stable outlook” from Standard & Poor’s
  • Sold or discontinued costly and unsustainable programs (Nicaragua campus, Institute for Pastoral Theology, and Foundation for the Arts) that had chronic deficits
  • Transferred ownership of the iconic Ave Maria town church and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy to the Diocese of Venice
  • Reinstituted open door inter-visitation in residence halls to allow more socializing among students without sacrificing Catholic values
  • Modernized campus security with new lighting, emergency alerts, and key card systems

Founder of the University and Chancellor Thomas S. Monaghan joined Timmis in commending Towey for his accomplishments.  “Building on the base that was established, Jim’s leadership took the University to the next level, and I am grateful,” Monaghan said.  “With the capital campaign and the Prince building completed, the curriculum expanded and with record enrollment, it seems like the right time for an orderly transition at the top.”

Towey thanked Timmis, Monaghan and AMU trustees for their unwavering support, and praised the members of the University community for joining him in what he described as “this work of grace that is Ave Maria University.”  Towey added, “This isn’t my university or even Tom’s university.  This is Our Lady’s University.  For the next 20 months I will do all I can to position the next president to raise AMU to new heights.”

Towey pointed to the burnishing of the Catholic identity of Ave Maria as among his most cherished and satisfying achievements.  He cited:

  • AMU’s successful fight in Federal Court against the Obama administration’s attack on religious liberty; AMU was the first organization to file a lawsuit after President Obama announced his controversial contraceptive services plan in February 2012
  • The Mother Teresa service project he founded with a $2 million grant that sends AMU students to her missions in India, Haiti, Mexico, Uganda and other countries, as well as to the poor in Immokalee and care facilities for the elderly in Naples
  • The 6 consecutive years he accompanied 12 AMU students on a mission trip to Calcutta (his wife Mary led trips to Port au Prince, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico)
  • The 24/7 exposition of the Eucharist he instituted four years ago, last year’s opening of the 100-seat campus chapel with two daily Masses, and the Our Lady of Guadalupe garden and footbridge on the east side of the canal

Student Government Association President Mary Rexroat, a senior, thanked him and Mrs. Towey for their service and good example.  “They live their Catholic faith and vocation so beautifully and inspire students to want to imitate them,” she commented.  “I am glad we have them with us for a good while longer.”

Timmis expressed optimism when asked about AMU’s future.  “I am confident that we will identify the right person who can build on the strong foundation that Towey leaves as his legacy,” he added.

Ave Maria University established its permanent campus near Naples, FL in 2007, and offers its students excellent academics in an authentic Catholic environment with a focus on formative learning to grow the spirit, mind and body.  Ave Maria offers a strong liberal arts education with 34 majors, including programs in business, nursing, education, and the arts and sciences.  University enrollment consists of approximately 1,100 students from 45 states and 20 countries, and a student body that is approximately 85% Catholic, 25% minority, and evenly-divided between men and women.  Ave Maria’s state-of-the-art campus resides on 300 acres in Southwest Florida with the facilities to support all aspects of residency, faith and growth for the entire student body.  Tuition and room and board at the University ranks among the most affordable of its peer private schools and is well below the national average.

Ave Maria University Mission: 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.

For more information on Ave Maria University, visit https://www.avemaria.edu.

Saint Patrick’s Day Makes for an Extra Festive Battle of the Bands Competition


Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our SAB and SGA, the annual Battle of the Bands competition was extra festive! Sunset on the canal, live music, themed food, a selection of drinks, and Saint Patrick’s Day all made for an evening to remember. 

The crowd gathered to sing along, enjoy the food and drinks and find out which of the four student-bands would be named this year’s winner by the panel of AMU Staff judges. Using a point system of scoring, the judges listened to each song and gauged the audience’s responses.

Four bands playing four songs each made for a diverse and eclectic evening of fantastic music. This year’s bands and their set lists were:

Tom Monaband, this year’s Runner Up: 

Whose members are –

Daniel Zoumaya, Nicholas Cummins, Aaron Ockenfels, Casey Knox, Joe Schoenle, and Sean Hanley.

1. Joker & the Thief by Wolfmother

2. Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi

3. Don’t stop Believing by Journey

4. (Encore) Long time by Boston

The Upstate: 

Whose members are –

Francesco D’Agostino, Michael Davy, Daniel Zoumaya, Nick Cummons, and Joseph Blaso.

1. You Know It – Colony House

2. Am I Pretty – The Maine

3. Talk Too Much – COIN

4. All the Small Things – Blink 182

The Black Velvet Band:

Whose members are –

Jacob Kessler, Gabe Kessler, Luke Johanni, Luke Bisceglio, Michel Shahid, and Zack Johanni

1. Rocky Road To Dublin

2. Galway Girl

3. Star of The County Down 

4. Rorin Mary

And last, but certainly not least, taking the crowd by storm and being awarded as this year’s WINNING BAND,

(S)cool Kids:

Who’s members are –

Jon Babineau, Joe Free, Jon Larochelle, Carter Chell, Michaela Flynn

1. Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me – Lawrence

2. Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet

3. The Wolf – Mumford and Sons

4. Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert

 

Thanks to all of these great musicians for coming out to entertain us for another year of the Battle of the Bands competition!

Learn more about SAB and SGA events by visiting their webpages.

Grace Project Event Fosters Discussions on Female Friendship


At a recent Grace Project event,  Resident Director Amanda Morin and McKenzie Ligowski, wife of Resident Director Daniel Ligowski, shared their thoughts on female friendship. “If it wasn’t for the women I was with in nursing school, there’s no way I would have made it!” McKenzie exclaimed. She went on to talk about the temptation to “close off to the world when you fall in love,” but how maintaining your female friendships is important. Women “help you see a reflection of yourself,” she explained. “And they bring out the best in you!” Amanda, in agreement, shared: “The Lord sent me all these amazing girlfriends, and I spent a lot of time in college nourishing those relationships.”

The Grace Project brought a cozy evening of tea, biscotti and dialogue between women in the University community on the importance of cultivating strong female friendships

The Grace Project is a series sponsored by Student Life that offers undergraduate women on campus an opportunity to connect with and learn from female mentors in the University community.  While sipping on tea and snacking on biscotti, the students at the latest Grace Project event learned from McKenzie and Amanda about fostering deep female friendships during and after college, balancing relationships and priorities, and entrusting their dreams to the Lord while keeping a practical focus.   

On the topic of balancing female friendships while dating, both McKenzie and Amanda agreed that a romantic relationship should not take away from female friendships. But they also emphasized the importance of being realistic and setting clear boundaries with their friends.  According to McKenzie, “You have to make realistic expectations, and just be honest with them when you’re saying no.” Amanda added that it’s all about intentionality: “If you’re going to call them, do it. If you can’t, just be honest with your reasons.”

Amanda and McKenzie concluded the Grace Project event in answer to a question on being at peace in the present. “ Get to know yourself,” McKenzie urged. “You can’t be present if you don’t even know who you are!” Amanda followed up with  “God is in the present. Remember that. If you’re not there, you’re going to miss out.”

The Grace Project is just one of the over 250 events Student Life sponsors annually, including concerts, feasts, dances, talent shows, sports competitions and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the vibrant student culture at Ave Maria University, visit the website!

 

 

Club Spotlight: Biochemistry


With the Biochemistry Club, enthusiasm for science extends well beyond the classroom at Ave Maria University! In this interview, Lizzy Cox, AMU senior and Vice President of the Biochemistry Club, shares details on what this student organization is all about.

Q: What would you say is the Biochemistry Club’s mission?

Lizzy: The club’s goal is to expose students to novel biochemical discoveries, and to prepare them for future post-graduate endeavors in the biochemical sciences.

Q: How did you get involved?

Lizzy: I got involved when a friend convinced me to help lead the club. She told me that I would have a chance to help other students gain a greater and more practical understanding of biochemical studies that have an impact on human health.

Q: What sort of things do you do as a club?

Lizzy: Roughly once a month, we host journal article discussions on a new publication, and we provide talks on resume building, interview preparation, obtaining letters of recommendation, etc. Our Journal Club Meetings are normally led by both students and professors, and they lead to thought-provoking conversations that encourage critical thinking and practical application!

Q: Speaking of professors, tell us a little bit about your club advisor.

Lizzy: Dr. Diana West (Assistant Professor of Chemistry) is our advisor and she’s helped us by speaking at our events and reviewing our presentations for accuracy prior to the events.

Q: Scenario: I’m a freshman on the fence about majoring in Biochemistry. Why should I join the Biochem Club?

Lizzy: The club can help students learn more about ways they can use a degree in biochemistry. Perhaps it will foster a greater interest in this subject, and help them realize the many life-changing opportunities available in the field of biochemistry.

Q: I’m sold! How do I get involved?

Lizzy: If you would like to become involved with the biochemistry club, contact Rachel Flowers, Assistant Director of Student Life. Let her know you’re interested, and she’ll direct you from there.

Q: What has been the response to the club around campus?

Lizzy: We have a prominent presence among the biochemistry students here, and the chemistry, biochemistry, and biology professors frequently encourage students to attend our events and become involved in our club.

Q: Do you have any fun club events coming up?

Lizzy: We are hoping to have more Journal Club Discussions in the next few months, and we would like to host a talk on personal statements in the near future as well!

Lizzy Cox, Vice President of the Biochemistry Club, hails from Miami, Florida. She is a senior at Ave Maria University majoring in Biochemistry. She has plans to enter medical school after she graduates in May 2018.  

Accounting Major Student Spotlight


 

Why Study Accounting? Junior Adrienne Conley Wonders: Why not?

Going into Ave, I had no idea what I wanted to do post-graduation,” Junior Adrienne Conley reflects. “I knew one thing: the last thing I wanted to study was Accounting. How could I study such a boring field for three to four years?”

Fast forward three years, and Adrienne is confidently pursuing a degree in Accounting with a minor in Philosophy. What changed? “I actually took an accounting class and did a bit of reflection on the wide range of opportunities in the field,” she says.

Accounting can be the springboard that helps you get where you want to go.

Adrienne is a little bit hesitant to share her family background when it comes to the topic of accounting. “I am one of fourteen in my family who have studied, study, or plan to study accounting,” she declares. Both of her parents, six of her aunts and uncles, and two of her cousins are CPAs. “My oldest sister just passed her CPA exam this past December, and my other sister plans to sit for her first section this March,” Adrienne adds.

But wait! She has more to say: “Before you grab the nearest sharpie and permanently cross my name off the list of single people you know in fear that I come from the most boring family in the world, realize that a) only three of them do tax, and b) the rest of them do completely different jobs in the business field. Accounting was simply the springboard that gave them the qualifications to get where they wanted to go.”

Adrienne goes on to explain how accounting has application far beyond taxes. “From corporate to public, program management to data analytics, audit to valuation,” she says, “there are as many possibilities with an Accounting degree is there are personalities.” Accounting, she insists, is a springboard into the world of business.

Ave Maria University’s Accounting Program builds upon a liberal arts foundation, giving its students a deeper level of understanding that sets them apart.

One of the things that makes Ave Maria University’s Accounting Major unique is how it builds upon a Core Curriculum rooted in the liberal arts. “I think studying accounting at a school with a strong liberal arts tradition has made me a more competitive job candidate,” Adrienne says. “It helped me land my ‘dream’ internship doing audit for the General Accountability Office in Washington, D.C. this summer.”

Another thing unique about AMU’s Accounting Program is the level of interest professors take in the success of their students. “Beyond classroom instruction,” Adrienne shares, “the guidance from my accounting professors has helped me prepare for my future beyond graduation. Their advice regarding my resume, internship applications, and interview skills has been invaluable to my professional development.”

One of Adrienne’s favorite courses has been Cost Accounting (ACCT 300), where she learned to value inventory. “I dont plan on valuing inventory any time soon, but you can bet your last dollar that when the time comes, Ill be ready,” she exclaims.

Adrienne plans to pursue a Master’s in Accounting and sit for the CPA exam in Texas after earning her undergraduate degree, and she is sure her AMU education has prepared her well: “I am confident that my studies at Ave will give me the foundation necessary to pursue these goals.” Ave Maria University offers 34 majors, including 9 pre-professional programs. Interested in learning more about Accounting at AMU? Visit the Accounting Department’s homepage!

Dr. Rezende Offers Students Advice at “Professors are People, Too!”


“What is God’s will for you?” one student asked at the latest event in the series hosted by Student Life, “Professors are People, Too!”

“That’s the wrong question,” Dr. Ubiratan Rezende, Associate Professor of Politics and Business, replied. “We know what it is: to respond to the here and now. Jesus told us He would take care of things; we just don’t trust Him.” Going on, Dr. Rezende explained: “If God wants you to be one of those pivotal people who change the world, you will do it. But don’t try to control things, that’s my main advice.”

“Professors are People, Too!” is a recurring event designed for students to get to know their professors outside of the classroom. In a casual setting, AMU students feel free to ask questions on a range of topics. In turn, their professors respond openly, offering life tips, words of advice, insights from their experience, or simply expounding on their hobbies and pursuits.

Within the classroom, Dr. Rezende is known for touching on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from politics, economics, and theology, to international affairs, business and culture. It’s no wonder: his educational background includes a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, a JD from the University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and an MA in Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute, Washington, DC.

Outside the classroom, Dr. Rezende has experience working in both the private and public sectors. He has served as Senior Consultant for the World Bank and Secretary of the Treasury for the State Government of Santa Catarina Brazil. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. When reflecting on his work in the public and private sectors, he said: “There’s no difference. Wherever you are, you will see the human existence.”

He went on, urging the students gathered to consider a life of public service. “Serve the public,” he said, “because public service is disappearing.” Invoking the example of Jesus’ apostles, who followed Him with a simple “yes” and went on to transform the world, Dr. Rezende challenged AMU students to do the same. “Think of the twelve apostles, who didn’t know what they were doing,” he said. “Why not do something out of your comfort zone and be unprepared for it?”

In addition to academic and professional achievements, Dr. Rezende has succeeded in attaining many personal achievements. A Cavalry officer in Brazil, skilled in the guitar and Johnny Cash impressions, and an excellent cook are just a few of them. “I love to cook,” he shared. “I enrolled in a French cuisine academy. I wanted to be a chef. I want to understand the inner workings of things. Cooking is chemistry, because of the interaction between the heat and different chemical substances.” Going on, he said: “My wife loved it, because I had to come home and work on making different meals.”

Humbly responding to a student’s question about his favorite meal, Dr. Rezende answered: “My favorite meal is the one I receive every morning in the Church: the Eucharist.”

Dr. Rezende understands that many struggle with decisions and, as a man who has accomplished so much, he reassured the students wondering what to do with their lives. “I never knew what I wanted to do,” he expressed. “I still don’t. But if you have an inkling, do it.” Dr. Rezende couldn’t continue without describing his love for his wife and children: “I was able to do all that I did because of my wife’s support. My wife is the backbone of my life.”

In front of the many students listening eagerly to his words, Dr. Rezende shared from his experience and wisdom. “Professors are People, Too!” is an event that further builds the strong personal relationships possible between students and teachers at Ave Maria University. This academic year is Dr. Rezende’s final year of teaching at Ave Maria University. His impact and presence at the University will not easily be forgotten by the students, faculty, and staff who have known and learned from him. Dr. Rezende left off the event telling students that, although he doesn’t know what the next year will contain, he leaves it all in the hands of God with faith, hope and trust.

The Kazma Scholars Fund Awards Academic Excellence, Character, and Initiative


Ave Maria University is proud to announce a new opportunity for students to receive scholarship through the generosity of the Kazma Scholars Fund. 

AMU now offers a new scholarship opportunity for students in the academic top 20% of the incoming class who are demonstrated leaders and committed to serving others.

Through the generous donation of the Kazma Family Foundation, The Kazma Scholars Fund now provides up to twenty scholarships of $12,500 per year. The Kazma Scholarships are awarded to students of strong moral character, demonstrated initiative, and a commitment to the service of others, and who also establish high academic achievement. 

Ave Maria University is grateful to the benefactors who give so generously, providing students across the country with the opportunity to receive a quality Catholic education..

If you are a student who fits the criteria and wishes to benefit from this opportunity, apply for the Kazma Scholarship today! To learn more about the Kazma Scholars Fund and other  scholarship opportunities at Ave Maria University, visit https://www.avemaria.edu/future-students/scholarships/.

“The Ave Homes”: A Firm Foundation Built for Bright Futures


On a recent Saturday morning, a project becoming known as The Ave Homes brought a spot of brightness to a community still reeling in the aftermath of a tremendous natural disaster.

30 Habitat for Humanity homes in Immokalee, Florida, were dedicated at a ceremony on Saturday, January 20th. Three of these homes, The Ave Homes, were built in partnership with The Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria University by funds raised by Steve Auth, Wall Street Executive and friend of AMU.

Mr. Auth owns a seasonal home in Naples, Florida. After Hurricane Irma passed through the area in early September 2017, Mr. Auth was struck by the damage suffered in the town of Immokalee, which is located ten minutes from Ave Maria, Florida. He reached out to his friends and colleagues, quickly raising enough money to build new homes. Through a connection with a student at Ave Maria University, Mr. Auth partnered with The Mother Teresa Project and Habitat for Humanity to help coordinate the volunteer labor and logistics required to make this dream a reality.

Much of the work put into building The Ave Homes was done by AMU students. Athletic teams, faith households, RAs, and individual students signed up to volunteer their free time to frame, put up siding, and paint homes built to last. Mr. Auth and his wife, Evelyn, also devoted many of their weekends to work alongside the volunteers building homes. On January 20th, the donors, volunteers and homeowners all came together to celebrate the accomplishment. At the Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony, each family was presented with a housewarming basket, and the homes were blessed. AMU student volunteers also had an opportunity to tour the completed homes and meet the grateful families.

Immokalee Rebuilds, the collaborative project between Mr. Auth, Habitat for Humanity, and Ave Maria University, has already begun construction on a fourth home. The project’s operating motto echos the words of Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Two AMU student volunteers (in the official bright blue Immokalee Rebuild t-shirts) stand for a group picture with Steve Auth, at center, the Wall Street Executive who funded The Ave Homes project, and the new residents.

 

Join the March for Life Rally


The March for Life Rally will take place in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 19th. Join us, from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM EST at the National Mall. The March for Life will begin at 1:00 PM EST. Ave Maria University students, alumni, family and friends will be meeting up at the Rally at 11:30 AM EST at the corner of 14th and Constitution. Keep an eye out for the Ave Maria University banners and our new blue and green striped winter hats. We would love to have you March with Ave. Immediately following the March for Life, alumni and friends will head to The Dubliner  (4 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001) for fellowship and celebration.

For additional information, contact Sophia Mick at sophia.mick@avemaria.edu or (760) 908-2414.

If you are unable to join us in Washington D.C., show your support of Ave Maria’s ProLife initiatives by giving a gift, click here to Donate Now.

Additional Information:

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADOPTION IS THE ANSWER                                                                                    A MARCH FOR LIFE STORY

 

Fr. Matthew Lamb’s Funeral Information


Fr. Matthew Lamb’s funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday at 10am in the Ave Maria Parish Church. 60-90 minutes prior to the start of the Mass the casket will be present in the Church for those who wish to pray with Father’s mortal remains or say a final farewell.

Classes are officially in session on Wednesday, but anyone who wishes to attend the funeral has permission to do so. The expectation for both students and faculty is that those who wish to attend the funeral will attend (or hold) as much class as possible prior to the funeral and return to class as soon as possible after it has ended.

Our beloved priest and graduate theology professor, Fr. Matthew Lamb passed away at 3am on Friday, the 12th of January. He passed after a rapid decline due to complications from blood clotting in his lungs and underlying pulmonary fibrosis. He was well-informed about the gravity of his situation, had received Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion several times, and spoke peacefully and openly about his desire to meet Jesus.