Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus Dan Lipinski to speak at 15th Ave Maria University Commencement on May 4, 2019

AVE MARIA, Fla. (March 6, 2019) — Ave Maria University announced today that eight-term Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) will be its commencement speaker at this year’s graduation exercises.  The University also announced that it will confer an honorary degree on Dr. Lou Argenta, professor and chairman emeritus, department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in recognition of his exemplary life as professor, craniofacial surgeon, inventor, and Catholic layman.  

Congressman Lipinski represents constituents of the southwest side of Chicago, southwestern Cook County, and portions of northeastern Will County.  One of just a dozen trained engineers in Congress, Lipinski holds degrees from Northwestern University, Stanford, and Duke University (a Ph.D. in political science from the latter).  He also had short stints as a professor at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee. 

“The Class of 2019 will appreciate as their commencement speaker a man with the strength of his convictions who fearlessly lives out his Catholic faith in the public square,” AMU President Jim Towey said.  “Congressman Lipinski’s voting record on life, religious liberties, and other issues reflects often lonely, always principled, positions, and we are thrilled to have him and his wife Judy on our campus this May.”

Dr. Argenta is internationally renowned as a craniofacial surgeon, as well as for pioneering techniques in the treatment of wounds and burns that have helped millions all over the world.  Dr. Argenta has been an Ave Maria University trustee since 2015 and chairs the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee.  He and his wife Ginger have eight children, including daughters Sara (Class of 2015) and Claire (Class of 2019). 

“Congressman Lipinski and Dr. Argenta see their vocations in politics and medicine, respectively, as opportunities to put their faith into practice and serve the Church,” Towey said.  “These gentlemen are wonderfully aligned with Ave Maria’s identity and mission, and demonstrate the power of the Catholic lay vocation in striving to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place through their courageous witness.”

Ave Maria University’s commencement takes place on May 4, 2019 at 10AM in the Tom Golisano Field House.  Approximately 250 men and women are expected to receive diplomas at this year’s ceremony.   These exercises will be the institution’s 15th graduation overall and 12th on its permanent campus.  Recent commencement speakers have included U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; Carlyle Group Co-founder, Dan D’Aniello; U.S. Senator Rick Scott; Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington; President of the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. Arthur Brooks; and His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and AMU trustee. 

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos To Address Graduates At 2018 Commencement

AVE MARIA, Fla. (January 11, 2018) — Ave Maria University announced today that the Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, will be commencement speaker at this year’s graduation exercises

“It is a great privilege to have America’s top education official address the Class of 2018, and our entire campus community looks forward to welcoming her with joy in May,” said Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University. “Secretary DeVos is a passionate advocate for children in America and their right to a quality education, and the common-sense initiatives she has undertaken in her first year overseeing higher education in America merit our gratitude,” he added. President of the AMU Student Government Association, Stephen Akers, echoed Towey’s enthusiasm. “Having Secretary DeVos on our campus is a true honor for our graduates and Ave Maria’s students will receive her with all of the excitement and gratitude she so richly deserves,” he commented.

Chairman of the Ave Maria University Board of Trustees Michael Timmis believes Secretary DeVos’ choice of the University buttresses the campus’ growing national profile, and praised her selection. “Secretary DeVos recognizes the rights and importance of faith-based institutions of higher education in America,” he stated. “Her message will surely resonate with our graduates on their special day.”

Ave Maria University’s commencement takes place on May 5, 2018 at 10AM in the Tom Golisano Field House. Approximately 250 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to receive degrees at this year’s ceremony, the 11th on the University’s permanent campus, and 14th overall. Past commencement speakers have included former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; entrepreneur Dan D’Aniello; Florida Governor Rick Scott; The Wall Street Journal columnist and author Peggy Noonan; Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington; President of the American Enterprise Institute Dr. Arthur Brooks; and His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

Ave Maria University is a Catholic liberal arts college situated in Southwest Florida with approximately 1,100 students from 45 states and 24 countries, and offers concentrations of study in 34 majors as well as both a Master and Doctoral program in theology. AMU’s average class size of 20, 85% Ph.D. instruction, net out-of-pocket costs for tuition, fees, room and board of about $20,000, and low average student debt for graduates, make the University one of the best value propositions in all of academia. Recently ranked as one of the top 25 colleges in the South and the third best in Florida by the Washington, D.C.-based research firm, Ave Maria University has the nation’s only Mother Teresa of Calcutta project and museum in her honor. This academic year scores of AMU students will travel on mission trips to India, Uganda, Haiti, Mexico, France and the Dominican Republic, as well as serve the poor in the nearby farmworker community of Immokalee.

CONTACT: Brian Couch; Vice President of Advancement; (239) 280-1695;

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