Ave Maria University

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Ave Maria University
City: Ave Maria, Florida
Type: Private
Colors: blue, gold
Mascot: Jax the Bulldog[1]
Website: http://www.avemaria.edu/

Ave Maria University is the first new Catholic university founded in the United States in 50 years.[2] Ave Maria University is located northeast of Naples, Florida. In spring 2007 it graduated 74 students. Enrollment doubled from an average of 150 students to per grade to 300 students in the incoming freshman class of 2008-2009, based on aggressive marketing and generous scholarships.[3] The school has also introduced a club-level football program in addition to three varsity level sports each for men and women. By 2012, its sports programs had grown to many men's and women's teams.

The mainstream media have criticized the college, mostly because an entirely new conservative Catholic community is being developed around it. The ACLU, for example, criticized the possibility that there may be restrictions on what is sold in the new community.[4] In response the founder of the school, Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, denied that there would be restrictions on goods and cable shows available in the town.[5]

This university was founded by donations of at least $220 million from Mr. Monaghan's Ave Maria Foundation and 750 acres from Barron Collier Cos., a real estate and agricultural firm.[6] A joint venture between Ave Maria Foundation and Barron Collier Cos. is developing 5,000 acres around the university for the public, with earnings from the Foundation's share of the development being allocated towards building an endowment for the university.[6]


  1. Ave Maria news
  2. There was at least one other Catholic college founded in the last 40 years, Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis. It closed in 1985.[1]
  3. Ave Maria sees enrollment jump
  4. MSNBC
  5. http://www.avemaria.com/news/default.asp?inc=NDN03032006
  6. 6.0 6.1 Foundation