Ave Maria University

  • Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria, FL

  • Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria, FL

  • Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria, FL

  • Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria, FL

  • Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria, FL




Catholic Faculty


Catholic Students


On-campus students in single-sex dorms


Ave Maria University (AMU) is a vibrant Catholic university located in southwest Florida that was founded in 2003 as a direct response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.

The University is named after Mary, the Mother of God, and draws its inspiration from Pope St. John Paul II and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“Ave Maria’s Catholic identity animates and integrates every part of life on campus from academics to student activities and service opportunities,” said Roger Nutt, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

AMU has established a national reputation for its strong Catholic identity, a liberal arts curriculum with a variety of majors, and a culture of service to those in need within the community and around the world.

Built from the ground up on a tract of farmland by Tom Monaghan, former owner of Domino’s Pizza, AMU moved to its permanent site in 2007, adjacent to the town of Ave Maria and approximately 25 miles east of Naples, Florida.

AMU now has more than 1,100 students, most of them Catholic. Students come from 45 states and 29 countries, with over 50 percent of the students hailing from outside the state of Florida. The University recently expanded its academic offerings to include 34 undergraduate majors. It has many students who participate in NAIA Division II athletics on 16 different teams.

In February 2011, AMU welcomed its second president H. James Towey, who had been a close collaborator and friend of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, president of St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania, and a federal government official responsible for grants to faith-based programs. President Towey has announced his resignation at the end of the school year in 2020, and a search is underway for his successor.

The University is governed by a 24-member board of trustees consisting of both laity and clergy, all of whom must be Catholic. Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, is an ex officio board member. He officially recognized AMU as Catholic in 2011.

Catholicism is exhibited throughout the University’s architecture, art, and curriculum. The centrality of the parish church and the availability of the Sacraments highlight the school’s focus. Beautiful religious art is found throughout the 210,000-volume Canizaro Library.

The Mother Teresa Project Exhibition Hall offers students, tourists, pilgrims, and area residents the opportunity to learn more about “the saint of the gutters.” Items for public viewing include handwritten letters by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, a crucifix from her own Rosary, photographs, publications from her state funeral in India and beatification ceremony  at the Vatican, and other items.


Both students and faculty speak enthusiastically of the academically challenging coursework at Ave Maria. The University has a robust Honors Program and also offers many forms of academic support.

Fifty-six of the 128 undergraduate credits required for graduation must be within the core curriculum. All students take 14 core courses, including two in philosophy and three in theology, as well as courses in math, western civilization and culture, politics, composition, foreign language, and the natural sciences.

The University offers 34 undergraduate majors, with programs in the humanities, the sciences (e.g., marine biology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, exercise physiology, environmental science, and others), psychology, music, communications, nursing, business, and education. The most popular majors are biology, exercise physiology, biochemistry, communications, business, psychology, and theology.

All of the theology faculty take the Oath of Fidelity and have the mandatum from the local bishop. In addition to its undergraduate program, Ave Maria offers faithful M.A. and Ph.D. programs in theology.

Honors students can attend lectures integrating Catholic theology with particular disciplines as a series of panels including faculty from various departments, titled “Honors Integrated Colloquia.” All students can also take advantage of study abroad opportunities in Rome and London.


On campus the new 100-seat Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel offers daily Mass in the morning and evening along with multiple opportunities for confession. Praise and worship is held every Wednesday evening, and the chapel is being used for retreats, holy hours, and other spiritual events.

Ave Maria Catholic Church, which was originally part of the University, is now the parish church for the local community. Mass at the parish is offered three times daily, along with a vigil mass on Saturday and four Mass times on Sunday, which includes an Extraordinary Form Mass as well as an evening mass with student-led contemporary music. There are also multiple opportunities for confession offered throughout the week.

Fr. Rick Martignetti, the new director of campus ministry at Ave Maria University, shared how students have “numerous opportunities for service, prayer, and fellowship which build character and deepen their relationship with Jesus.”

Ave Maria students describe a strong spiritual life on campus, which includes households where more than 200 students strive to support each in prayer and service. There are also student-led clubs that include Apologetics Club, Mission Outreach Ministry Team, and Youth Ministry Outreach. Students maintain perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and a daily Rosary walk. There are a variety of retreats offered throughout the year for the student body that include a silent retreat, outdoor retreat, vocational retreat, and two larger co-ed retreats.

There are currently more than 40 men and women who have attended AMU that are now discerning the priesthood or religious life, and 12 alumni are now ordained priests.


Married students, students over 23 years of age, and undergraduate seniors can apply to live in off-campus University housing. All other undergraduate students are required to live on campus. Residence halls are separated by gender, but students may visit the rooms of the opposite sex — with registration upon entering the residence hall and doors propped fully open — Thursday through Sunday evenings from 6:00 pm until midnight. In common areas, hours for visiting are Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

AMU “seek[s] to promote true freedom in Christian behavior,” according to the Residence Life Mission Statement. Students are encouraged to dress in a way that “promotes the virtue of chastity and encourages of students a mature exercise of free will in pursuit of this virtue.” The University sponsors discussions and classes to promote Christian virtue and teach Theology of the Body.

According to the University, the policies, procedures, and mission of Residence Life aim to strengthen the campus community and to foster genuine and lasting friendship among the students at AMU.

Alcohol is allowed with limitations for those of drinking age, and there is no campus curfew. Those who violate code of conduct policies are sanctioned with community hours and/or fines, plus educational training, mentorship, and counseling for repeat violations.

The town of Ave Maria provides a number of convenient stores and services including a large grocery store, dental office, chiropractor, gas station, fire station, several restaurants, and a pub. The nearest hospital  is approximately 20 miles northwest of the campus, although there is a local, full-service clinic available in town.

Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers is approximately 45 minutes away. Off-campus employment is limited, but opportunities for work in town are growing.

Ave Maria is located in Southwest Florida, 30 miles from beaches in Naples, and has a tropical climate, where the average high temperature is above 80 degrees for nine months of the year.


More than 60 student clubs, organizations, ministries, outreach efforts, and households offer an abundance of activities that include groups that foster spiritual development (such as the Apologetics club and the Legion of Mary) and academic clubs (such as debate, biology, and accounting).

The University’s 16 varsity teams compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in baseball, basketball, cheerleading/dance, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and women’s lacrosse. The football program is also a member of both the Sun Conference and the Mid-South Conference. Students can participate in a variety of intramural sports and clubs, including men’s and women’s rugby, frisbee, men’s lacrosse, and equestrian.

More than 60 percent of AMU students participate in some form of local service each year. In 2013 the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order Saint Mother Teresa founded in Calcutta, granted the University official permission to establish the “Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria University,” the first and only of its kind in the world. This program of study and service is designed to honor Mother Teresa and produce graduates who will continue to live out Mother Teresa’s compassion. The nearby migrant farming community of Immokalee is one of the poorest regions in the country and affords students numerous opportunities for service, including a food and clothing bank, soup kitchen, Christmas toy and shoe collection, Habitat for Humanity, and youth ministry.

Students also have opportunities to serve on mission trips with sisters from the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, Uganda, Brazil, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala City, Mexico City, the District of Columbia, and New York City.

Many Saturdays, students travel to Naples and Fort Myers to pray and minister outside abortion businesses. Students for Life is the most popular club on campus, and more than 200 students attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., each year.

Bottom Line

Ave Maria University has built a reputation on strong Catholic, liberal arts education devoted to Mary the Mother of God and inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Continuing to grow at a rapid pace that is matched by the growth of the surrounding community—including the European-style town with education, faith, and art at its center—the University is maturing and having an important impact in the Church and society.

The University today enjoys a close-knit community in a small campus town, where it is common to run into professors at the smoothie shop or the grocery store.

When you take into account the unswerving promotion of Catholic values, the strong core curriculum, and the presence of an impressive and faithful faculty, Ave Maria stands as an exciting option available to Catholics today.

“They’ve raised something up for the glory of God, and the good of students,” says President Towey of his predecessors. “Ave Maria is a prototype of what Catholic education in the 21st century can be.”

Questions & Answers

Each year, the Newman Society asks the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to answer the following questions. Below you will find the responses that we received directly from Ave Maria University.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Ave Maria University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees.

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Ave Maria graduates have enjoyed successful placement into graduate schools and professional schools.  It has placed students into medical, dental, and veterinary schools, other professional programs in the health sciences, education, business, and law, as well as many graduate programs in the sciences, mathematics, and the humanities both nationally and internationally.

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

Newsweek Magazine named Ave Maria University the 16th most desirable Rural School in America.

Ave Maria University was ranked as a USA Today Top 10 Florida University.

WalletHub, a social network known for personal finance services and its national research reports, announced the results of its comprehensive analysis of 973 public and private colleges and universities in America and ranked Ave Maria University #106. AMU was ranked the top Catholic college or university in all of the South, and 21st overall.

In the state of Florida, Ave Maria was ranked the third best of the 26 it ranked, behind only the University of Florida and the University of Miami, and ahead of Florida State University, the University of South Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and all of the other private institutions in Florida it researched. WalletHub’s methodology examined seven key dimensions: Cost and Financing; student selectivity; campus experience; faculty resources; educational outcomes; campus safety; and career outcomes.

What is the median SAT and ACT of your incoming class? (Note that some colleges may not require one or both scores from all students) 

SAT: 1158

ACT: 24

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Ave Maria University has a number of undergraduate faculty that have distinguished themselves in their fields. Dr. Steven Long, theology, has published widely in the ethics and metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dr. Travis Curtright, literature, has published books and articles on St. Thomas More and Shakespeare, and is the editor of a leading Renaissance journal. Dr. Peter Whalen is Ungarino Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Fr. Guy Mansini, OSB, is Seckler Chair of Fundamental Theology. Dr. Tony Barbosa, chair of chemistry and physics, and Dr. James Vranish are pursuing a grant-funded project on Alzheimer’s research.

Additional Faculty information, clarification or description (optional):

AMU’s faculty are united in the common pursuit of truth, under the influence of the Catholic tradition. The faculty hold degrees from institutions with Catholic and secular prestige: Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, Notre Dame, University of Chicago, Princeton, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of California, Berkeley, University of Toronto, Fordham, Stanford, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Southern Methodist University, University of Edinburgh, Northwestern, Columbia, and MIT. Faculty members also hold degrees from other schools in The Newman Guide: Catholic University of America, University of Dallas, Franciscan University, and Thomas Aquinas College. AMU professors are deeply rooted in Catholic wisdom and well situated to prepare ambitious students for success in the competitive market for graduate and professional schools. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Math, Nursing, Education, and Business faculty also lead students in advanced speculative and pre-professional research.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

All AMU students are required to take twelve credits in Catholic theology as part of the core curriculum. The core theology courses are Sacred Scripture, Sacred Doctrine, and a choice between Moral Theology: Living in Christ, Catholic Bioethics, and Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Life. Sacred Scripture introduces students to the central theological themes of the Bible and to the grand narrative of Israel, Jesus Christ and His Church. Scripture is read as a unified book of divine revelation within the context of the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Sacred Doctrine builds upon this biblical foundation and instructs students in the overall beauty and order of the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church. The Sacred Doctrine course is organized around the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. After this foundation, students choose between three courses that each synthesize the knowledge they have gained in their coursework in a way that is directly applicable to students’ future personal and professional vocations. Living in Christ investigates the moral and theological virtues and the ways Christians are conformed to Christ in their lives. Catholic Bioethics teaches students, especially those pursing nursing or health care professions, to understand and apply philosophical, theological and scientific resources to the bio-medical arena in order to make sound moral judgments and defend the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Life focuses on the key principles of Catholic social teaching on the economy through a close examination of papal encyclicals and major works on ethics by economists.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

AMU’s undergraduate curriculum provides an optimal balance between Catholic informed and inspired general knowledge and advanced, specialized knowledge that is sought in the majors. Within the core curriculum, students are required to take eight credits of philosophy and twelve credits of theology for a total of twenty credits. Students see the content of Church teaching, the Scripture, the Tradition as well as the deeper sense of meaning and purpose that is disclosed by Christian revelation and discernible by human reason. Catholic theology is also deeply integrated into courses across the curriculum. In a two-semester interdisciplinary freshman course entitled Western Civilization and Culture, students are presented with the enduring impact of the Catholic faith on the history, literature, and philosophical tradition of Western Civilization, as well as the Church’s response to modernity.

Additional Theology information, clarification or description (optional):

The core courses together invite each undergraduate to contemplate the Triune God who is the origin and goal of creation and redemption. AMU is proud of its M.A. and Ph.D. programs in theology. The graduate programs offer undergraduate students with an opportunity to study with an extensive number of renowned theologians. The graduate theology faculty also teach core theology courses as well as courses in the theology major. The Department of Theology also sponsors a major conference each spring that gathers many theologians from across the United States and Europe.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

All students at Ave Maria University are required to complete an integrated sequence of courses. The required courses cover the disciplines of composition, history, politics, philosophy and theology. Together, these courses provide an immersion in the foundational writings, events and principles of Western Civilization and the Catholic tradition, with their distinctive view of the world, the human person and God.

Students take a course in composition during their first year at AMU. The course is an intensive, rhetorically based seminar in reading and writing that prepares students to understand communication around them and become clearer, more resourceful, and more flexible writers.

Students also take an interdisciplinary two-semester course, Western Civilization and Culture I and II. The course integrates literature, history, and philosophy into a study of the West’s patrimony and legacy that have a profound impact on Catholics living in the twenty-first century. Students are introduced to the major thinkers, poets, and artists of our civilization, including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Ovid, Vergil, Augustine, Dante, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Shakespeare, Descartes, Voltaire, Goethe, Renoir, Kafka, Nietzsche, Eliot, and Pope John Paul II. The first semester introduces students to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome before considering the entrance of Christianity and the development of Christendom through the Middle Ages and its disintegration during the Reformation. The second semester examines the emergence of modern science and philosophy, the rise of the nation state, the development of modern literature and the arts, and the Church’s response to modernity.

In politics, students take American Civilization. This course traces the historical development of the U.S. from its colonial origins, the founding period and the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the rise of progressivism, the world wars, to contemporary challenges. The course introduces students to the distinctive principles at work in the American experiment, including federalism, states’ rights, representative democracy and the role of religion.

In philosophy, students take Nature and Person, and Ethics. Open to the light of the Catholic Faith, these courses introduce students to what can be known about man and God by natural reason. Students study significant authors and writings of the Western philosophical tradition, Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas. Students also encounter modern challenges to classical wisdom in Descartes, Kant, Mill and contemporary philosophers.

In theology, students take Sacred Scripture, Sacred Doctrine, and Moral Theology: Living in Christ. These courses introduce students to the richness of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and passed down through His Church.

As part of the core requirements at AMU, students must complete requirements in the areas of mathematics, the natural sciences and foreign languages. These areas form an integral part of the University’s approach to the liberal arts.

Mathematics: Students must complete one mathematics course in finite math, functions, or calculus.

Natural Sciences: Students must complete two courses in biology, chemistry or physics. All core courses in the natural sciences require an extensive laboratory component. The University believes that students best learn science through the combination of lecture and laboratory experience. They not only learn what science teaches; they actually do science. AMU holds that such scientific investigation is essential to a proper baccalaureate formation. The natural sciences at AMU open themselves up to the light of revelation especially in the areas of ethical questions in the biological sciences.

Foreign Languages: Students must complete at least eight credits in a foreign language. They are able to choose between Latin, Classics, Greek, and several modern languages. Some majors require Latin as a pre-requisite.

Please see the academic catalogue for details.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

To fulfill the math requirement, students may select either College Algebra, Finite Mathematics, Functions, or Calculus I.

To fulfill the foreign language requirement, students may select two semesters of either French, German, Greek, Spanish, Italian, or Latin.

To fulfill the science requirement, students may select two semesters of Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, or Physics.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

128 credits, approximately 44% or 56 credits are core related

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

Sacred Scripture, Sacred Doctrine, Moral Theology, Nature and Person, Ethics, and a choice of either Living in Christ, Catholic Bioethics, or Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Life are the theology and philosophy courses that are required as a part of the core curriculum. In addition, a variety of theology electives including Theology of the Body, Advanced Scripture, Mary—Mother of God, and a course on C.S. Lewis are offered.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


Additional Core Curriculum information, clarification or description (optional):

A distinctive feature of the curriculum at Ave Maria University is that courses are four credits. Full-time students thus focus on four courses, rather than five, per semester. This allows the courses to provide rather in-depth introductions to the areas of study due to the extra class times per week. This also means that the three required courses in theology and two required courses in philosophy compose twenty credits, or what would be the equivalent of approximately seven three-credit courses at other schools. The four-credit format allows a two-course sequence to provide a substantial introduction to a core discipline.

List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

MAJORS: Accounting (B.A.); American Studies (B.A.); Biochemistry (B.A.); Biology (B.A.); Biology (B.S.); Business Administration (B.A.); Catholic Studies (B.A.); Chemistry (B.S.); Classics & Early Christian Literature (B.A.); Communications (B.A.); Economics (B.A.); Elementary Education (B.A.); Environmental Science (B.A.); Exercise Physiology (B.S.); Finance (B.A.); Global Affairs & International Business (B.A.); Greek (B.A.); Health Science (B.A.); Healthcare Management (B.A.); History(B.A.); Humanities & Liberal Studies (B.A.); Literature (B.A.); Managerial Economics & Strategic Analysis (B.A.); Marine Biology (B.S.); Marketing (B.A.); Mathematics (B.A.); Music (B.A.); Nursing (B.S.N.), Philosophy (B.A.); Physics (B.A.); Political Economy & Government (B.A.); Politics (B.A.); Psychology (B.A.); Theology (B.A.)

MINORS: Accounting; Biology; Business Administration; Catechetics; Chemistry; Classical Languages; Economics; Elementary Education; Environmental Science; Exercise Physiology; Family & Society; Health Science; History; Latin; Literature; Marine Biology; Marketing; Mathematics; Medieval Studies; Music; Philosophy; Physics; Politics; Psychology; Shakespeare in Performance; Spanish; Theology.


What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Business (four programs) 21.2%

Biology (six programs) 18.6%

Psychology 7.9%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

The University hosts many academic lectures and conferences throughout the year. Many of these include considerations of individual areas of study in dialogue with revelation.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


Western Civilization and Culture I and II are taught by members of the Philosophy, Literature, and History departments. Some of these class sections are co-taught by members of these departments. The faculty also participate in a monthly interdisciplinary research and teaching colloquia.

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

As a distinguishing feature, most of the academic programs require one course exclusively dedicated to the dialogue between the discipline and the perspective of the Catholic Faith. These include Catholic Political Thought in Politics, Catholic Social teaching in Economics, Foundations of Psychology as a Human Science in Psychology, American Catholic History in History, Media Society, and the Church in Communications, Management and Ethics in Business, St. Thomas More in Literature, and Latin Church Fathers in Classics. Moreover, the dialogue with the Catholic tradition occurs throughout the coursework when appropriate to the subject matter at hand.

Ave Maria University’s offerings reflect its identity as a liberal arts institution comprehensive in scope. All of these major offerings benefit from the strong foundation of the core curriculum. The integration of the major with the core prepares students for engaging in today’s professional world, further graduate studies, as well as civic and political life.

Students may major in a variety of standard disciplines within the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and fine arts, as well as practical areas of study. In addition, the University offers a variety of interdisciplinary areas of study that assist students in forming “an organic vision of reality” as called for by Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

Graduates of AMU have been very successful in entering graduate and professional schools. Alumni are currently enrolled in medical schools, law schools, dental schools, business schools, graduate programs in psychology, nursing, education, library science, english, theology, philosophy, theatre, music, engineering, biology, international relations history, politics, and mathematics. Many other graduates have entered the private sector, political foundations, the teaching profession, and countless other business occupations.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 

70% on campus. Others may attend local area churches.

Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?


Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male only

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Ave Maria Catholic Church


4:00 p.m. Saturday, Our Lady of Guadalupe Campus Chapel

5:00 p.m. Saturday (Vigil Mass), Ave Maria Catholic Church

8:00 a.m. Sunday (traditional), Ave Maria Catholic Church

10:00 a.m. Sunday (traditional), Ave Maria Catholic Church

11:30 a.m. Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe Campus Chapel

12:30 p.m. Sunday (traditional), Ave Maria Catholic Church

8:30 p.m. Sunday (contemporary), Ave Maria Catholic Church


7:30 a.m. M-F*, Ave Maria Catholic Church

8:00 a.m. M-F, Our Lady of Guadalupe Campus Chapel

12:00 p.m. M-F**, Ave Maria Catholic Church

5:00 p.m. M-F, Ave Maria Catholic Church

8:00 p.m. M-F, Our Lady of Guadalupe Campus Chapel

9:30 a.m. Saturday, Ave Maria Catholic Church

*7:30 a.m. Mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays is celebrated in the Extraordinary Form.

**Extraordinary Form

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Ave Maria Catholic Church
MWF 2:45-3:45 p.m.
Saturday 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Also by appointment

Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel (on campus)
M-F 7:15-7:45 a.m.
TH-F 7:15-7:45 p.m.
TU-W 6:15-7:45 p.m.
Saturday 3:15-3:45 p.m.
Also by appointment

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Exposition of Eucharist  24/7 during academic year; adoration available year-round.

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

9:00 p.m. nightly Rosary Walk

Weekly Praise and Worship

Weekly Divine Mercy Chaplet

Daily Night Prayer

Daily Angelus

Annual Marian Consecration

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

Ave Maria University has a Discernment of Vocation Program, a Vocation Fair, and speakers who address this topic throughout the year.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

A number of graduates have discerned their religious or priestly vocations within seminaries and religious orders. Among that group, several have gone on to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church as well as to profess vows within religious orders.

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

Ave Maria has a vibrant Catholic life and culture on campus with a strong Pro-Life presence. The most populated student club is the Pro-Life Club.
The University provides a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, nightly Rosary Walk, communal prayer, and a number of discussions on Spirituality. Each residence hall has a Chapel in which the Eucharistic Lord is reserved in a Tabernacle for private and communal prayer. The University also sponsors a Discernment Program where students can learn more about pursuing their calling to a particular state in life. Furthermore, there are classes on prayer and spirituality, opportunities for praise and worship, a number of weekend spiritual retreats, three daily Masses, Confession six times per week and by appointment, and spiritual direction.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

Ave Maria University has six residence halls located on the south side of campus—four for men and two for women. Each is staffed by resident assistants and one live-in residence director. All residence hall rooms are furnished to accommodate 2 or more students and have a private adjoining bathroom. The residence halls are equipped with wireless internet, kitchenettes, common rooms, study lounges and laundry facilities. Each hall has an in-house Chapel.

Married students, student over 23 years of age, and undergraduate seniors can apply to live in off-campus University housing. University-owned townhomes are located approximately one mile from campus. Fully-furnished units are equipped with a kitchen and basic appliances, including a laundry room. Students approved to live in University off-campus housing can opt out of the meal plan.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for:

All students

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?

One-hundred percent of on campus students live in single-sex residence halls.

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Sunday – Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Friday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

On weekends during designated visiting hours:
Thursday – Sunday from 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.

Students hosting visitors of the opposite sex register their visitor at the front desk of their residence hall’s lobby. Hosts abide by an open door, light on policy while a visitor is in their room.

How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

Responsible consumption of alcohol is expected of all students of legal drinking age. Beer and wine is served at certain university events to promote a responsible drinking culture.

Students found responsible for substance abuse, including those of legal drinking age, are required to participate in the disciplinary process and to take an alcohol education module. Counseling services and residence director mentorship are available for students struggling with substance abuse.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

Mature, responsible social behavior in accordance with Catholic moral teaching is expected of all students and visitors. The University allows limited residence hall visitation in order to foster genuine and deep friendships between students and strengthen the community life on campus.

Throughout the semester, Residence Life hosts special events on building healthy relationships, dating and marriage, and religious vocations. Guest speakers have included married members of the staff and faculty, University priests and visiting religious.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

Each residence hall has a Chapel in which the Eucharistic Lord is reserved in a Tabernacle for private and communal prayer. Households are a part of campus life at Ave Maria University. There are 15 recognized households on campus. These are groups of male or female students who mutually support each other by spending time together in prayer, recreation, and community. These Christ-centered groups strive for balanced and healthy interpersonal relationships while they support and challenge each other to develop spiritually, emotionally, academically, and physically. AMU also hosts on and off campus retreats each semester. Students gather for a rosary procession circling the campus grounds every evening.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

…foster spiritual development:

There are 15 Households at AMU: A Household is a group of male or female students who mutually support each other by spending time together in prayer and recreation. These Christ-centered groups strive for balanced, healthy, interpersonal relationships while they support and challenge a member to develop spiritually, emotionally, academically, and physically.

Ti Volio Bene Sisterhood: Ti Volio Bene Sisterhood is a club for women to promote personal and spiritual growth.

Apologetics Club: The purpose of this club is to gain a deeper appreciation of reasoning and an understanding of faith.

Communion & Liberation at the University (CLU): A lay ecclesial movement whose aim is to propose the presence of Christ as the most adequate response to the deepest needs of human life in every moment of history.

Mary’s Marines (in cooperation with the Mary and Mercy Center of Ave Maria): This group empowers young adults to win the world for Christ by aiding them in their growth in personal holiness by way of Marian consecration.

President Towey hosts a weekly Bible Study in the mega-dorm during the 1st five weeks of each semester.

Youth Ministry Club: The club’s goal is to minister to the youth in Ave Maria town by being witnesses of Christ and also to help each other grow in our relationship with God through our ministry.

Legion of Mary: The Legion of Mary is a world-renowned organization that seeks to evangelize the name of Mary so that she may lead all souls to her son, Jesus.

Theology on Tap: A -monthly speaker series that explores theological and faith-centered topics in the context of a community building event.

Alpha: Students meet weekly to discuss questions about life, about who Jesus is and why He died for us. This meeting always starts with dinner.

Young Life: Students are reaching out to area middle school and high school students to share the message of Christ and encourage them to attend the church of their upbringing.

…engage in corporal works of mercy:

Breakfast Club: The purpose of The Breakfast Club is to love our impoverished brothers and sisters in Immokalee through two of the Corporal Works of Mercy: feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.

FIAT (Faith in Action Team): The purpose of FIAT is to repeat Mary’s “yes” in serving the Lord in our brothers and sisters. They travel to a local impoverished town and help with the local parish youth group, helping in any way possible and developing close relationships with the youth.

Gift of Love Club: Working in cooperation with the Mother Teresa Project, Gift of Love exists to enable the students of Ave Maria University to reach out to the lonely, sick, and elderly residents of local nursing homes and “comfort the afflicted,” which was the primary mission of Mother Teresa.

Habitat for Humanity: The Office of Service Learning works with the local chapter in providing students with opportunities to assist in building homes for the less fortunate in a nearby town.

Immokalee Foundation Mentoring Program: The Office of Service Learning partners with the Immokalee Foundation in providing tutors and mentors for the local high school students.

Mission Trips: The President of AMU takes 12 several students yearly to serve the poor with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. Students can also travel to many other locations, both national and international, to serve on a mission trip. In addition to Calcutta, students can travel to Uganda, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, and Tahiti.

…address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Life Runners: A club whose purpose is to run, raise funds, and raise awareness for the pro-life cause and to offer up every workout for a higher purpose.

Students for Life: A club that works to save lives threatened by induced abortion, euthanasia, and destruction of human embryos for research. In furtherance of these goals, members seek to promote respect for life at AMU and in the surrounding community, to educate on life issues, to help those in need so that life is a promising choice, and to work with others who share common goals.

Life Week: A week-long series of events held every year that seeks to promote pro-life issues on campus and to encourage student involvement in the pro-life movement.

Love Week: An annual week-long event that examines what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, and the implications of this truth in regards to issues relating to purity, the culture of death, the hookup culture, contraception, self-abuse, pornography, same-sex attraction, and substance and alcohol abuse. During this week, resources are highlighted for those who are struggling with any of the above issues.

…address issues of social concern:

Anscombe Society: This club exists to help equip students with the resources, support, and arguments they need to uphold the institution of marriage, the special role of the family, and sexual integrity on their campus and in their communities, and to promote healthy relationships that lead people to God.

Genuine Feminine Club: This group explores the essence of femininity and the practical implications of being a woman in modern society. The main goal of the club is to unfold the unique richness of womanhood, and through a better understanding of their role in the history of mankind, allow women to pursue their vocation with confidence and joy. The club hosts an annual conference hosted at AMU. The conference explores the role of women in modern society in several different areas such as education, politics, and the family. Many nationally-known speakers are invited to take part in this conference.

Students Against Domestic Violence: Working in cooperation with the Mother Teresa Project, Students Against Domestic Violence exists to enable the students of Ave Maria University to bring awareness and assistance to local shelters for abused women and children.

Turning Point USA: This club exists to educate students on the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.

Young Women for America: The purpose of this organization is to form young, Christian women by teaching them conservative values taught in Scripture.

…address particular academic interests:

Accounting Club: The Accounting Club is designed to bring together accounting majors to further our knowledge outside of the classroom. Guest speakers join students to help guide them in preparing for their CPA, do taxes for students, faculty, and migrant workers, and join together to study for accounting classes.

AEI Executive Council at AMU: The AEI Executive Council at Ave Maria University exists to foster informed, non-partisan discussion about public policy on campus. In partnership and with support from the American Enterprise Institute (a non-partisan research and educational organization in Washington, DC), the Executive Council aims to create a forum for the competition of ideas on Ave Maria University’s campus. Activities sponsored by the Executive Council may include: policy conferences, discussion groups, debates, and networking dinners.

Biochemistry Club: The Biochemistry Club is dedicated to fostering a fun, academic, and social community where students who have an interest in Biochemistry can obtain rich and meaningful experiences through volunteering, listening to guest speakers, networking, study groups, and much more.

Biology Club: The Ave Maria Biology Club is a student run organization for those interested in life sciences. Throughout the academic year, many activities, events and excursions take place, all related to the science of Biology.

History Club: The History Club is geared towards greater education of history and its impact on the events of modern times. Join the AMU History Club for a range of events including film nights, lectures, paper dissertations, panel discussions, and museum visits pertaining to all areas of history.

Investment Club: AMU’s community of investors that discuss weekly market developments, host events, and compete to build the highest returning investment portfolios through the TD Ameritrade U platform. Students will have access to exclusive resources to increase their acumen and hone their investment prowess.
Nursing Club: The Nursing Club provides mentorship and information to help students who are looking to begin their career after graduation. It gives students the opportunity to serve communities while practicing skills learned in the classroom.

Pre-Dental Club: The Pre-Dental Club of Ave Maria University aims to motivate and inspire students who are or may be interested in the diverse field of dentistry. Throughout the academic year, the Pre-Dental club gains exposure through speakers from current dental students, volunteer work, and dental school visits. In tandem with personal exposure, the AMU Pre-Dental Club also serves as an academic support group for those students who have questions or would like to become more familiar of the admission process for dental school.

Pre-Med: The Pre-Med Club’s purpose is to bring together students interested in pursuing careers as physicians and helping to orient them toward the proper field.

St. Bede History Club: The purpose of this organization is to create a club for history faculty members, majors, minors, and those interested in history. This club provides a place for students to meet, discuss, and share interests in all areas of history.

Wojtyla Society (Psychology Club): Wojtyla Society seeks to help students become “students of the soul and students of the person.” The club seeks to help students gain further knowledge of psychology outside of the classroom. This is done through talks, group discussions, and club events.

…address particular cultural interests:

The Accidentals: This group is a co-ed student directed cappella singing group that performs at various university functions as entertainment and inspiration.

AMU Drama Club: This club exists to support the performing arts, to provide opportunities for all students who desire to preform and share their talents with the university, to foster a sense of artistic community within the student body, and to be the premier center of performing arts activities and events on campus.

AMU Lindy Crew: This group exists to foster a community of swing dancers within the student body and to promote the fine arts by introducing students to the American culture of jazz music and swing dancing.

Classical Music Club: This club educates students on the art of listening to classical music, to provide familiarity with the great composers, to foster a greater love and appreciation for classical music on campus.

Cooking Club: The cooking club teaches both the basic skills of cooking and cooking as a way to build community life by preparing meals and sharing them together.

ImagineArte: This group challenges and guides students to achieve the goals that they have set for their future careers and home life; that what they achieve is a happy virtuous life.

In Vino Sanitas: The purpose of this group is to appreciate wine through education and tastings. The pursuit of this goal will foster community among the students who participate as well as develop a campus culture that respects alcohol as a good to be appreciated rather than merely a stimulant to be used.

Live Music Club: This club exists to organize musicians into multiple bands, to form bonds through music, and to showcase their talents around campus.

Shakespeare in Performance: Each year students perform a work of Shakespeare during the month of April, and this program, under the leadership of Dr. Travis Curtright, is nationally renowned.

…provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Adventure Club: This club exists to bring students out to nature so that they will come to a greater understanding of God’s creation.

Archery Club: This club exists to provide students the opportunity to learn about the ancient art of archery and to hone in on their skills.

Beach Volleyball Club: This club exists to teach the game of volleyball, promote athleticism, and provide opportunity for healthy social activity on campus.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club: This club exists to help develop athletic skills, mental awareness, and self-defense.

Cheerleading Club: This club serves the purpose of cheering and dancing at home football and basketball games. They hold regular practices and help support varsity athletic team spirit.

Equestrian Team: The “Eq Team” is a club sport that brings riders of all skill levels together and teaches them teamwork and horsemanship as well as the virtues of courage, fortitude, humility, and patience in an encouraging, competitive environment.

Men’s Lacrosse: The purpose of this club is to provide an opportunity for former lacrosse players and anyone who is interested in playing lacrosse, a chance to learn, play, and enjoy lacrosse.

Rugby Club: The purpose of this club is the introduction, teaching, promotion, encouragement, understanding, and extension of the game of Rugby Union Football in all its aspects, within the university, and within the community.

Ultimate Frisbee: Ultimate Frisbee Club teaches the game of ultimate at a competitive level and competes in tournaments around the Southeast Region. The club consists of student athletes from all different athletic backgrounds, practices three days a week, and competes in multiple tournaments each semester. Your best friends will be those who you play ultimate with. They are constantly pushing each other towards excellence in all aspects of life.

Wrestling Club: The purpose of this club is to provide the foundation of good fundamentals and techniques; so that they can compete at the collegiate level.

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.) What athletic teams are offered for men and women?

Ave Maria is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Sun conference with 15 sports, which includes:

Baseball, Women’s Basketball, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Lacrosse, Softball, Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country, Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Men’s Tennis, and Women’s Tennis.

The football program (only) is also a member of the Mid-South Conference.

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes?

Intentional integration of the Catholic faith through coaches implementing a virtue based program with their respected teams and weekly Bible studies, Adoration and Rosary lead by Varsity Catholic.

Please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

Coffee Club: The purpose of this club is to provide good quality coffee for various events on campus while educating people on the complexities of the coffee beans and brewing styles. They strive to foster a more coffee-cultured community that seeks to enjoy coffee for its true flavor and delicacies.

Crew Club: The purpose of this club is for students to have an exciting game day experience, offering students a fun experience and a way to promote school spirit.

Do It Yourself Club: The purpose of this club is to experiment and create a variety of crafts using “DIY” techniques.

Fellowship of Fandom: This club exists to bring those together that enjoy comics, books, movies, and video games a place to bond.

Gardening Club: The purpose of this club is to bring students who share in a love of food, manual labor, and gardening together in order to create a sustainable garden. The intent is to utilize the space and organization to work in accordance with our mission to be “stewards of the earth.”

Gyrene Gazette: This organization is dedicated to supporting and developing the literary and journalistic interests and talents of Ave Maria students, and to informing the AMU community through its news publications.

St. Jon Bosco’s Jugglers: This group serves as an opportunity for students to interact with one another in a positive environment that cultivates both a spirit of service as well as the obvious physical and hand-eye coordination development.

St. Thomas More Debate Club: The debate club gives students the opportunity to develop their skills of speech and public debate. The club hosts open debates on campus and competes with other colleges and universities.

Student Activities Board: This group works closely with the Office of Student Life in planning major and large-scale university events for the students, both on and off campus.

Student Government Association: This is a student council comprised of an executive board and class representatives elected by their peers to represent the student body. The role of the Student Government Association is to take upon itself a special responsibility to uphold the proper balance of intellectual, spiritual, social and physical development of the Student Body, always guided and directed by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tea & Zumba: The purpose of this club is to promote moral excellence of the soul through cultured conversation around tea, and discipline of the body through exercise.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

The Director of Student Life will meet with the club or student(s) in question, explain why the conflict exists, and seek to remedy the situation, whether it be to remove the current club leadership or mandate that changes be made.  The last resort would be to revoke club approval status.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

Founded in fidelity to Christ and His Church in response to the call of Vatican II for greater lay witness in contemporary society, Ave Maria University exists to further teaching, research, and learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the abiding tradition of Catholic thought in both national and international settings. The University takes as its mission the sponsorship of a liberal arts education curriculum dedicated, as articulated in the apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, to the advancement of human culture, the promotion of dialogue between faith and reason, the formation of men and women in the intellectual and moral virtues of the Catholic faith, and to the development of professional and pre-professional programs in response to local and societal needs. As an institution committed to Catholic principles, the University recognizes the importance of creating and maintaining an environment in which faith informs the life of the community and takes expression in all its programs. The University recognizes the essential and indispensable role of the Ordinary of the Diocese of Venice in promoting and assisting in the preservation and strengthening of the University’s Catholic identity.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


If yes, please give the policy:

Ave Maria University works closely with the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in relation to guest theologians and religious that are invited to speak on campus.

Additional Institutional Identity information, clarification or description (optional):

Statement of Catholic Identity (as approved by the AMU Board of Trustees): “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 Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional disciples of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.”

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 1,071

Male: 48% Female: 52%

Catholic: 78%

Number of states represented: 43
Top three states: Florida, Michigan, Illinois
Students from top three states: 52%

Catholic HS: 33% Homeschool: 18%
Private HS: 8% Public HS: 41%

Median SAT/ACT for Incoming Class:

Median SAT: 1158

Median ACT: 24

Most up-to-date information provided by the University

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Additional Leadership information, clarification or description (optional):

The University’s bylaws provide that Trustees and the President must be Catholics in good standing with the Church.

Visit Campus

Get in touch with Ave Maria University to schedule your campus visit:


5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, Florida 34142


Ave Maria University FacebookAve Maria University InstagramAve Maria University Youtube