Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida has officially recognized Ave Maria University as a Catholic university.
“This announcement marks a special time in the history and faith life of Ave Maria University,” Bishop Dewane said Oct. 7. “While the university continues to grow, it is the deepening of its roots of faith that is of primary importance to me as the bishop of this diocese.
“The Catholic Church views Catholic universities in very high regard, and, with that, the entire Ave Maria University community should be encouraged and inspired by its new designation.”
The bishop’s remarks came during the investiture ceremony for new university president H. James Towey, held at the Ave Maria Oratory on the school's campus.
President Towey expressed gratitude to Bishop Dwayne for “his confidence in our future.” He also thanked Ave Maria University founder Tom Monaghan and all those who “build the foundation that made this announcement possible.”
“This recognition means a lot to us as we continue on the path towards new excellence.
At his investiture, Towey took an oath of fidelity before Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who delivered the homily at the inaugural liturgy.
In his address, the university president dedicated his presidency to Bl. Mother Teresa, saying he embraced her advice to be content in the “uncertainly of Divine Providence.” He said Ave Maria University will succeed by remaining humble and placing trust in God, the Cardinal Newman Society reports.
He said the biggest challenge for the university will be its shift to self-sufficiency away from the patronage of Monaghan. He also lamented the problems of “hooking up,” binge drinking, and the separation of faith and reason at many colleges, including Catholic ones.
President Towey said the three hallmarks of Ave Maria University will be academic excellence in the liberal arts tradition, a firm rootedness in the Catholic faith while being “fully open to the world,” and unity with relationships rooted in love for Christ.
Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly, who attended the investiture, said Bishop Dewane gave “a tremendous gift to the university and to all Catholic families searching for faithful Catholic teaching.”
“The Cardinal Newman Society extends to Ave Maria University and President Towey heartfelt congratulations!” Reilly said.