@avamariauniv February 28

My daily post theme for 2017 is on Colleges and Universities.

The plan for starting my blog back in 2014 was at the urging of fellow coaching colleagues to share posts on leadership and/or motivation. Somehow that idea got derailed and  turned into daily posts on one theme for an entire year.

In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and for 2017 I will focus on “Colleges and Universities”.

I have been associated with colleges since I was 18 and I love them. I have coached/worked at four different universities and in my professional and personal travels visited 100’s more. Each college has something in its history that I want to share that to me make it unique or personal.

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Name of University: Ava Maria University

Location: Ava Maria FL

It is not unusual for colleges and towns to share a name. That is the case with Ava Maria University located in Ava Maria FL. What is unusual is that this town was built to be a college town.

The university and town of Ave Maria are a result of the combined vision of Catholic Philanthropist Tom Monaghan and the Barron Collier Company.

Ave Maria is located in beautiful southwest Florida, just thirty minutes east of Naples, and an hour and a half from Miami. Located in the center of town is the Ave Maria Oratory, an architectural feat. Surrounding the Oratory is the Piazza Town Center.


Tom Monaghan made his fortune building and eventually selling the Domino’s Pizza chain. He also had the dream of founding a new Catholic university.


He initially founded Ave Maria College near his home in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The first campus could not accommodate future growth so Mr. Monaghan sought to move it to a parcel of land he owned in Ann Arbor, MI. When the town government turned down the necessary zoning variances, he looked for another site for the university in the United States and settled on the Naples, FL area.

The university arranged for temporary facilities in Naples and Mr. Monaghan sought enough land for a permanent home.

His search came to the attention of the Barron Collier Company (BCC), a diversified corporation controlled by the founding family of Collier County. The company had large tracts east of Naples that they wanted to develop. The company approached Tom with an offer: If Ave Maria University would locate to land BCC wished to develop outside Naples, the company would give the university 1,000 acres and build a town around the university.



Ava Maria opened on its temporary campus in the fall of 2003. Construction on the permanent campus and the town of Ave Maria began in 2005. The town officially opened in July, 2007 and the permanent campus welcomed students at the start of the 2007-08 academic year.



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