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Posted on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:23 a.m.

Domino's founder Tom Monaghan stepping aside from day-to-day control of Ave Maria University

By David Jesse

Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan is stepping aside from the day-to-day running of the Catholic university he founded, the school announced Thursday.

Jim Towey has been hired to be Ave Maria University's next president, the Florida school said.

Monaghan, Tom 020910.JPG

Tom Monaghan

Monaghan, 74, will still be chancellor of the school he founded and be on the board of trustees.

"This decision was a result of ongoing discussions that I've had with the board throughout the last couple of years in terms of developing and implementing a succession plan," Monaghan said in a press release. "This new structure will enable me to spend more time working with university supporters both locally and nationally. It will also free me up to do more public speaking to promote awareness of AMU among high school students and potential benefactors. I'll also be able to work on some special projects and a book I have wanted to write for some time.

"I have known Jim for more than 10 years and am very excited about the new stage of growth and development that AMU has to look forward to under his leadership. He is a man of high moral character and professional competence."

Ave Maria University opened in Florida in 2003 after Ann Arbor Township planners rejected Monaghan's plans to move the college to Domino's Farms from Ypsilanti and start the university there. In 2006, Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti was closed and joined with the Florida campus.

Towey comes to AMU after serving as president of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Penn., from 2006 until June 2010. While serving as president at Saint Vincent, the school achieved record enrollment, multi-year fiscal surpluses and undertook extensive campus-wide construction and renovation projects, according to the press release.

Prior to leading Saint Vincent, Towey served four years in George W. Bush's administration as the Assistant to the President of the United States and director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Shirvell as a product of Ave maria is NOT comparable to the Unabomber and ann coulter as products of the UM, per some earlier comments. In the latter cases, believe it or not , there is no overriding political agenda that is taught at the Um and faculty and students run the gamut of political philosophies. Ave Maria on the other hand clearly selects for those who share its retrograde values: specifically homophobia and anti-science/evolution: This is attested to by the school itself being the banner carrier for the test case ( fortunately defeated)of evolution vs.creationism in Dover Pa, and a similiar out in front role in contesting same sex partners benefits locally. Shirvell is the apple that predictably fell not far from the tree. But with or without (wannabe) saint tom, the school can always be put on a retainer by the ever-reliable and deep pocketed Mel Gibson in his ongoing antics ,which fit perfectly into A.M. philosophy.

Michigan Reader

Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

bedrog--It wasn't A.M. that litigated either the Dover or the same sex benefits cases--it was the Thomas More Law Center. (Also aligned with the Catholic Church.) Ave Maria, Thomas More Law Center, and the Catholic Church, are all aligned with goodness. Any deviation from that by an individual is a BREAK from the philosophy of those institutions.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

In regards to Denise1inaa and your comment regarding the Assistant AG. Didn't Ted Kazinsky go to the University of Michigan? He didn't turn out all that well and last I checked UofM has been producing decent grads and lousy football teams


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Ann Arbor is better without Ava Pizza University. Dare Tommy to hire Rich Rod to run his school.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Another commentor rightly points out that the entire Ave Maria University should not be blamed for the actions of one. But since I am a catholic, I think it is important that we "police" ourselves and not sanction behavior or speech attacking another human. That is why I raised the issue of Mr. Shirvell's alleged actions and his affilliation with the university. I would be greatly impressed if Ave Maria responded by making it clear they condemn such behavior but I am not holding my breath.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

Despite everyone's negative criticism of Monaghan, having the university in the Ann Arbor area would have been of economic value to the local community. Go figure the narrow minded city and township personnel running the show seem to toss out the baby with the bath water.

Basic Bob

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Packing up his ball and leaving? Maybe he should have groveled or passed out campaign contributions like candy. That works even if people don't like your project.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

They didn't tell him to leave, they just refused to approve his specific site plan. That's normal. He decided to pack up his ball and leave since he didn't get handed whatever he asked for on a silver platter.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Ave Maria University turned out Andrew Shirvell . . . remember him? The assistant attorney general and alleged stalker of the U of M student council president, has been fired and is still being investigated over this incident. Lets say I am not impressed with the caliber of student Ave Maria is turning out.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

No, Andrew Shirvell was not a student of Ave Maria University. He was a student of Ave Maria School of Law. Not the same thing.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

I'm not a fan of Ave Maria Law School either, but I don't think it's fair to blame them for Andrew Shirvell. I don't blame UM Law School for Ann Coulter.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

dense tell us how they did that? Was he cloned? Did they turn out any other defective grads? Please go into detail of how they filled him with hate, cause I'm not catholic but I thought the preached love not hate.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

OO, Denise, you are SOOO Right. I totally forgot about that. GRRR. it makes my blood boil. I'm glad Tom also is not involved in the pizza chain anymore. My parents know Tom way back when before he got religious. He was a real party boy!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Monaghan and his version of Catholicism are SO YESTERDAY! (Of course, he'd be glad to hear that!)

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

I'll take Ann Arbor with the cold and snow over AMU anyday, thank you.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

I'm just glad we don't have to look at a 250 foot high illuminated cross every time we drive north on 23.

jim miles

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

You bet! much better to have a mosque like the one at the intersection of 475 and 76 in Toledo.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.



Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

3,2,1...cue the Monaghan haters up.