The centerpiece of the campus and the town is the Ave Maria Oratory, which is a large gothic-inspired structure that serves as the parish church and university chapel. Several more master-planned communities are under construction or planned in the immediate surrounding area. Managed wetlands lie north and west of the campus. Wildlife preservation and restoration projects have also been instituted on the site, to preserve a degree of its natural state.
Ave Maria is the first major Roman Catholic university to be established in over 40 years. Ave Maria University intends to integrate the truths of the faith with the social, cultural, economic, and political developments in society. Two hundred or more years ago, these societal practices included slavery and child labor. Fifty or more years ago, those practices included Marxism, Nazism, and Freudianism. Today they include abortion, fetal research, cloning, same-sex marriage, moral relativism, and world terrorism. It is the graduates of Ave Maria University who will become the Catholic intellectuals needed to bring the truths of the faith to bear on these issues.
Ave Maria University currently offers ten undergraduate degrees: Biology, Classics and Early Christian Literature, Economics, History, Literature, Mathematics, Music with a concentration in Sacred Music, Philosophy, Politics, and Theology. Graduate programs include M.A. and Ph.D. studies in Theology and a Master of Theological Studies for non-traditional students. Special programs include Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Business Certificate, and high school dual enrollment. The university also offers an undergraduate program which prepares men for the seminary, paralleled by a religious discernment program for women. Undergraduate students must complete all courses in the core curriculum, with more than ten required courses, including a full year of Latin, courses in philosophy, theology, literature, science, math, history and political science.
Ave Maria University has a study abroad program in two locations: the alpine village of Gaming, Austria, about an hour’s drive from Vienna, and also at their Latin-American satellite campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua. Classes are in English. To be eligible for the program, students must have spent at least one semester at Ave Maria University, be in good academic standing, and have no major infractions on their student life record. According to Ave Maria’s student handbook, “major infractions” include theft, the possession, use or distribution of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia, underage alcohol consumption, firearm possession, feeding alligators and other wildlife and “public advocacy of ideas or actions blatantly contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church or the mission of Ave Maria University.”
Ave Maria dormitories are organized into small, same-gender communities. Quiet hours (9-9 on weekdays, 11-10 on weekends) are enforced by residence assistants and adjusted by residence directors. Members of the opposite sex are not permitted in the dorm rooms and must be escorted through the halls. Chapels are located in each of the three dorms. Members of the clergy, who live on campus, assist in maintaining spiritual life. Televisions are only permitted in common areas, though students are allowed to use their computers to play videos in the dorms and common rooms. Social life on campus includes intramural sports, drama productions, talent shows, excursions, dances, and many other events. Students are encouraged to organize and participate in social and recreational activities. Men and women are encouraged to dress modestly and to avoid suggestive or revealing attire.
Current total enrollment at Ave Maria University is approximately 600 students. A university spokesman states, “nearly 30% of our students homeschooled through high school. Many of our most successful students come from a home education background. Homeschool students have the same application process and the same opportunity to receive scholarships and financial aid as any applicant.” The 2008-2009 tuition was $16,350, with a total cost of $24,500. Over 80% of the school’s students receive financial aid.
11th & 12th Grade Homeschoolers Are Invited to Attend the Ave Maria University Open House on April 3-5, 2009. Come experience first-hand the excellent academics, dynamic spiritual life, and many extracurricular opportunities at Ave Maria! During the Open House, visitors will have a chance to stay overnight in the dorms and participate in information sessions and social events. There is no charge to attend an Open House at Ave Maria University, and all meals are provided. Accepted students will receive a $200 travel reimbursement to visit Ave Maria. To request more information about Ave Maria’s open house, application process, high school summer programs, or homeschool initiatives, please contact the Office of Home School Advancement at 239-280-1656. Register now for the Open House at http://www.avemaria.edu/forms/homeschoolopenhousereservation.
To learn more about Ave Maria University and to apply online, please visit http://www.avemaria.edu