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Speaking of Millionaires

We were astonished by an article in Our Sunday Visitor (Aug. 20, 2006) written by the Our Sunday Visitor staff. Our Sunday Visitor is an upbeat, happy-clappy periodical. However, it has given Tom Monaghan, a mega-millionaire (perhaps a billionaire), a comeuppance. Why this downbeat article? Who knows? But it was electrifying.

According to the article, over the years Franciscan University of Steubenville “has supported fledgling schools in several ways, including forming a foundation in the 1990s that helped new Catholic colleges get off the ground….” The article goes on to detail “the price Franciscan paid for the assistance it gave to one college in particular, Ave Maria University [Tom Monaghan’s university]. Franciscan lost key faculty and staff, prospective students and important donors to the Naples, Fla.-based school [Ave Maria University]. And other universities [and colleges] have as well.”

In the Sunday Business section of The New York Times (July 30, 2006), there was a major story about Ave Maria University. The title was “Our Lady of Discord,” which says it all.

According to the Naples Daily News (Dec. 4, 2006), things are not going well for Monaghan. In a recent letter to Ave Maria University supporters, Provost Joseph Fessio, S.J., said the enrollment, recruitment, and retention are low. Indeed, Fessio referred to it as a “crisis.”

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