Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ave Maria School of Law Moves Forward

Ave Maria Law School Weathers Critics, Moves Forward, Says Dean
By Michael Chapman Managing Editor
August 30, 2007

Dean Bernard Dobranski clears the air about what is really going on at Ave Maria School of Law. Its well worth the read for the fair minded.

Click here for the full story.

Friday, August 24, 2007

ABA Dismisses Dissident Concerns Over Governance and Academic Freedom at AMSL

Today, Dean Bernard Dobranski issued the following statement via email to all members of the Ave Maria School of Law community:

To Members of the Ave Maria Community

The American Bar Association has reviewed the numerous allegations against Ave Maria School of Law filed by undisclosed faculty members. Of all of the various allegations regarding school governance, academic freedom, and other issues, the only matter on which the ABA has asked us to report regards faculty hiring and retention. We will, of course, provide the ABA with all of the relevant information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the ABA Standard.

Although the ABA treats this process confidentially – and it is our intention to do the same – a brief update on where the near-completed process currently stands was warranted, given the level of misrepresentation and speculation which has surfaced regarding the ABA’s inquiry.

We look forward to completing this process in the months ahead in cooperation with the ABA, and to moving forward with all members of the Ave Maria community – faculty, students, and graduates – in pursuit of our shared
mission and vision.

This action by the ABA (a disinterested third party with enormous clout in the legal community) dramatically undercuts the ardent critics of the school's move, who base their criticism primarily on matters of governance and academic freedom and who have pinned their hopes of disrupting the school's administration on ABA intervention.

While the ABA has asked for more information about faculty hiring and retention, the school's recent announcement of new faculty hires bodes well for the successful resolution of the ABA inquiry, an inquiry which was instigated by those who oppose the school's move to Florida. The ABA is rightly concerned that the school will maintain a competent faculty regardless of any move, and the school clearly has that issue under control, despite the loss (or predictable loss) of some very competent professors who oppose the move so strongly.

Happily, Dean Dobranski is well-versed in the ABA standards, as demonstrated by the school's deftly managed fast-track accreditation in 2003 (and as Steve Safranek knew when he insisted that Dobranski be the school's founding dean).

This is great news. Congratulations, Bernie.

Monday, August 20, 2007

AMU compared to Notre Dame, BYU & Liberty

Naples News is featuring Ave Maria Town and Ave Maria University all week. They make superficial comparisons to Notre Dame University, Brigham Young University, and Liberty University.

AMU: "One of a kind"

Seems like enthusiasm is bursting out all over:

“We have been surrounded by the spirit of anticipation for so long,” she said. “It has been in the back of our heads, but you sort of never think it is going to happen. It’s so exciting. To see it, it is amazing.”

University Undergoes Amazing Transformation

Naples News offers its take on Ave Maria Universities amazing transformation:

You would think $246 million would buy some peace of mind. Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan pledged that amount to conceive the permanent site for Ave Maria University, his dream of a Catholic educational institution from the heart of the church. From that promise, he’s received state-of-the-art buildings, a sparkling centerpiece in a 100-foot oratory and become one of the major players in Catholic education. He’s also got $246 million worth of headaches.

Ave Maria Prep Opens With Whopping 140 Students

Projected to have only 70 students this first year, the town with almost no current residents has a very popular K-12 school:

Enrollment has been strong,” he said. “It is double than what we expected, but we are very good at growth and adaptation, so we have planned ahead.” In fact, enrollment is so good, the school has gone to waiting lists for students in first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Students also will study languages, including Spanish and Latin, Guernsey said. Students will be educated by four nuns from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Guernsey said. “They live and study and work here. They will be in full religious habit,” he said. “They are young and joyful and I know they are going to touch the hearts and minds of our students.”

Love at First Sight For Ave Maria's First Families

Seems like everyone has the same reaction:

One future Ave Maria couple, George and Anisoara Sinclair, who are Greek Orthodox Christians, did have some reservations about moving to the town, even though they both got “goosebumps” from the excitement of taking the town tour...“There was an emotional connection for us,” George Sinclair added. “It was like you see in the movies. Having a place in Ave Maria will be wonderful for us.”

Publix to Build at Ave Maria

This is great news - proof of just how much confidence the local community has in the town and university.

Publix Super Markets Inc., the Lakeland-based supermarket chain that owns 655 stores in Florida, is finalizing a lease with the Ave Maria town developer, Barron Collier Cos.

“It’s in the final stages,” Barron Collier Vice President Blake Gable said.

Details on the proposed store are few, but the store’s plans are based on a “smaller prototype” of approximately 28,000 square feet...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AMSL Dean Offers Simple Explanation

Sometimes the simplest answers are the best. Here is an excerpt from an apparent interview with Dean Dobranski:

Q: What is the state of relations between the Ave Maria faculty and the Board of Governors?

Dean Dobranski (paraphrased in the original):
Its relationship with much of the faculty is excellent. As to the dissident group, I don’t think the Board has a bad relationship. I think it’s the dissident group having contempt for the Board’s decisionmaking process. [The view of the dissident faculty members] is not the way boards operate. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interest of the law school.

[O]n the issue of faculty involvement, I made a count [of] how much instances we had of soliciting faculty input. We had at least 14 specific instances of soliciting faculty input since 2002 on the question of the move. They were also invited to present their views to the board [at meetings].

But this isn’t really about input. It’s about who is going to make the decision. And the decision has been made -- the Board has made its decision.

AMSL Announces Tenure for 3 Faculty

From: Dobranski, Bernard
Sent: Wed 8/8/2007 7:00 PM
To: All Law System Distribution; All Alumni
Subject: Tenure Announcement

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law has granted tenure to three of our faculty members: Associate Professor Jane Adolphe, Associate Professor James A. Sonne, and Associate Dean and Associate Professor Eugene R. Milhizer. These are the first professors to receive tenure since the formation of our Law School some seven years ago. I would like to summarize briefly the many accomplishments of our newly tenured faculty members.

Professor Jane Adolphe began her legal career clerking for the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench. After practicing with the Bennett Jones law firm, she served as a prosecutor with the Alberta Crown Prosecutor‘s Office. She then worked as a legal consultant with the law firm of Capua, Varrenti e Associati in Italy. In 2001 Professor Adolphe joined our faculty. Her course offerings include Criminal Law, Family Law, International Law, International Human Rights, and Canon Law. Professor Adolphe holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary, common-law and civil-law degrees from McGill University, and a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome. Her dissertation, “A Light to the Nations: The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” was published in 2003. Since coming to Ave Maria, Professor Adolphe has published and has had accepted for publication a wide variety of scholarly works, including several book chapters and law review articles, two of which were published in our own Ave Maria Law Review. Particularly noteworthy is Professor Adolphe’s service on the Delegation for the Holy See at the United Nations involving women’s and children’s rights. Also, she is an Advisor to the Catholic Institute for the Family and Human Rights, and an Advisor to Focus on the Family Canada.

Professor James Sonne began his legal career at McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe in Richmond, Virginia, working primarily in labor and employment litigation. During that time, he also developed expertise in litigating high-profile constitutional cases involving religion and free-speech issues on both the trial and appellate level. In 2001, Professor Sonne joined our faculty. His course offerings include Civil Procedure, Labor Law, Employment Law, and Employee Benefits and Compensation. Professor Sonne holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Duke University and a Juris Doctor with honors from Harvard Law School. Since coming to Ave Maria, Professor Sonne has published or has had accepted for publication articles in the Notre Dame Law Review, University of Richmond Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law, and Engage (a Federalist Society journal). He has made presentations on a variety of topics throughout the country, including Harvard University, Marquette University Law School, and Thomas Aquinas College.

Dean Eugene Milhizer began his legal career as an Army Judge Advocate where he participated in hundreds of appeals and tried scores of criminal cases, representing both the prosecution and the defense. He later served in various capacities with the Department of the Army, including Staff Judge Advocate on two occasions, Deputy Chief of the Government Appellate Division, Regional Defense Counsel, Magistrate, and Criminal Law Attorney. Dean Milhizer previously held a three-year teaching appointment at the Judge Advocate General’s School at the University of Virginia, where he taught Crimes and Defenses, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Trial Advocacy, among other courses. Dean Milhizer earned both a Bachelor of Arts with high distinction and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan, as well as a Master of Laws from the Judge Advocate General‘s School, where he was the first honor graduate. In 2001, Dean Milhizer joined our faculty. His course offerings include Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, National Security Law, and Military Law. Since coming to Ave Maria, Dean Milhizer has built upon his reputation as a productive scholar by publishing articles in the St. John’s Law Review, Missouri Law Review, Valparaiso Law Review, and Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. He has made presentations at the Yale Law School, University of Michigan School of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and other academic institutions. In May 2006, Dean Milhizer was appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

To obtain tenure, a faculty member has the burden of establishing demonstrated excellence in teaching, a serious commitment to scholarly research and publication, and a proven record of service to the Law School. Professors Adolphe and Sonne, and Dean Milhizer, have each fully satisfied these standards. I ask that you join me in congratulating these outstanding professors. We all look forward to their continuing contributions to our Law School in the years to come.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ave Maria to become new Commerical Center

A Naples-based maker of medical devices will move its manufacturing operations to Ave Maria, bringing hundreds of jobs to the new town that’s rising in eastern Collier County.

Arthrex plans to purchase 12 acres in Ave Maria, where it will build a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The new plant is expected to open in early 2009.

First Community Bank, with assets of more than $1 billion, is building a new headquarters at Ave Maria and plans to relocate from Immokalee.

Other businesses locating in Ave Maria include Mexican restaurant Cilantro Tamales and Island Bike, which sells and repairs bikes.

For the full story see the Naples Daily News:

Arthrex to build manufacturing plant in Ave Maria August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ave Maria Law Dean Welcomes New Board Members

Email from Dean Bernard Dobranski, dated August 8, 2007:

I am pleased to announce the addition of five new members to our Board of Governors. From the very beginning of the Law School’s existence we have been blessed with great Board members who are accomplished in their various fields and committed to the success of our institution. I am confident these new Board members will continue that tradition.

Please join me in welcoming:

The Hon. Judge Patrick J. Conlin. Judge Conlin was chief judge of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court before retiring in 1998. Before that he served as a Washtenaw County District Court Judge. Judge Conlin received both his Juris Doctor degree and his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

Mr. Thomas B. Garlick. Mr. Garlick is managing partner of Garlick, Stetler & Peeples, LLP, a Naples, Florida-based law firm. He practices primarily in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, real estate development, land use law, corporate and general business law, civil litigation and mediation. Mr. Garlick graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

Major General John T. (Mike) Coyne. General Coyne is a retired Major General in the United States Marine Corps where he held various positions, including Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs and Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. In civilian life he was Managing partner of the law firm Jordan Coyne & Savits. General Coyne also graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

Mr. Leonard A. Leo. Mr. Leo is executive vice-president of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies. Mr. Leo is also co-editor with James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal of Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and Worst in the White House. Mr. Leo received both his Juris Doctor degree and his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Mrs. Cathy Cleaver Ruse. Mrs. Ruse was formerly chief spokesperson on human life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She was chief counsel to the House of Representative Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and is currently Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council. Mrs. Ruse graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

These new members joined the Board of Governors at its meeting last week, the first regularly scheduled Board meeting since the relocation decision.

Sadly, the Board has accepted the resignations of five members because of the term-limits policy and for personal reasons. Those leaving the Board are: Professor Helen M. Alvaré, Professor of Law, Catholic University of America; Professor Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame; Reverend Joseph D. Fessio, S.J.; Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; and Reverend Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. And, as many of you know, Mr. Bowie Kuhn, a dear friend of the Law School and a Board of Governor member, passed away in March.

I thank these former members of the Board of Governors for their exemplary service to the Law School during this important time in its history. Their contributions have been immeasurable and they will be missed. All of these living, departing Board members are invited to join the Board of Advisors, which will advise and consult with the Board of Governors and myself.

I am pleased to welcome back for continuing service the following Board members: Dr. Michael M. Uhlmann, Visiting Professor of American Government, Claremont Graduate University; Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, Chairman of the Board, Ave Maria Foundation; Dean Bernard Dobranski, President and Founding Dean, Ave Maria School of Law; Mr. William F. Harrington, Chairman, Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP; Mr. Peter A. Carfagna, Senior Counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP; Mrs. Kate W. O’Beirne, Washington Editor, The National Review; His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit; and His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York.

In addition to the new Board members, there will be newly hired professors, RWA lecturers, and staff at the Law School this fall. I am confident these new additions will contribute energy and dedication to the institution, and provide outstanding service to our Law School.