Saturday, February 16, 2008

Esprit de Corps at Ave Maria University

Ave Maria University offers full four-year tuition at the school for Marines, special forces from other branches of the armed forces and all combat veterans. The annual black-tie “Gyrene Gala” benefit to honor veterans and raise scholarship funds will be tonight at 6 p.m. at the Naples Grande Resort. Attendees at the 2008 Gyrene Gala will have the opportunity to commemorate posthumously two extraordinary military chaplains: Father Vincent Robert Capodanno and Cardinal John O'Connor. Both are models of strength, courage, and Christian love. Both served in Vietnam and received medals for their military service.

What's the link between military service and Ave Maria? This is what Naples News found out:

On the surface, the association between the Marines and Ave Maria isn’t readily apparent. But [AMU founder Tom] Monaghan said the connection strikes to the university’s core mission. The role of the Marines on campus, Monaghan said, is like a “leavening” agent, a group whose leadership raises the level of the general student body. “We did this university because we want to change the world,” he said. “I’ve always felt that Marine Corps training is the best leadership training there is. It just made sense to me that we bring in students who have this kind of experience, which is unavailable anywhere else. “Marines typically are idealistic, and if they aren’t they become that way. They rise to a higher level of being human beings. The environment that we promote here, with the strong spiritual and strong academics and strong student life, we create great leaders to go out in the world.” [Retired Maj. Gen. J.T. Coyne, a member of the school’s board of regents] added there was a “natural marriage” between the values of honor, courage and commitment promoted by the Marines and Ave Maria’s theological values. “You bring in someone even if he considers himself non-religious; if he comes from the Marine Corps he has maybe a secular religion,” Coyne said. “He’s got a belief that there are enduring values that are meaningful, that are essential not only to a good Marine Corps, but a good society.”...The Marines currently at the school already see themselves as leaders. “Everybody is fully active at all times,” Henley said. “That’s a parallel I see with the Marine Corps. There’s always something to do, there’s always a little further you can go with your education and your spiritual life in all aspects.”
Click these links if you want more information about cathlolics in the armed forces or the Archdiocese for the Military Services.