As the end of the school year quickly approaches, the students at Ave Maria University are busy making plans so that when the whirlwind of activities, papers, and finals comes to a still they will be able to answer the question that waits on the other side of the last day of classes: "What next?"
The first answer to that question for over 70 students is: Graduation! This year, the University will happily see its third graduating class receive their diplomas. Many students in this class have spent all four years of study at Ave Maria. This is a first, as Ave Maria is just completing its fourth year.
The graduating seniors and graduate program students are pleased to welcome Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and author of seven books on politics, history, and culture, as their honored guest speaker. The graduation ceremony will take place on May 12 followed by the University's custom of hosting a celebratory reception for the students, their families, and guests.
After the excitement and joy of graduation, each student is looking forward to the diverse opportunities that lay ahead of them.
The University will offer its fourth year of summer courses to students who are able to stay and continue their Ave Maria education. Of particular note, are the intensive language programs in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
A women's household is organizing a pilgrimage to Italy. This will take place early in the summer before three of the members travel to England for annual work in the television productions of Wimbledon.
Lois Owen (senior), will also be traveling abroad where she will teach English in the Ukraine. Lois volunteered for the position through the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation. Her students will be seminarians and theology students from the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Many students will not be traveling quite so far, but are planning on moving back to their homes and participating in various summer programs and working in the local communities. One junior from Wisconsin, Sarah Hofkes, will be living with family over the summer and is hoping to guide tours through a local agricultural manufacturing attraction, which draws travelers from across the region. She hopes to earn some spending money for the fall semester when she will be in Austria for Ave Maria's study abroad program.
Another graduating senior, John Wehrly, is preparing to begin studies toward a J.D. (Juris Doctor) at the University of St. Thomas, School of Law, in Minnesota. His path toward graduate studies is a common path for Ave Maria students. Rebecca Moses, a 2006 Ave Maria graduate, is heading to medical school in West Virginia. Amanda Guilinger will be studying library science in Colorado. The list of graduate schools ranges from Ave Maria Graduate School of Theology (soon to be located in Ave Maria Town) to a Pontifical University in Rome.
Several students will be going to diocesan seminaries, joining religious orders and getting married. In addition, many students will be moving into their first years in the working force.
Regardless of the particular paths that the students will walk upon after May 12, each will be stepping out having received an education in the liberal arts and in their respective majors which will enable them to live lives truly informed by Truth. The inquiries that shaped their studies and the truth that they encountered will necessarily have an effect upon the type of lives they lead in the future. The work, activity, and study they pursue after graduation is a continuation of something that was made their own at Ave Maria: an ability to seek truth and to subsequently make prudential decisions that form and are rooted in virtue and in the light of faith. The students bear in mind Christ's words: "You are the light of the world, let your light shine before men."
To learn more about Ave Maria's curriculum which takes shape from the abiding tradition of Catholic thought, please visit AveMaria.edu or please contact the Office of Admissions at 877-AVE-UNIV to obtain information or schedule a visit to campus.