There is a certain poetic beauty and fruitfulness that are brought about by the interplay of the old and the new. The new greets the old and somehow the old becomes new again in time.
The students at Ave Maria University are in the midst of encountering this dance of the old and the new in an interpersonal context. Several students are returning from a semester of studying in Austria and Nicaragua. Most will be greeted as "old friends," but the 127 new freshmen from the fall of 2006 are eager to meet these "new" returning students. Likewise, the freshmen are already semester veteran's, but will be greeted by the study abroad students as "new" members of the University family. Together they will eventually become the older experienced students ready to greet visitors and new students in the future.
The same encounter of the old with the new is occurring at Ave Maria in a number of other regards as well. The year 2007 will bring many new events and changes to the four year old university which is currently based in Naples, Florida. The long awaited "permanent campus" and Ave Maria town are slated to be open in the fall. Students, faculty, staff, and founders are among many who have been watching with eager expectation as the construction has quickly progressed especially in recent months. The Oratory, Science, Math, and Technology Building, Central Plant, Library, Student Activities Center, and Undergraduate Housing are quickly taking shape. Those who have recently visited the new campus are excited to report that the "shape" they are taking is even more breathtaking than the photos express. The Ave Maria website, www.avemaria.edu, is updated with photos and information on the progress of the campus construction.
It must be noted though that a certain amount of the excitement about the new campus is not simply that it is "new," but that it will allow for the expansion of something that has already been well established. The vision and curriculum of Ave Maria University will be the "old" that meets the "new" campus in the fall of 2007. The University is founded upon the intellectual and academic habits and pursuits that are in the abiding tradition of Catholic education. By the time the move takes place, the University will have already seen three undergraduate classes receive their bachelor's degrees, two graduate classes receive their master's degree, and a number of students well on their way to earning their doctorate. This short but significant history of the University will be the firm foundation which is continued on the new campus.
The curriculum itself also participates in this interplay of the old and the new; indeed, this is where the most fruitful dialogue takes place. The core curriculum of liberal arts studies introduces students to some of the most notable thinkers and ideas of antiquity as well as to important contemporary figures and trends. Students not only see the dialogue that takes place between the two worlds, but as burgeoning thinkers themselves, students place an active role in the important dialogue that takes place in the pursuit of wisdom. By studying and participating in this tradition of the liberal arts and by continuing on to one of ten major specific studies, students bring the wisdom they gain to bear on issues which face them today and in the future…including where their studies will carry them. Ave Maria alumni are already becoming more integral members of contemporary society within their various professions. Graduates of the University are now fulfilling a number of different roles including: teaching across the country, advising at a residential treatment center, office, professional, and journalism work, parish and youth ministry, administration in higher education, international graduate studies, as well as the priesthood and religious life.
We welcome you, whether you are a "new" face or whether we have met you in the past, to come visit Ave Maria University. A visit gives prospective students the opportunity to sit in on classes with the faculty who may, one day teach them, to meet and spend time with the students who may become their classmates, to discuss the admissions process with their admissions counselor, and most importantly to experience "life at Ave Maria University."
Please contact Mrs. Susan Nutt, Visitor Coordinator, at 239-280-2556 to schedule an individual visit or to register for the Open House Weekend on February 9-11.
More information about the curriculum, the application process, and the permanent campus are available at www.avemaria.edu or by calling the Office of Admissions at 877-AVE-UNIV.