Ave Maria University (AMU) is a private Catholic university in southwest Florida, United States, founded in 2003. The university moved to its permanent campus, situated in the planned town of Ave Maria, 17 miles (27 km) east of Naples, Florida, in August 2007. Ave Maria University shares its history with the former Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, which was founded in 1998 and closed in 2007.
Tom Monaghan, Ave Maria's founder, has been criticized in the press for proposing that contraceptives, abortion, and pornography be banned from the university and the town itself. In 2007, Monaghan drew criticism from Catholics both inside and outside the university when he removed theologian Joseph Fessio as provost.
The current enrollment of Ave Maria University is 1,200 students, 679 undergraduates and 146 graduate students on the main campus as well as 375 postgrades law students at the Ave Maria School of Law. The university also has a satellite campus in Nicaragua called the Ave Maria University-Latin American Campus. The Ave Maria University fields athletic teams known as the Gyrenes. It is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes within The Sun Conference.
Academically, the university is rated in "Tier 2" by U.S. News & World Report, below 178 other liberal arts colleges in the US.
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