AMU Names Bishop Dewane and Cardinal Maida to Board

Published on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 23:12

The local bishop now has a seat on the Ave Maria University board of trustees. The university announced Wednesday that it has named Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane as an ex officio member of its board and also elected retired Cardinal Adam Maida as a trustee.

Bishop Dewane had been advised in advance that he would be elected to the board, according to AMU President Nick Healy, and was officially informed of the board's action after it occurred Tuesday.

"As Bishop of the Diocese of Venice it is an honor to be named to the Board of Trustees of Ave Maria University," Bishop Dewane said in a statement issued by the university.  "I look forward to being of assistance in that capacity as Ave Maria University continues to grow."

The university says that having Bishop Dewane and Cardinal Maida on the board is a reunion of sorts for the two prelates as Cardinal Maida ordained Bishop Dewane as a priest in 1988.

University Chancellor Tom Monaghan said he was grateful to have the two church leaders on the board of trustees.

"Moral and spiritual guidance are pillars of our education philosophy at Ave Maria University," Mr. Monaghan said. "We are extremely fortunate, and very humbled, to have Cardinal Maida and Bishop Dewane join the university's board of trustees.  Their invaluable experience as leaders and pastors will assuredly help shape the future of Ave Maria University."

In addition to the two appointments to the board, AMU also announced that current board member Michael Timmis has been named chairman, taking over from John F. Donahue.

The designation of a seat on the board of trustees to be occupied by the Bishop of Venice appears to signal a closer relationship between the university and the diocese, and might bring the school a step closer to being permitted by the Church to call itself a Catholic university. Bishop Dewane has the sole authority to make such a determination for schools in his diocese.

News of the two appointments was first reported here on the website of the Cardinal Newman Society, which publishes The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. "By reserving a seat for the Bishop of Venice on the university’s board of trustees," society president Patrick J. Reilly said, "Ave Maria has reaffirmed to prospective students and all who currently have a stake in the university its extraordinary commitment to a robust Catholic identity."