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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Feb 28, 2018
Filed under In the News

How One Catholic Businessman Built A Whole Town In Florida Named After Our Lady

Located about 20 miles from Naples, Florida, is a small town with a BIG vision. This town is called Ave Maria, FL.

The Town of Ave Maria was planned and developed by the Founder of Domino’s Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, Thomas S. Monaghan (in partnership with a local developer). Consisting of approximately 10,000 acres, the town was designed around a central church and encompasses Ave Maria University – a Catholic liberal arts university on 750 acres which Monaghan founded that was relocated from Ypsilanti, Michigan, which was also home to the first ever Domino’s Pizza.

After selling Domino’s Pizza in 1998, Monaghan, who was raised in a Catholic orphanage, poured hundreds of millions into the university and the town growing up around it. There are plans to build up to 18,000 homes in the town. And while the grand vision of the project was slowed by the housing crash in Florida during the recent recession, the project has picked up steam, with Ave Maria ranked first in terms of Southern Florida community starts last year, according to MetroStudy.

Monaghan is also the Founder of Ave Maria School of Law, which is located in Naples, Florida near the Vineyards community. It is a separate institution from Ave Maria University but shares the mission of training future generations to be leaders in society and the Church.

Tom Monaghan is an amazing example of how wealth, and those who have it, can accomplish great things and serve an important role in building up the Church. In addition to all of his business endeavors, Monaghan is also the founder of Legatus, the world’s premier membership organization for Catholic business leaders.


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