Ave Maria University announces new President

Staff Report

Christopher P. Ice has been elected as the third president of Ave Maria University by the Board of Trustees in an announcement made Nov. 8. Ice will begin his presidency on January 1, 2020.

Ice comes to the University with a deep passion for Catholic, liberal arts education, many years of experience as an executive in the corporate and private sectors as well as Catholic non-profit organizations, with an impressive background of fundraising in Catholic higher education at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He currently serves as chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri), a position he has held since 2017. Ice and his wife, Mary, are parents of seven children ages 10 to 29, and grandparents of one.

“Ave Maria University is fortunate to have a leader of Chris Ice’s caliber who is wholeheartedly committed to our Catholic mission,” said Patrick Rainey, Chairman of the Board. “We are fully confident he will build on the fine foundation that our founder, Tom Monaghan, and President Jim Towey have put in place, and take the University to new heights.”

Towey is in his ninth year as president of Ave Maria University. Upon his announcement to step down in 2020, the University conducted a national search for his successor, attracting dozens of highly qualified applicants. After a search committee of the Board interviewed the finest of these individuals, the Board met on Nov. 7 to elect Ice.

“It is an honor to be chosen to lead this great Catholic university,” Ice said. “I look forward to immersing myself in campus life and within the town of Ave Maria.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who is a non-voting member of the Board, praised the Board’s choice of Ice, noting that the new President brings the right qualities necessary to lead Ave Maria University into the future.

The Bishop also praised Towey for his tenure as president which helped the institution become recognized as a Catholic University and his development of course selection and the establishment of the Mother Teresa Program and Museum.

Ave Maria University was founded in 2003 on a temporary campus in Naples and moved to its permanent campus in the fall of 2007. Enrollment has nearly tripled since that time, with the current undergraduate population numbering 1,082 students, as have the number of majors offered to students, which now stands at 32 and includes nursing, biochemistry, biology, theology, business administration and education.

Ice’s formal inauguration as president will take place later this academic year on a date to be determined.