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.
Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK-3 program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills. The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by Sept. 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.
Naples club meets for final time, honor former advisor
The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) held their final Fun Night April 28 at Naples Beach. Students attended Mass at St. Ann Parish before enjoying a beautiful sunset in memory of Shelley Raley, with Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, and teacher Laura Roszkowski. Ralley, who passed away in 2018 was the group moderator and each of the club members had sunflowers in her honor. The YACHT Club is an instrumental component of the Campus Ministry Program. The mission of the club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others. Students plan and implement retreats, prayers services, liturgies and other events/services. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community.
Neumann Track relay places 2nd at States
The St. John Neumann Catholic High School boys track 4×100 relay team was the FHSAA 1A State Runnerup May 4 during the Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Naples relay team placed second with a school record-breaking time of 42.23. The runners were Daniel DeSantis, Justin Mathieu, JP Raiger and Alex Myrin. No long after, Mathieu later placed second in the 1A Long Jump finals. Way to Go Celtics!
Camp Mercy in Sarasota
St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be hosting Camp Mercy 2019 for the third year in a row from June 24-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.. This service-oriented summer camp is for children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. The cost is $75 for the week and includes a camp t-shirt. Registration is required by June 1. For more information, please call 941-378-1703 ext. 300 or visit www.churchofstpatrick.org/campmercy.
Catholic Center May Crowning
On May 2, the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center gathered for a May Crowning ceremony led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The ceremony included a few songs and a Litany to Our Lady. In the Catholic tradition, May is devoted to Our Lady and many Diocesan parishes and a retreat center are dedicated to Mary.
Teacher, students earn Excellence in Education awards
On April 29, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Awards ceremony took place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The chamber recognized educators and students in 30 Cape Coral elementary, middle and high schools. St. Andrew Catholic School Art teacher, Diana Villadolid, and eighth grader, Jackalyn Flynn, were honored for excellence as educator and student. Villadolid has taught Art at St. Andrew for 15 years. She facilitates the students’ participation in community art events such as those sponsored by the Alliance of the Arts and the Edison Ford Estate. She also serves as the school’s Marketing Director. Jackalyn Flynn will be graduating from St. Andrew Catholic School in May and has won awards for tennis (Cape Coral Parks and Recreation-First Place), soccer (SACS First Place team), art (Alliance of the Arts), and a three-time Sunshine State Luncheon attendee for achieving top levels in reading. She plans to attend Bishop Verot High School. She would enjoy becoming a writer or story editor someday.
Donation to Catholic Charities
The Venice Yacht Club Foundation recently presented a check for $5,000 to support the Family Haven of Catholic Charities which helps families in South Sarasota County transition from being homeless to finding more permanent housing.
Ave Maria University graduation
Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for the Ave Maria University graduating class on May 3 in Ave Maria. The Bishop encourages the graduates to carry Christ with them always beyond college and into the next phase in their lives. Having the Lord by their side will give them the strength to overcome any obstacle they may face in the future.
VBS in Fort Myers June 24-28
St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers is hosting the “ROAR! Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School from June 24-28. It is a week of fun, games, snacks, crafts, and learning more about our faith! The cost is $30 per child, or $70 per family. Registration forms are found at www.stfrancisfm.org. Please all 239-246-2635 for more details. Register early as space is limited and VBS usually fills up!