BY CHRISTINA WHITE
THE multi-millionaire founder of one of America's most famous pizza chains has made a substantial donation towards the building of a new Catholic university.
Thin Monaghan, who sold his Domino's Pizza chain in 1998, is putting $200 million toward the opening of the Ave Maria University outside Naples, Florida.
Fr Joseph Fessio, the Jesuit head of Ignatius Press has been appointed as chancellor. Michael Healy, a former dean at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, will be the university's provost. The Ave Maria University, together with a school and town, is expected to be completed by 2006 and will effectively replace the Ave Maria Catholic college in Michigan. Mr Monaghan, who is chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation, said the university was ideally placed to meet the needs of the Catholic population.
lie said: '1 can't think of a better place than one of the fastest-growing areas in the country."
Fr Fessio said the new university would be positioned to help prepare the growing Hispanic Catholic population "for future leadership roles". Florida's proximity to Central America was beneficial because Ave Maria already operates an international campus in Nicaragua, he added.
Ave Maria University will be the first major new Catholic university in the United States in 40 years. Its town will have an integrated townuniversity centre and will be developed in phases in conjunction with the school. Construction on the 750 acre campus has already begun.
Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, the brother of the US President George W Bush, said he was "very proud that students will be able to obtain an education with the highest academic standards and with a firm grounding in religious and moral values".
The university will have an initial intake of 650 students expected to increase to 5,000.