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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Fun With Tom Monaghan

What can I say? I find Tom Monaghan to be fascinating. Here are some recent articles about him, with interesting quotes that I think are revealing of his character.

First, in this National Catholic Register interview, we start with an unnecessary superlative: "I think that Ave Maria University may be the most-watched private school in the country, and there's an obligation to make it work and do it right."

Then we get some architectural insight:

Tell me about your inspiration for the oratory.
I am a Frank Lloyd Wright and Fay Jones buff; Jones was Wright's most successful student. He was famous for his chapels, and I tried to take things that I liked about those chapels and make them bigger.

It's a work in progress and will take years to bring it to its full potential, but it was important to have a dominant symbol that said what we were. It's our "Golden Dome," that no other building on campus should come close to.
Then some commentary about the controversy over the Florida move:

What have been the biggest challenges in starting a university?
Moving from Michigan to Florida. There was a lot of resistance and negative press perpetrated by some who didn't want to move. It got very emotional.

Almost everyone had moved to Michigan from somewhere else, so it wasn't as if they were being taken away from their homestead.
Ugh, that last line is unpleasant. So if a person gives up a career path and a family life in another state in order to commit themselves to a life in Michigan, then they shouldn't complain when a year later he is abruptly told to move to Florida? Not only does this sound quite petulant, it also shows how out of touch Monaghan is with the people involved in Ave Maria.

More of the interview is here.

The second article is an interview conducted by a different newspaper, the Catholic Register. I've heard it said that Monaghan loves numbers, that numbers are all that matter to him (often to the detriment of quality). But this quote is so over-the-top, that if I wanted to satirize Monaghan, I don't know that I could have come up with it myself.
Monaghan has a 70-year plan to remake American Catholicism, all centred on Ave Maria University in Florida. Monaghan is chancellor and principal benefactor of the university, which anchors a vast real estate development constituting the town of Ave Maria in south-central Florida. Under Monaghan's plan, the seven-year-old university with more than 700 students will by 2077 produce 4,000 priests -- "good priests" -- 2,500 nuns, 400 "top notch" theologians, 8,000 teachers for U.S. Catholic schools, 1,500 school principals and 40,000 "strong Catholic marriages" which will in turn produce 150,000 children and 500,000 grandchildren.
Whoa, Monaghan has projected the number of grandchildren Ave Maria University will have produced by the year 2077. Bizarre.

And he's not done with franchising:
Monaghan believes one of his other projects, the Legatus network of Catholic business leaders, can help with founding and funding two- year liberal arts colleges. Monaghan calculates a small college can be founded with between $200,000 and $300,000. Operating the college would require another $200,000 a year beyond tuition fees, he said. "We can help start schools like that in the future. I mean my background is franchising. I think there's a place for two-year schools. Particularly in this economy," he said.
There are two other articles over at the National Catholic Register ("Our Lady's Oratory Beckons Pilgrims" and "What Makes Tom Monaghan Tick") but unfortunately, you need to be a subscriber to access them.

(A tip of the hat to commenter "an observer")

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