Ave Maria University Receives Four Million Dollar Gift and Uncharitable Criticism
Charity calls us to be charitable, beginning with one another. It calls us to love all men and women as the Lord does.
Ave Maria is one of several dynamically faithful Catholic Colleges preparing future Catholic leaders. I have great respect for the courage shown by the University founder, the leadership of its President and the scholarship and dedication of those who are gathering together to build this new University dedicated to Our Lady.
I am convinced that the most important work being done in this new missionary age is the preparation of the next generation of faithful, well educated young Catholic men and women, prepared to respond to the call to every Christian vocation and to participate in the mission of the Church. It is these men and women, now being prepared at places like Ave Maria, who will carry on the work of the Church well into the Third Millennium making it into a new missionary age of the Church.
Our work as Catholics called to rebuild the Church and transform the culture will take a long time given the devastation of the last one hundred years. We need “living stones”, young women and men in love with the Lord and the Church and truly educated in the Truth which alone sets us free to take up the charge. They will carry on the New Evangelization through their work and their witness of life. Ave Maria is one of several dynamically faithful Catholic Colleges preparing future Catholic leaders. I have great respect for the courage shown by the University founder, the leadership of its President and the scholarship and dedication of those who are gathering together to build this new University dedicated to Our Lady.
My next response was to find out more about the donor and how this gift would be used. I discovered that B. Thomas Golisano is the founder and Chairman of Paychex, Inc. I used Paychex in my work in starting organizations in the past but never knew who founded it. I also discovered that he owns the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, so I was not surprised to read that the funds will be used to build an athletic facility. Mr. Golisano told the Press, "I am pleased to contribute to this exciting new endeavor at Ave Maria University….The new field house will be an integral part of the University's future growth and vitality. Athletic programs, sport teams, wellness activities and clubs help to round out the college experience for students and their families and more importantly, keep young minds engaged and healthy."
I have spent the last few months getting back into shape and rediscovering the essential importance of living an integrated and healthy lifestyle. This was necessary after years of pursuing a graduate degree during which I simply fell apart physically. One of the things I admire most about Ave Maria is their commitment to helping those who study there and live in the community of faith on campus to develop good habits of both body and soul. Their focus on virtue and holiness is as inspiring as it is practical. Finally, I discovered the impressive philanthropy of Mr. Golisano, much of which is done through the “Golisano Foundation” which assists people with learning disabilities. Clearly this is a man who through his giving, his charity, has helped many of the “poor” and is to be commended for that work.
However, it was what I discovered next online which prompted this article. I found petty, vicious attacks against Ave Maria for accepting the gift published in certain segments of the Catholic blogosphere. It appears that Mr. Golisano, like most of us reading this article, is a work in progress. His long life reveals that he held some positions in the past which do not comport with those which he holds today. Some within certain segments of the Catholic blogging community were only too eager to point out those positions of the past. However, they took another step; they attacked the man’s motives and attacked Ave Maria for accepting his charity so as to help fund their work of forming young men and women in Charity. First, I became angry, and then I grew sad.
I immediately wrote to their President, Nick Healy, to congratulate him and to encourage him. I was sure he had seen these negative attacks. I share an excerpt from my E-Mail in order to then express some thoughts for us to consider together:
“…You have heard the expression about water rolling off the backs of ducks...that is how you and the founder of the University, Tom Monaghan, should approach the ever annoying peanut gallery of whining negative critics in some of our own circles. Let it roll off your back and rejoice in the Lord who has blessed you with so many gifts. CONGRATULATIONS!
Securing this gift from Tom Golisano is wonderful news for the thousands of faithful young Catholics and others who will grow in their ability to serve the Church - called into the world - while living and studying there through his generosity! It is also a great example of a Catholic vision of evangelization and mission. ...
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