Ave Maria University / Ave Maria Town
An Amazing Achievement
Naples Daily News Staff, Naples, FL
By Daily News staff
Saturday, August 25, 2007
November 2002: Officials from Ave Maria University, then based in Michigan, and the Barron Collier Cos. publicly unveil plans to relocate the university to the middle of nowhere in Collier County and build a whole new town next door.
May 2005: Ground is broken.
Today: The first homeowners have moved in and the university prepares to convene classes Monday at that campus between Immokalee and Naples for nearly 400 students from more than 40 states, after holding classes for three years at an interim North Naples site.
It is nothing short of amazing.
Some might say miraculous.
It goes to show that when this development team says it’s going to do something, it does it — while heeding a development blueprint that respects the environment.
And remember, with up to 11,000 homes and 6,000 students coming, this is just the start.
To be sure, Ave Maria University has its work cut out — competing for students and winning over locals leery about the perception of a grand yet seriously religious and reclusive enclave.
It also has its opportunities — setting a sustainable tone for eastern Collier development and serving as a national hub of religious scholarly pursuits and dialogue.
The school and namesake town make friends of most visitors who make the trip. Seeing is a big part of believing.
This is about as close as creation — fashioning something from nothing — as we can get. Congratulations and best wishes for Ave Maria on this momentous occasion.