Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tom Monaghan's plea for more money to cover rapidly escalating costs of AMU construction

1025Commons Circle
Naples, FL 34119
October 20, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. X
Dear Mr. & Mrs. X
I am enclosing bookplates especially designed with your name inscribed on them, which I would like you to envision affixed permanently to their side front cover of one of our books we need to acquire for student and faculty use at the Ave Maria University Library.
This traditional bookplate will state that the book has been donated to Ave Maria University's Library by you or in the name of someone you admire. I have also enclosed two blank ookplates, in case you wish to memorialize one or more members of your family, a beloved friend, or perhaps an admired priest or religious.
You can fill in whatever you wish on the blank plates. We have found that Ave Maria University bookplates can be a very important source of funding, freeing up dollars for our building program.

Please let me explain.

Several months have past since you last heard from me, and much good has been accomplished at AMU, in fact largely due to both your financial support and prayers.
At the same time, I have to say that these months have not been kind to our carefully planned budget.
Therefore, I am writing to solicit your further prayer support, as we face significant new challenges in the building of our new campus.
Construction costs, already up 50% since the project's inception, are poised to go up even further in the next two years, in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricanes that have caused a new spike in demand for raw materials in our region.
This hampers our ability to take on new students as quickly as hoped. We added over 100 new students this year, and with rising construction costs, we may not be able to build as many new dorms on the new campus as we need. Remarkably, such is the popularity of what we are offering at AMU among young Catholics that the new dormitories will be completely full when, God willing, they open in August 2007, less than two years from today!
The construction increases, and resulting reallocation of funds has one particularly troubling result: we cannot acquire new library books in the way we had hoped to make AMU's Library one of the nation's most complete-one that would serve as a magnet to draw the best Catholic faculty and young graduate students, and nourish our undergraduates in the Faith. We are actively seeking donors to help us construct all the buildings desired for Phase I of the new campus, as my personal funding is not sufficient, due to the increase in construction costs mentioned earlier. Thus, we are turning to you for help with our library acquisitions.
If something isn't done to overcome this cash crunch, we may have to pass up the opportunity to purchase additional volumes, which would significantly enhance our collection and reputation among Catholic universities.
You can see, then, how vital it is to further improve our University Library. And yet, the most important reason is its value to the academic quality of our University.
For this reason, I am hoping and praying that we can continue to count on you as a regular financial supporter, if possible even this very day.
I am suggesting a donation of anywhere from $50 per book plate for one volume, to perhaps, if your finances allow, up to $5,000 for a matching set of books (for example, collections of literary works or multi-volume historical books of value to the Church).
With the bookplate or bookplates that your gift would purchase, for generations to come students at Ave Maria University will know that you helped make their vibrantly Catholic education possible. What a lasting testament this would be to your unwavering dedication to the Church.
As I have said to you before, AMU was founded as a direct response to the crisis of faith that threatens to undermine the Church you and I both hold dear. Far too many Catholics have rejected the Truth to embrace of our post-Christian culture.
In a completely unique way, Library collections of the greatest books and texts enable us to act urgently to retain the rich intellectual tradition of the Church. If we don't have a great Library, but settle only for an adequate one, we are not doing our best, as I see things, to protect our beloved Church.

People say that the Church has always withstood the challenges and crises of previous centuries and that is very true, but the Church has done so primarily through the workings of God's grace in human beings who understand His holy will.
I believe God is working through AMU to help our marvelous but troubled nation, Mr. & Mrs. X.
While we have had the enthusiastic support of notables like Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who singled out Ave Maria University for its high academic standards and "firm grounding in religious and moral values," we need you, we need your family and we need your good friends if we are to make this University a success.
Would you please prayerfully consider a special gift, which would enable us to purchase new books for the University Library? '
Please keep in mind that the very best way to integrate faith and learning is by studying the classics of theology, philosophy, literature, history and the sciences from a Catholic perspective, wherever that is possible.
It is Catholic scholars who largely preserved the written word during the Dark Ages, including Sacred Scripture itself. In our new threatening Dark Age, which our new Holy Father has said in no uncertain terms is one of the greatest challenges in the Church's history, you and I must not shrink from the task God has put before us.
And, let me assure you, if we stay faithful, God will not abandon us. He will bless the work of Ave Maria University and if you could observe any number of our 430 students on any given day or evening studying in our Library, you would be convinced anew of this truth!
Please help if you possibly can. Without the best resources, it will be difficult to provide our students with the best education they so richly deserve and so urgently require before they face the world, which is so often at odds with the teachings of our Faith.
Although I am suggesting a book plate (or plates) and suggesting gifts ranging from $50 on up to $5,000 and beyond, of course any gift you can spare, larger or smaller according to your means, is a gift that will be gratefully welcomed.
If you find you are able to send $250 or more in response to my appeal, your name will be inscribed on a plaque, which will be on permanent display in the Ave Maria University Library.

We can recognize you, or remember your loved ones, with plaques and book plates that will be a fixture in our Library for generations to come, but St. Paul tells us that we cannot describe how God will recognize you for your fidelity to Christ and His Church.
Thank you very much for all your past support.
God bless you,
Thomas S. Monaghan
Founder and Chancellor
P.S. Our Provost, Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, is recently back from Rome, where he was privileged to spend time with the Pope. When he saw the Holy Father, Benedict's first words to him were, "Ah, Fr. Fessio, and how is Ave Maria doing?" It is only thanks to you and those like you that Father could give him a positive answer. May his answer, the next time he sees the Pope, include the news that the Ave Maria University Library has already distinguished itself due to its wonderful collection. With your help today, it will be so.


At 3:57 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

the fact that monaghan has NOWHERE NEAR the money needed for the full plans down there has always been one of the dirtly little secrets...

well, aparently it's crunch time nowand they can't hide it anymore.

don't you love the little postscript about the fessio-holy father "exchange"? I'm sure Benedict is deeply worried about AMU's library.


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