NAPLES, Fla., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Board of Governors of Ave Maria School of Law (AMSOL) has voted to move the law school from its current location in Ann Arbor, Mich., to the town of Ave Maria, Fla., located between Naples and Immokalee. The school will open on a site in the new Collier County town of Ave Maria, in the fall of 2009. After almost five years of discussions and research about the feasibility of relocating, the Board of Governors determined that moving to Ave Maria, Fla., will give the Law School its best opportunity to thrive and continue fulfilling its unique mission of educating outstanding lawyers in the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Board also noted its first step is to begin the process of securing the acquiescence of the American Bar Association (ABA) for the move. "In roughly seven years in Michigan, Ave Maria has become a tremendously successful law school, achieving full ABA accreditation in the shortest time possible and graduating lawyers who are setting a very high standard in terms of bar exam passage rates and job placement," said Bernard Dobranski, Ave Maria School of Law President and Dean. "The Board believes significant future success will be found in Southwest Florida where the Law School will be co-located with a new and vibrant Catholic university in one of the fastest growing regions in the country. This will allow the Law School the unparalleled opportunity to accelerate its efforts to become a premier educational institution, integrating strong legal fundamentals with a deep understanding of the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition." Since its inception, the Law School has sought to provide a rigorous legal education characterized by a commitment to justice, academic excellence, and the highest ethical and moral standards, in the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Inspired by Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio, Ave Maria offers an education characterized by the harmony of faith and reason. In its seven year existence, Ave Maria has enrolled students from 49 states and abroad, and from more than 200 colleges and universities. In 2005, the Law School received full accreditation by the American Bar Association. Ave Maria School of Law was founded in 1999 through the vision and generous financial backing of Thomas S. Monaghan, Ave Maria School of Law Chairman of the Board, and founder of Domino's Pizza. "I am extremely pleased that the Law School plans to move its campus to Ave Maria, Fla.," said Monaghan. "The Law School has achieved much success in Michigan and I believe it will achieve even more in its new location. What makes our school unique is its mission. It is different from any other law school. It is more than having a national and international reach. It is more than providing the finest in legal education. It is about serving the common good and serving our Lord." Although not affiliated with Ave Maria University, it is anticipated that the law school will enjoy mutually beneficial relationships with the University and the new town of Ave Maria. With its planned relocation, Ave Maria School of Law will not only be a part of one of the most thriving areas of the country, but it will also be presented with new and expanded opportunities for post-graduation employment and student externships, as well as significant opportunities to continue developing its clinical offerings. "I believe that the School's new location will afford our students a wide range of opportunities for in-depth practical legal experience and skills training. Our externship program can flourish within a welcoming legal community, our clinical programs can grow and diversify as they serve those in need in Southwest Florida, and our skills programs can be strengthened by involving the wealth of legal talent to be found in the surrounding communities," said Eugene Milhizer, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Collier County is among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation, experiencing a 73% growth in population between 1993 and 2005 alone. Demographic projections call for as much as a tripling of the County's population in the next 25 years. Based on these growth factors, Ave Maria's Board of Governors is very optimistic that students and graduates will have opportunities to become a vital part, and participate actively, in the area's expanding legal community. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) agrees that the Law School's relocation will have a positive impact on Southwest Florida. "The Ave Maria School of Law brings to Collier County a commitment to excellence in education and creates an opportunity for those wishing to pursue a law degree in Southwest Florida. This relocation marks a new and promising era for the Law School and the community. I eagerly welcome the school to its new home and look forward to its many successes," said Diaz-Balart. Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta echoes the thoughts of Congressman Diaz-Balart saying, "The economic and educational well being of Collier County received yet another significant boost today with the announcement that Ave Maria School of Law, currently located in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be relocating to Collier County. The addition of these students and the supporting faculty will have a positive impact on Eastern Collier County." Members of Collier County's bar also mirror the views that Ave Maria School of Law will have a positive impact on the region. "As Southwest Florida continues its rapid growth, the need for well-trained lawyers will only increase," said Timothy G. Hains, Partner, Quarles & Brady, L.L.P. in Naples, Fla., and past president of the Collier County Bar Association. "We welcome Ave Maria School of Law to the area, and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship." Ave Maria School of Law currently has 380 enrolled students, 18 fulltime faculty members, in addition to Judge Robert H. Bork, former Circuit Court Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "Ave Maria is committed to excellence, both in educating students for successful legal careers and in appreciating the moral foundations of law. As the Law School relocates and matures, it will enhance its reputation as a school of real distinction," said Bork. The Law School provides students with a vibrant professional and collegial atmosphere in which to pursue the study of law. Ave Maria and more than 20 student organizations sponsor a wide variety of activities throughout the academic year, including lectures, debates, and athletic and social events.
SOURCE Ave Maria School of Law