Monday, June 12, 2006

JPII Scholarship Founders Drop Support...

Torgo received this:

text version follows:

May 18, 2006

Dear Board of Governors Member,

We write to you for a purpose once unthinkable to us. Over five years ago, we were brought together by a shared vision – the promise of a truly Catholic law school that would attract exemplary people of faith. This vision presented such promise that over seventy students committed to attend even when construction zones far outnumbered classrooms. Through three pioneering years, we grew to truly love both the institution we attended and those who make it what it is. That love and pride for Ave Maria led the four of us to found the first Ave Maria Alumni scholarship – the John Paul II Leadership Award and Scholarship. The Award, along with a $1,000 Scholarship, is presented annually at Commencement to a student who exemplifies the qualities of John Paul II. Given our great love for Ave Maria, it is with deep regret that we now indefinitely suspend presentation of the Award during the Commencement exercises.

Recent events, where the Board has chosen not to directly engage Faculty or the elected members of the Alumni Association on very serious issues - as well as to give only limited response to current students, have troubled us greatly. You are each accomplished and prominent individuals. However, you must understand that we gained an incredible respect for the Ave Maria Faculty from our daily contact with them during our three years there. More than anyone, they are the law school to so many of us. Given that, we fail to understand your unwillingness to discuss gravely serious topics of concern in a formal way with the Faculty, and are further puzzled by your disregard of similar Alumni and Student concerns.

For many of us, the treatment of Faculty, Students and Alumni is baffling, not because of the move to Florida, but because of how partners in the great Ave Maria School of Law enterprise have been cast aside. The Ave Maria School of Law is a Christian community first and foremost, and we feel that any significant decision about the school should be made with a collective voice. If such agreement cannot be reached on any such issue, we cannot understand why it would be pursued even in the face of serious and irreparable damage to the Community.

We do not make our decision lightly, but with much prayer and discussion. We hope you will take our concerns to heart. This year, and for the foreseeable future, we will present the Award to a worthy student independent of the law school. We look forward to a day when we can renew presentation of the Award and Scholarship at Commencement. We will continue to pray for the school and all entrusted with its care.

In Christ,

John Paul II Leadership Award and Scholarship Founders – Class of 2003

Saturday, June 10, 2006

AMSL Alumni Assoc. Development Committee has no Alumni on it

Torgo received a copy of this letter written by Chris McGowan, who was formerly the chair of the alumni assoc. development committee:

May 31, 2006

Dear Mr. Negri:

I regret to inform you that after much deliberation, I can no longer, in good conscience, lead the effort to solicit financial gifts from our fellow alumni for the Ave Maria School of Law’s Annual Alumni Giving Campaign.

As the volunteer Chair of the Alumni Association’s Development Committee, achieving our rank and distinction as first in the nation for percentage of alumni participating in planned giving served to confirm the passion our alumni have for AMSL, and was a source of satisfaction for me personally. Furthermore, I am proud of my role as a student in conceiving the Graduate’s Grotto, initiating and executing the placement of the engraved names of the inaugural graduates on the library study carrels, and, after graduation, participating in the creation and underwriting of the first alumni scholarship. Like you, I have also labored to assist efforts to recruit qualified students and help graduates secure permanent employment.

Jason, suffice it to say, whether it was in my capacity as the President of the Student Bar Association, as a member of the Honor Board, as the student commencement speaker in 2003, or now as a graduate of AMSL, I have always done my very best to be a positive and steadfast reflection of the exceptional people and the laudable ideals the Ave Maria School of Law once embraced. Unfortunately, developments at the law school over the past year have caused me a great deal of discomfort, and I am no longer willing to financially support this institution. As such, I have concluded that it would be inappropriate for me to ask others to do so.

While it is beyond disheartening to craft this correspondence, so long as the law school’s leadership continues to demonstrate what I consider cavalier and dismissive attitudes toward the legitimate concerns of our students, faculty, and alumni, I must respectfully retreat from actively supporting the Ave Maria School of Law financially. It is my sincere hope that our leaders will eventually alter their present course, actively perform the fiduciary duty that they are morally and legally obligated to execute, and ultimately reengage AMSL’s most ardent supporters.

Please allow me to add that I have enjoyed working with our Director of Development, Mr. Dave Kelley. I have found Mr. Kelley to be a cordial, committed, and capable gentlemen, and only wish circumstances would allow our continued collaboration on behalf of AMSL. While I do not presently intend to resign from the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, should you, with the support of the Alumni Board, believe our association and AMSL would be best served by my resignation, I will submit it without delay.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge your exceptional service and leadership as our Alumni Association President. Very few people have access to the comprehensive information you possess, and therefore lack the informed perspective you command on these many difficult issues. My respect for your leadership, as well as your considerable discretion with these sensitive issues has grown considerably as you have navigated these troubled and turbulent waters. You have earned and deserve the gratitude and appreciation of all alumni, as well as many others, for your tireless efforts to act in the best interests of our Alma Mater.


Christopher J. McGowan
Class of 2003

cc: Mr. Dave Kelley, Director of Development

This resignation makes the only remaining member of the Alumni Assoc. Development Committee to be Dave Kelly.

Consider this fact when reading the signature on the letter you received from that committee earlier this week.