Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, founded by Pizza baron Tom Monaghan, is on its last leg. There are lots of controversies swirling about his educational ventures, but folks aren’t paying much attention to this on. Chronicle of Higher Education reports, in Amen for a Catholic Campus, that the Ypsilanti campus is on its last leg. It has one remaining student, and a small group of faculty helping her get through her senior year. The president is reduced to shoveling snow.
After the decision was made to build a new university in Florida, Mr. Monaghan and his board discussed keeping the Ypsilanti college open as a branch campus. But in 2002, they decided to close the college, a decision that angered some professors and students. The college’s administration promised that the institution would remain open until all enrolled students had graduated.
Most chose to leave. The group that stayed behind has dwindled each year (at its high point, the college had more than 200 students). Five students were expected to return this fall. That number dropped to three over the summer, then to two. While two students are still technically enrolled, only Angele Brereton, a senior, attends class regularly.
The last Ave Maria College student is quiet, serious, and exceedingly polite. When asked if she misses the social aspect of college, she tilts her head to the side, as if this is a strange question. “No,” she says. “It’s easier to concentrate without so many people around.”