Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James P Barber

Committee Member

Pamela L Eddy

Committee Member

Leslie W Grant


In this study, I focused on the history of Ave Maria University during its formative years in Florida from 2003 to 2011 to answer the research question: How did a new, conservative Catholic university emerge in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century? Understanding the history and culture of Ave Maria informs how the institution came about and is still operational today, even when other small institutions are closing their doors. The study utilized a historical narrative approach to uncover and document Ave Maria’s early history, the physical transition of moving campus locations twice, the accreditation process, and the university’s organizational culture. The study applied Edgar Schein’s model of organizational culture to discover institutional insights from artifacts, espoused values, and basic underlying assumptions. The results yielded recommendations on the importance of long-term financial stability, the significance of a values-based mission, the importance of faculty and staff fit, and alignment of the curriculum with the mission.



© The Author