Ave Maria School of Law was founded in 1999 through the generosity of Mr. Thomas S. Monaghan, a well-known philanthropist. Mr. Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and decided to use the profits to advance a number of important causes, including Catholic legal education. The Law School’s first class began studies in August 2000 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In August 2005, the Law School received full accreditation by the American Bar Association. Following a multi-year study, the Law School relocated to southwest Florida during the summer of 2009.

Ave Maria School of Law was envisioned as a law school that would provide a premier legal education enhanced by the Catholic intellectual tradition that recognizes the existence of objective moral truths and the inherent dignity of every human being. Ave Maria hopes that its graduates will see the practice of law not as a separate compartment of their lives, but as an extension of lives lived in conformance with objective moral truths. It seeks to accomplish this by developing in its students the knowledge and skills critical to the intelligent practice of the profession. The Law School further seeks to develop in its students a mature judgment informed by exposure to Catholic moral and social teachings through which those students can analyze and approach problems and issues they will face in practice.