NAPLES — Ave Maria School of Law announced, on May 15, at the school’s 21st commencement ceremony in the establishment of the Ave Maria Institute for Business Law, following the receipt of a substantial gift from Peter and Tatiana Cancro, long-time Ave Law supporters. This is the largest single gift in the school’s history, outside of previous gifts of school founder, Tom Monaghan. The Naples-based Catholic academic institution recently announced University of Mississippi Professor John Czarnetzky being named the new C.E.O and Dean of the law school.
The goal of the Business Law Institute is to become a national and global leader in the study, research, and practice of business law. The academic component of the program will be launched in August 2021. Long-range plans include hosting an international conference on business law, bringing together practitioners, academics, business leaders, and students. The business component of the institute will be spearheaded by Peter Cancro and Ave Maria School of Law founder and chairman of the board, Tom Monaghan.
“We are honored to continue supporting the growth and impact of this great law school with the creation of the Ave Maria School of Law Institute for Business Law. The opportunity to bring together business leaders, scholars, lawyers, and students to make a difference in the study of business law will be transformative for Ave Maria School of Law. It is a privilege to be a part of providing worthy students with scholarships to become great business lawyers,” stated Peter Cancro, Jersey Mike’s Founder and C.E.O.. Cancro served as commencement speaker at today’s ceremony during which the law school conferred upon him an honorary Juris Doctor degree.
Giving and making a difference in someone’s life has been the mission of Jersey Mike’s and Peter Cancro’s passion, from the beginning, when he bought his first sub shop at age 17. Since 2011, Jersey Mike’s Subs and customers across the country have rallied to raise more than $47 million for over 200 charities nationwide during the company’s Annual Month of Giving in March. Charity recipients have included hospitals, youth organizations, food banks, and more.
“We are deeply grateful to Peter and Tatiana Cancro for their continued generosity to Ave Maria School of Law. As the largest single external gift our law school has ever received in our 20-year history, it demonstrates the Cancro’s mission of ‘giving unconditionally to make a difference,’” according to Donna Heiser, APR, CFRE Chief Advancement & External Affairs Officer, Ave Maria School of Law. “The creation of the Institute for Business Law will have a profound impact on the future of Ave Maria Law and the students who will benefit from this extraordinary gift.”
The institute will provide opportunities for students to learn about the connection of the legal and business worlds, confronting emerging issues that may include franchising, compliance, commercial law, corporate governance, securities practice, federal tax planning, intellectual property, business ethics, and real estate.
For students, the program will be structured over two semesters during the academic year. The first semester will consist of seminars and classes, followed by an externship with potential placement in leading American corporations and law firms. Additional opportunities may include commercial law conferences and a scholars program. Those who are selected for this competitive program will participate in skills-based courses with a focus on drafting and negotiating agreements, structuring transactions, and counseling clients. At the completion of the program, students will receive a certificate recognizing them as an Ave Maria School of Law Institute for Business Law Scholar.
According to Eugene Milhizer, Ave Maria School of Law Professor and Interim President and Dean, “Service to the community will be an integral part of the Institute for Business Law and continue Mr. Cancro’s corporate and personal goal of giving unconditionally and Ave Maria Law’s mission of educating lawyers who view the law as a vocation.”
Currently, Ave Maria Law students provide over 1,200 pro-bono hours annually in service to others. The new Institute for Business Law will help the law school to continue this tradition by assisting students in learning transactional lawyering skills while providing clients and startup businesses with affordable, quality legal services. The institute may also provide legal assistance to entrepreneurs, artists, small businesses, and non-profit organizations that do not have the financial means to employ an attorney.
Tom Monaghan, Ave Maria School of Law founder and Chairman of the Board, stated, “I am extremely grateful to Peter and Tatiana for their continued generosity to Ave Maria School of Law, which has enabled so many veterans and other worthy students to attend law school. Their extraordinary generosity is not only impacting Ave Law students, but countless others who these future legal and corporate leaders will impact.” Monaghan continued, “Peter’s leadership of Jersey Mike’s serves as an example for other corporate leaders of the right way to run a company. And now through this generous gift, Ave Maria Law will be in a position to form the next generation of ethical and moral leaders in business who will change the world.”
Ave Maria School of Law was founded in Michigan in 1999 and in 2009 relocated to Naples, Florida. The school is an ABA-accredited Roman Catholic law school. It consistently ranks as The Princeton Review’s “Most Conservative Law School,” preLaw’s “Most Devout Law School,” a nationally designated Military Friendly® school, and as one of Princeton Review’s “Best Law Schools.”