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Tom Monaghan

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Title: Tom Monaghan  
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Subject: Domino's Pizza, Ave Maria University, Pro-Am Sports System, Domino's Pizza Group, Mike Ilitch
Collection: 1937 Births, American Billionaires, American Chief Executives of Food Industry Companies, American Food Company Founders, American People of Irish Descent, American Philanthropists, American Roman Catholics, Ave Maria University, Businesspeople from Michigan, Detroit Tigers Owners, Domino's Pizza, Florida Republicans, Giving Pledgers, Living People, Major League Baseball Owners, Michigan Republicans, People from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Pizza Chain Founders, Roman Catholic Activists, United States Marines, University of Michigan Alumni
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Tom Monaghan

Tom Monaghan
Born (1937-03-25) March 25, 1937
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Alma mater University of Michigan
Spouse(s) Marjorie Zybach (1962-present, four children.)

Thomas Stephen "Tom" Monaghan (born March 25, 1937) is an American entrepreneur who founded Domino's Pizza in 1960. He owned the Detroit Tigers from 1983 to 1992.

Monaghan is Roman Catholic and sold Domino's in 1998 and subsequently dedicated his time and considerable fortune to Catholic causes. A champion of the pro-life movement and other conservative causes, Monaghan has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting them.[1]

He and his wife, Marjorie Zybach, whom he met while delivering a pizza, were married in 1962 and have four daughters Margaret, Susan, Mary and Barbara, they also have 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild as of 2014.


  • Early life 1
  • Domino's Pizza 2
  • Gyrene Burger Company 3
  • Leisure 4
    • Detroit Tigers 4.1
    • Frank Lloyd Wright 4.2
    • Other 4.3
  • Catholic philanthropy and activism 5
    • Catholic organizations 5.1
    • Ave Maria School of Law 5.2
    • Ave Maria College 5.3
    • Ave Maria University, Florida 5.4
    • Ave Maria Mutual Funds 5.5
    • Political support 5.6
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

After his father died when Monaghan was four years old,[2] Monaghan's mother had difficulties raising him alone, and at age six, in 1943, Monaghan and his younger brother ended up in an orphanage until their mother collected them again in 1949.[3] The orphanage, St. Joseph Home for Children in Jackson, Michigan, was run by the Felician Sisters of Livonia; one of the nuns there inspired his devotion to the Catholic faith and he later entered a minor seminary in Mission, B.C., with the desire to eventually become a priest. Subsequently, he was expelled from the seminary for a series of disciplinary infractions.[1]

Monaghan lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his aunt and uncle while he attended St. Thomas High School; he graduated in 1955.[4] In 1956, Monaghan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps by mistake; he had meant to join the Army.[3] He received an honorable discharge in 1959.

Domino's Pizza

Monaghan returned to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1959, and enrolled in the University of Michigan, intending to become an architect.[3] While still a student, he and his brother James borrowed $900 to purchase a small pizza store called DomiNick's in Ypsilanti, Michigan. "I started out in architecture school, and got into the pizza business to pay my way through school,” he has said. “The pizza business was losing so much money I never got back into architecture.”[5] This business would, after a lawsuit from Domino Sugar, grow into Domino's Pizza. Tom, after opening a further three stores, traded his brother James a Volkswagen Beetle for his half of the business.[6] Monaghan dropped sub sandwiches from the menu and focused on delivery to college campuses, inventing a new insulated pizza box to improve delivery. The new box, unlike its chipboard predecessors, could be stacked without crushing the pizzas inside, permitting more pizzas per trip, and keeping them warm until they arrived.[2] Spreading his model to other college towns through a tightly-controlled franchising system, by the mid-1980s there were nearly three new Domino's franchises opening every day.[2]

In 1989, the

  • Daily Catholic: Top 100 Catholics of the Century, No. 38, Thomas S. Monaghan
  • Boston Phoenix article about the town of Ave Maria
  • Major Private Gifts to Higher Education Since 1967
  • Ave Maria Foundation
  • Ave Maria Mutual Funds
  • Ave Maria University

External links

  1. ^ a b Marchetti, Domenica (1999-10-07). "Delivering on His Word". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Mariah Blake, AlterNet/Washington Monthly, 8 September 2009, How an Eccentric Right-Wing Pizza Billionaire's Attempt to Build Catholic Law School Ended in Disaster
  3. ^ a b c d e f Boyer, Peter J., "The Deliverer", The New Yorker, February 19, 2007, abstract
  4. ^ Tom Monaghan biography, Society for American Baseball Research.
  5. ^ a b c d Sparks, Evan (Spring 2012). "New U.". Philanthropy. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Our Heritage". Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  7. ^ Bill Shapiro, Vince Bielski (March–April 1994). "Domino's Pizza". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  8. ^ Meyer, Zlati (December 31, 2012). "Domino's Farms' Tom Monaghan granted temporary order halting contraceptive coverage". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Contact Us." Domino's Pizza. Retrieved on March 11, 2011. "How do I contact the Domino's Pizza World Resource Center? Domino's Pizza LLC 30 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive Ann Arbor MI 48106-0997"
  10. ^ "Zoning Map." (Archive) Ann Arbor Township, Michigan. Retrieved on December 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Brush, Mark (October 22, 2012). "Domino's Pizza renews commitment to Ann Arbor". Michigan Radio. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Bowie Kuhn, Requiescat in Pace". 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  16. ^ Holbert, Ginny (1990-04-01). "The Wright price—Monaghan's deals raise stakes". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  17. ^ "DOMINO'S FOUNDATION Membership, Structure, Finances As a private foundation, Domino's Foun". Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Ave Maria Mass at
  20. ^ {}
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ The Ave Maria Foundation.
  23. ^ About Legatus.
  24. ^ "Domino's CEO uses company funds to finance cult". The Tech Online Edition.
  25. ^ Ave Maria Radio = WDEO (AM).
  26. ^ Ave Maria List.
  27. ^ The Thomas More Law Center
  28. ^ The Spiritus Sanctus Academies.
  29. ^ The Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist.
  30. ^ Pierce, Charles P. (November 2, 2003). "The Crusaders: A powerful faction of religious and political conservatives is waging a latter-day counterreformation, battling widespread efforts to liberalize the American Catholic Church. And it has the clout and the connections to succeed.". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Domino's CEO uses company funds to finance cul" 111 (18).  
  32. ^ Father Frank's Crusade
  33. ^ The Ave Maria School of Law.
  34. ^ Ave Maria College.
  35. ^ Ave Maria University.
  36. ^ Ave Maria, Florida.
  37. ^ "Halfway to Heaven: A Catholic millionaire's dream town draws fire", Newsweek, February 27, 2006.
  38. ^ CassStevens, David (2007-08-06). "'"New town is also 'one big congregation. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  39. ^ "Conservation Group Calls on Federal Agencies to Protect Critical Florida Panther Habitat" (Press release). Defenders of Wildlife. 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  40. ^ "Sam Brownback's Inner Circle"


See also

Monaghan has been active in Republican Party politics, and was one of the key financial backers of Sam Brownback in his 2008 presidential campaign.[40]

Political support

Monaghan is a member of the Catholic Advisory Board. The board sets the religious criteria that screen companies before the funds will invest in them. Involvement with contraception, non-marital partner employee benefits, pornography, and abortion are some issues that disqualify a company from the fund. Lou Holtz, Larry Kudlow, Michael Novak, Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Roney are the other members of the Funds' Catholic Advisory Board. Cardinal Adam Maida (of the Archdiocese of Detroit) is the board's ecclesiastic advisor.

Monaghan helped to establish the

Ave Maria Mutual Funds

Threatened with lawsuits, Monaghan and the developers went on a national public relations campaign in March 2007 to retract the notion that Catholic doctrine could ever be enforced as law.[38] Defenders of Wildlife also challenged the development, stating it is destroying habitat of the endangered Florida Panther.[39]

In February 2006, ground was broken for the new Catholic university and town, Ave Maria, Florida.[36] A joint venture, in which Monaghan is a 50% partner with developer Barron Collier, controls all non-university real estate in the town, and plans to build 11,000 homes and several business districts. Pulte Homes has been signed up to build most of the private homes. Monaghan said in 2005 that any town retailers would not be allowed to sell contraceptives or pornography, a statement that drew legal and moral criticism from the ACLU.[37]

In early 2002 Monaghan sought to establish the Ave Maria University[35] in Ann Arbor, at Domino's Farms, the large corporate office park that he owned and leased to Domino's Pizza. The plans included a 250-foot crucifix, taller than the Statue of Liberty.[2] Local officials refused to approve the zoning change, forcing him to look elsewhere for a site. Eventually community leaders in Collier County, Florida, offered him a large undeveloped tract of land thirty miles east of Naples, Florida to develop the university.[5]

Ave Maria University, Florida

Due to lack of funding, the college, against faculty and student protests, closed in 2007. Alternative funding was not secured to prevent the school's closure. St. Mary's College was sold and is now under the auspices of nearby Madonna University.

As a step to fulfilling his dream of creating a new Catholic university, Monaghan founded Ave Maria College[34] in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In various attempts to accelerate accreditation, Monaghan acquired St. Mary's College of Orchard Lake and a campus in Nicaragua, renamed Ave Maria College of the Americas.

Ave Maria College

Faculty members have included conservative legal scholar and Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia assisted in developing the school's curriculum, and the school's first annual Ave Maria Lecture was presented by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1999. The school's stated goal is to educate competent "moral" attorneys who will influence all aspects of the legal profession and advance natural law theory. The Ave Maria Law School graduated its last Michigan class in Spring of 2009 and relocated to Naples, Florida permanently immediately thereafter.[5]

The Ave Maria School of Law,[33] previously located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, opened its doors in 2000, and received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2005. The school was a dream of several professors from the Catholic University of Detroit Mercy, who publicly left that institution when it allowed several pro-choice members of the Michigan Supreme Court to appear at the school's annual "Red Mass." Professors Stephen Safranek, Mollie Murphy, Richard Myers and Joseph Falvey, setting out to form a new fundamentalist Catholic law school, presented their idea to Monaghan (who had previously been a strong supporter of opening a new law school at Franciscan University) to provide significant funding through his Ave Maria Foundation. Together they enlisted Bernard Dobranski, Dean at The Catholic University of America's law school and former Dean of Detroit Mercy's Law School, to lead up the new school as dean. Monaghan served as president of the school's Board of Governors.

Ave Maria School of Law

. Sovereign Military Order of Malta He is a knight of magistral grace in the [32] Monaghan is a donor to

[31][30] Monaghan is reputed to be a member of

The Ave Maria Foundation has subsequently fine-tuned its focus to higher education, and has established both a university and a law school.[5] Along with that change in focus, many of the other non-profit entities that the Ave Maria Foundation established have become independent or are in the process of being weaned from Ave Maria Foundation grants. This narrowing of focus and the recent geographic re-alignment to Florida (see below) have ignited no small amount of controversy among those who share his religious convictions.

In addition, his foundation established the Spiritus Sanctus Academies.[28] These elementary schools are administered by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.[29]

He established Ave Maria Radio,[25] the Ave Maria List[26] pro-life political action committee, and the Thomas More Law Center,[27] a public interest law firm dedicated to promoting social conservative issues such as opposition to abortion, same sex marriage, and secularism.

. Legatus was to serve as a spiritual resource and social community for "top-ranking Catholic business leaders". commander of a legion to promote and support "...moral ethics in business in conformity with the teachings of the Roman Catholic church so that the lives of all can be enhanced". The name was taken from the Latin word for [24] In 1983 he established the Mater Christi Foundation, today known as the

Catholic organizations

[21] Although Monaghan has claimed no ties to the controversial

. He has also committed to spending what remains of his $1 billion fortune on philanthropic endeavors. confession and frequent sacramental rosary, daily recitation of the Mass. Monaghan publicly promotes daily attendance at September 11 by composer Stephen Edwards, was commissioned by Monaghan "to express in music the spiritual commitment behind the founding of Ave Maria College and Ave Maria School of Law." This mass, recorded and released on CD in 2002, was dedicated by the composer to the victims of [19] Monaghan is a

Catholic philanthropy and activism

In the early 1990s he also built a mission in a Honduras mountain town, and funded and supervised the construction of a new cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, after the old cathedral was destroyed in a 1972 earthquake.[17]

Another of Monaghan's expensive passions has been automobiles, and for a time his collection included one of the world's six Bugatti Royales, for which he paid $8.1 million in 1986.


Monaghan is a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, and the Domino's headquarters in Ann Arbor Township, Michigan strongly resembles Wright's Prairie School architecture adapted to a larger scale. He has been one of the foremost collectors of Wright artifacts, including an oak dining room table and chairs for which he paid $1.6 million.[16] He even purchased a portion of Drummond Island in Michigan, where he created a private resort complex featuring buildings designed in the style of Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright

In 1983, Monaghan bought the Detroit Tigers, who won the World Series a year later. He became close to Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who remained a close friend, business associate and participant in his many philanthropic works.[15] Monaghan ultimately sold the Tigers to his competitor Mike Ilitch of Little Caesar's Pizza in 1992. Combining his passion for pizza and baseball, his 1986 autobiography was titled Pizza Tiger. Monaghan made the much-maligned (and eventually reversed) decision to fire legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell.

Detroit Tigers

The wealth Monaghan amassed from Domino's Pizza enabled a lavish lifestyle. However, after reading a passage by C. S. Lewis on pride (from Mere Christianity[2]), Monaghan divested himself of most of his more ostentatious possessions, including the Detroit Tigers in 1992.[3] He gave up his lavish office suite at Domino's headquarters, replete with leather-tiled floors and an array of expensive Frank Lloyd Wright furnishings, turning it into a corporate reception room. He also ceased construction on a huge Wright-inspired mansion that was to be his home. (The house remains half-finished.)[3]


In December 2011, Monaghan embarked on his second quick service restaurant brand by starting Gyrene Burger Company.[12] The military themed burger delivery concept is a throwback to Monaghan's days in the U.S. Marines. The term "Gyrene" was used in the 1940s and 1950s as a nickname for Marines. In starting Gyrene Burger, Monaghan is providing franchise incentives to eligible Marines and veterans of the other military branches. The flagship store for the brand is located in Knoxville, TN.[13][14]

Gyrene Burger Company

Monaghan sold his controlling stake in Domino's Pizza in 1998 to Bain Capital, an investment firm based in Boston, for an estimated $1 billion.[3] Domino's Pizza is an American restaurant chain and the international franchise pizza delivery corporation is headquartered at the Domino's Farms Office Park (the campus itself being owned by Domino's Pizza co-founder Tom Monaghan[8]) in Ann Arbor Township, Michigan, United States, near Ann Arbor, Michigan.[9][10][11]


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