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Mark MiddendorfPresident of Ave Maria University

“The Importance of Catholic Higher Education”

Mark Middendorf, a native of Chicago, Illinois, was educated at Northern Illinois University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University. His career began with various marketing and management positions. On the strength of his secular business success and after discerning a special call to the New Evangelization, he took the venture of faith, leaving the corporate world founding a lay apostolate, Lighthouse Catholic Media (LCM). From its beginning on August 15, 2005, to its merger with the Augustine Institute on December 8, 2015, Lighthouse grew to be the largest producer of Catholic audio talks in the world, reaching over 17 million souls with its life-changing presentations on loving and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, LCM also distributed millions of books through its kiosks and parish-based programs.

Middendorf’s style of collaborative leadership was particularly evident in his decision to merge LCM with the Augustine Institute, an unprecedented marriage of apostolates that has been exceptionally fruitful and dynamic. As the Augustine Institute’s Executive Vice President for Mission Expansion, Middendorf led the launch and expansion of the platform. Together with its partner Ignatius Press, the Augustine Institute provides resources for evangelization and catechesis to more than 6,500 parishes and well over 1 million users.

A renowned Catholic servant & leader...

Middendorf was selected as the fourth president of Ave Maria University and began February 1, 2022. One of his first priorities as president of Ave Maria University, was to invite all staff, students, and friends of Ave Maria to join him in entrusting themselves and the University to the care of our Immaculate Mother on March 25, 2022, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. He said, “The University belongs to her. It has her name on it, this as foundational.”

Middendorf also serves on the boards of 5Stones, Ignatius Press, and the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, and has been a long-standing member of Legatus.

Middendorf and his wife, Christine, are the proud parents of four children, one alumnus of Ave Maria University and two others currently enrolled.