Thomas S. Monaghan
Chairman, Ave Maria Foundation
Although best known as the founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise, Thomas S. Monaghan is currently devoting his attention full-time to non-profit endeavors. This includes the Ave Maria Foundation, which he established as a private foundation in 1983 to focus on a variety of Catholic charities, with a special focus on Catholic education.
In 1998, Mr. Monaghan provided the impetus for a major intiative in Catholic higher education with the founding of Ave Maria Institute in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the first step toward what would become Ave Maria College, offering a liberal arts curriculum and preparing students for leadership in academics, professional occupations and service to the greater community.
The Ave Maria Foundation was the initial source of funding fo the Ave Maria School of Law, a Catholic law school in Ann Arbor Michigan. The foundation has also helped to establish the Thomas More Law Center, which provides legal counsel to people of faith whose religious freedom is being jeopardized.
In 1987, Mr. Monaghan founded Legatus (Latin for ambassador) , an international organization of Catholic business leaders committed to styudy, live and spread their faith in their professional and personal lives.
Tom Monagahn was born in 1937 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His father died foru years later, ushering in a childhood of faster homes and orphanages. After graduating from St. Thomas High School in 1955 and enrolling at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, Mr. Monaghan enlisted in the U.s. Marine Corps in 1956. Receiving an honorable discharge in 1959, he returned to Ann Arbor and enrolled at the University of Michigan.
While he was still a student, Mr. Monaghan founded Domino's Pizza. He and his brother James borrowed $900 to buy a small pizza store called DomiNick's in Ypsilanti. In less than one year, he bought his brother's share of the business and opened additional stores in Ann Arbor and Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
By 1998, Domino's had 6,250 stores and ranked as the world's largest pizza delivery chain, pioneering a number of industry innovations inspired by Mr. Monaghan. Among other industry innovations, he is credited with developing dough trays, the corrugated pizza box, insulated bags to transport pizzas, the pizza screen, the conveyor oven and a unique franchising system that enables managers and supervisors to become franchisees. The story behind Domino's Pizza -- the many obstacles and setbacks Mr. Monaghan conquered throughout the years and the path he took to success -- was compiled for the first time in his 1986 autobiography, Pizza Tiger.
In 1998, Mr. Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza to Bain Capital, Inc., leaving behind its day-to-day operations , which he oversaw for 38 years.
Over the years, Mr. Monaghan has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Pope John Paul II Family Fidelity Award (1988), the 1990 Marine Corp Leatherneck Award, and the 2000 Proudly Pro-Life Award.
Mr. Monagahn has also received honorary degrees from twelve universities around the country, and in March 2000, he was named an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, England.
A current resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mr. Monaghan and his wife, marjorie, have four daughters and eight grandchildren.