Former Director White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives
|Education||B.S. and J.D.|
|Alma mater||Florida State University|
|Occupation||President and CEO of Ave Maria University|
Jim Towey served as Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and as Assistant to President George W. Bush from 2002 to May 2006. He served as president of Saint Vincent College, a small Catholic university in Latrobe, Pennsylvania from 2006 until stepping down on June 30, 2010. Towey currently serves as President and CEO of Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida.
Background and personal life
Towey graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida in 1974 and went on to Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science with high honors in 1978 and a Juris Doctor in 1981.
He served as the sixteenth President of Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, from July 1, 2006 until June 30, 2010. As President, Towey serves as the Chief Executive Officer of an educational institution that has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of "America’s Best Colleges".
Major accomplishments during the years of his presidency include record levels of applications, enrollment as well as new pledge commitments; three consecutive budget surpluses; and the initiation of the most expensive construction and renovation project in the college’s history. Towey has made a priority of recruiting minority and international students. He also created a new Office of Service Learning to provide opportunities for hundreds of Saint Vincent students to experience serving those in need. Towey also presided over as somewhat controversial reaccreditation of the college by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 2007. A frequent speaker to groups and organizations all over the United States, Towey has spoken or lectured at Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and Davidson.
Towey, who served for four years as Assistant to the President of the United States and director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, was recognized by President George W. Bush for his work to improve the lives of those in need. Because of his work with the poor and infirm, consistent with his conscience and the dictates of his faith in the face of legal and public challenges, the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta has awarded Towey the 2009 Tuitio Fidei Award.
At the White House, Towey served as a member of President George W. Bush’s senior staff and reported directly to him on church-state and religious liberty issues, policies promoting tax incentives for enhanced charitable giving, and the implementation of individual choice in drug treatment, mentoring, housing and other federal programs.
Prior to his work at the White House, Towey in 1996 founded Aging with Dignity, a national non-profit organization to help individuals and their families plan for and receive appropriate care during times of serious illness. He created the document, Five Wishes, the most widely used advance directive in America with over 18 million copies in circulation.
Towey served in the administration of Florida Governor Lawton Chiles who brought him to Miami in 1991 as District Director of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services where he presided during the time of Hurricane Andrew. He later became Secretary of the 40,000 employee agency.
Towey represented the late Mother Teresa on legal matters in the United States and Canada for 12 years (from 1985 until her death) and traveled with her on numerous occasions. He served nearly two years as a full-time volunteer in Mexico in one of Mother Teresa's missions and in her Washington, D.C. home for people suffering from AIDS. For the past three years he has returned to Calcutta with Saint Vincent College students to work in her missions.
A 1978 graduate of the Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with high honors, Towey earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Florida State University College of Law in 1981.
He has been honored for his public service including six honorary doctoral degrees, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Papal Cross from Pope John Paul II, the Omicron Delta Kappa Grad Made Good Award from Florida State University, and the Archbishop John Carroll Award from the Archdiocese of Miami. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus. During his career, Towey has appeared as a guest on multiple occasions on 60 Minutes and the NBC Today Show, as well as on Fox News Sunday, Good Morning America, and other major cable and network programs. He has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Miami Herald.
Prior to his 2002 - 2006 White House service, Towey was employed for 12 years as a U.S. legal counsel to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. As her attorney, he helped to ensure people were not using Mother Teresa's name to raise money without her permission, assisted in establishing AIDS clinics and homeless shelters, and coordinated immigration matters for her nuns. In the 1980s Towey lived as a full-time volunteer in Mother Teresa's home for people with AIDS in Washington, D.C.
Towey has said that the experience of working with Mother Teresa motivated him to establish the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity in 1996. The Five Wishes booklet and additional resources help people express how they want to be treated if they are seriously ill and unable to speak for themselves. Over 18 million copies of the group's Five Wishes document, called "the living will with a heart and soul", have been distributed worldwide by more than 35,000 organizations.
During his 2002 - 2006 service as Faith Czar, (the informal name for Towey's White House position of Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives), Towey decried "militant secularism"; the view that religious considerations should be excluded from government affairs and public education.
Saint Vincent College (2006 - 2010)
During Towey's tenure as President, St. Vincent College made the top ten list of conservative colleges in the United States for the first time. However, Towey has faced some difficulties in his relationships with faculty members at St. Vincent. In April, 2008, he attributed much of the dissension to a clash of cultures with the predominantly Benedictine monk faculty, who were not accustomed to rapid change, and to the fact that he was "new to academia". At the height of this controversy one vocal faculty critic, a monk named Mark Gruber, was accused of committing canonical crimes while at the college that involved pornographic images of himself and others; Gruber was found guilty and was subsequently dismissed from the Benedictine order and forbidden to function as a Catholic priest.
Towey attracted two high-profile commencement speakers to St. Vincent: President George W. Bush in 2007 and Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. Towey stepped down as President on June 30, 2010.
"Death book" op-ed
In an August 2009 op-ed Towey argued that the Obama administration was attempting to cut costs for the medical treatment of veterans by providing them with a "Death Book" which pressured the veterans to "forgo critical care". In an appearance on Fox News Sunday television show, Towey charged that the booklet was authored by an advocate of assisted suicide, and that it was being used to give "end of life" counseling to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. On the show, Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary for the Veteran's Administration, responded that printed copies of the booklet had been pulled from the shelves in 2007 and that the Obama administration was revising it. Duckworth also mentioned that "Towey has a competing book on end-of-life discussions that veterans can purchase for $5".
Ave Maria University
Towey assumed the role of President of Ave Maria University from Nicholas Healy on July 1, 2011. The unanimous decision was made on February 8, 2011 at the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting.
He received the Omicron Delta Kappa Award from Florida State University, Regnum Dei Award from the Archdiocese of Miami, and was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross by Pope John Paul II on September 5, 2000, the third anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa.
John DiIulio Jr.
|Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
February 1, 2002-May 31, 2006
- "President names Towey as Director of the Faith-Based & Community Initiatives", Feb 1, 2002. Jim Towey Whitehouse Bio.
- "Saint Vincent College President Jim Towey to Step Down at End of Academic Year". Saint Vincent College. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- Towey alumni of Bishop Kenny
- "President discusses compassionate conservatism in Dallas, August 3, 2004.
- Saint Vincent College website
- Five Wishes Resources
- Silva, Mark, "Living Will With Heart Now Available," The Miami Herald, 7/24/1997
- " Faith Czar Towey blasts 'militant secularism' at Catholic men's event", "Church and State", March, 2005. "Archived by Webcite".
- President, accessed 26 December 2009
- Lederman, Doug. "Too Catholic, Even for Many Monks". Inside Higher Ed, Apr 22, 2008. Archived by WebCite.
- Garazik, Richard "St. Vincent faculty quietly revolts", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review'', April 3, 2008. Archived by WebCite
- Rodgers, Ann (2013-07-31). "Vatican bars Benedictine priest who taught at Saint Vincent College". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- Gazarik, Richard (31 July 2013). "Defrocked priest says he'll appeal to pope". Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- "The Death Book for Veterans", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2009.
- Berger, Joseph and Henry, Derrick. "Lieberman Suggests Health Care Reform May Have to Wait", New York Times, Aug 24, 2009.
- "New President For Ave Maria University"
- "Saint Vincent College website"