Jim Towey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from H. James Towey)
Jump to: navigation, search
Jim Towey
James Towey.jpg
Former Director White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives
Nationality  United States
Education B.S. and J.D.
Alma mater Florida State University
Occupation President and CEO of Ave Maria University
Spouse(s) Mary
Children Five

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.[1] He served as president of Saint Vincent College, a small Catholic university in Latrobe, Pennsylvania from 2006 until stepping down on June 30, 2010.[2] Towey currently serves as President/CEO of Ave Maria University.

Background and personal life[edit]

Towey grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where he graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1974.[3] He went on to Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 1978, and a Juris Doctor in 1981 from Florida State University College of Law. He is a Roman Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus.[4]

He served as the sixteenth President of Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, Pennsylvania), from July 1, 2006 until June 30, 2010. 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.[citation needed]

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, in 1996 he 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

He has received 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.

Personal life[edit]

Towey and his wife Mary have five children: James Marion, Joseph Marius, Maximilian Marian, John Mariano and Marie Therese.[5]

Mother Teresa[edit]

Prior to his 2002-06 White House service, Towey was employed for 12 years as a U.S. legal counsel to Mother Teresa (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 her missions, and at her home for people suffering from AIDS in Washington, D.C. He has returned to Calcutta with Saint Vincent College students to work in her missions. 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. 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.[6] Over 18 million copies of the group's Five Wishes document, called "the living will with a heart and soul",[7] have been distributed worldwide by more than 35,000 organizations.

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives[edit]

During his 2002-06 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.[8] He served as senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Oregon) for ten years, and as director of Florida's health and human services agency under Gov. Lawton Chiles (D).

Saint Vincent College (2006-10)[edit]

Towey became the sixteenth President of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 2006.[9] During his tenure as President, St. Vincent College made the top ten list of conservative colleges in the United States for the first time.[10] Towey faced some difficulties in his relationships with faculty members at St. Vincent.[11] In April 2008, he attributed much of the dissension to a clash of cultures with a predominantly Benedictine faculty unaccustomed to rapid change, and to the fact that he was "new to academia".[10] One vocal faculty critic, Brother Mark Gruber, was accused of sexual indiscretions involving pornography. Gruber was found guilty and subsequently dismissed from the Benedictine Order and banned from functioning as a Catholic priest. Police dismissed the claims made against Mark Gruber because the computer was in a common area and was accessible by the public.[12] Mark Gruber had been previously the only voice to publicly oppose Jim Towey's hiring decisions. Gruber's appeal to Rome was unsuccessful.[13][14] Towey stepped down as President on June 30, 2010.

"Death book" op-ed[edit]

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".[15] 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.[16] 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.[16] Duckworth also mentioned that "Towey has a competing book on end-of-life discussions that veterans can purchase for $5".[16]

Ave Maria University[edit]

Towey assumed the role of President of Ave Maria University from Nicholas Healy on July 1, 2011.


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.[17]

See also[edit]

Preceded by
John DiIulio, Jr.
Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
February 1, 2002-May 31, 2006
Succeeded by
Jay Hein


  1. ^ "President names Towey as Director of the Faith-Based & Community Initiatives", February 1, 2002. Jim Towey White House bio.
  2. ^ "Saint Vincent College President Jim Towey to Step Down at End of Academic Year". Saint Vincent College. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  3. ^ Towey alumni of Bishop Kenny
  4. ^ "President discusses compassionate conservatism in Dallas", georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov; August 3, 2004; accessed February 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Towey family profile, St. Vincent College website; accessed February 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Five Wishes Resources
  7. ^ Silva, Mark, "Living Will With Heart Now Available", Miami Herald, July 24, 1997.
  8. ^ " Faith Czar Towey blasts 'militant secularism' at Catholic men's event", "Church and State", March, 2005. "Archived by Webcite".
  9. ^ President, accessed 26 December 2009
  10. ^ a b Lederman, Doug. "Too Catholic, Even for Many Monks", 'Inside Higher Ed, April 22, 2008. Archived by WebCite.
  11. ^ Garazik, Richard "St. Vincent faculty quietly revolts", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 3, 2008. Archived by WebCite
  12. ^ http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/12/25/fear-and-loathing-at-st-vincent-college/
  13. ^ Rodgers, Ann (2013-07-31). "Vatican bars Benedictine priest who taught at Saint Vincent College". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  14. ^ Gazarik, Richard (July 31, 2013). "Defrocked priest says he'll appeal to pope". Tribune-Review. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  15. ^ "The Death Book for Veterans", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2009.
  16. ^ a b c Berger, Joseph and Henry, Derrick. "Lieberman Suggests Health Care Reform May Have to Wait", New York Times, August 24, 2009; accessed February 6, 2014.
  17. ^ "Saint Vincent College website"

External links[edit]