Thomas S. Monaghan – HALL OF FAME AWARD WINNER
While a student, Monaghan founded the pizza chain that would become Domino’s Pizza. He and his brother, James, borrowed $900 to buy a small pizza store called DomiNick’s in Ypsilanti, Mich. He later bought his brother’s share of the business, and opened two stores. Soon after opening his third store, he changed the name to Domino’s Pizza. It was the first pizza chain to focus exclusively on delivery.
By 1998, Domino’s had 6,250 stores, and ranked as the world’s largest pizza delivery chain, pioneering numerous industry innovations inspired by Monaghan. He is credited with developing dough trays, the corrugated pizza box, insulated bags, the pizza screen, a conveyor oven and a unique franchising system enabling managers and supervisors to become franchisees.
After running the company for 38 years, Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza to Bain Capital, Inc. in 1998 to devote his attention to non-profit activities.
In 1998, Monaghan provided the impetus for a major initiative in Catholic higher education by founding Ave Maria Univ., now a liberal arts institution. He also provided initial funding for Ave Maria School of Law, now located in Naples, Fla. He serves as the board of governors’ chairman.
Through his private foundation, The Ave Maria Foundation, Monaghan established many non-profit organizations, including Legatus (Latin for “ambassador”), an international organization of Catholic CEOs and presidents committed to spreading their faith through their professional and personal lives; Catholic elementary schools (Spiritus Sanctus Academies); the Ave Maria Radio Network of more than U.S. 160 stations; and the Thomas More Law Center, that provides legal counsel to organizations and individuals whose religious and other freedoms are threatened.
Monaghan’s numerous awards include: the IFA Gold Plate Award (1983); the Horatio Alger Award (1995); the 1986 IFA Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the Napoleon Hill Award (1987); the Pope John Paul II Family Fidelity Award (1988); the 1990 Marine Corps Leatherneck Award; the 1999 NRN/MUFSO Pioneer of the year award, as well as many religious and philanthropic awards for his generous support and tireless work in helping others. He holds honorary degrees from 12 universities worldwide, and in 2000, he was named an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College within Britain’s Univ. of Cambridge.