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Sandwich chain magnate helps launch area business law institute

Peter Cancro has made several donations to the Ave Maria School of Law.

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  • | 7:35 a.m. May 21, 2021
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NAPLES — Ave Maria School of Law in Naples has launched the Ave Maria Institute for Business Law, following a substantial gift from Peter and Tatiana Cancro, long-time Ave Law supporters.

Peter Cancro is the founder and CEO of the Jersey Mike’s sandwich chain. Cancro was the commencement speaker at the Naples-based law school’s commencement ceremony held May 15, where establishment of the institute was announced, according to a statement. The value of the gift to launch the institute wasn’t disclosed, but school officials say it’s the largest single gift in the school’s history, outside of previous gifts from the school’s founder and board chairman, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.

The goal of the Business Law Institute is to become a national and global leader in the study, research, and practice of business law, the release states. The academic component of the program will be launched in August 2021. Long-range plans include hosting an international conference on business law, bringing together practitioners, academics, business leaders and students. Cancro and Monaghan will spearhead the business component of the institute.

"We are honored to continue supporting the growth and impact of this great law school with the creation of the Ave Maria School of Law Institute for Business Law,” Cancro says in the release. “The opportunity to bring together business leaders, scholars, lawyers and students to make a difference in the study of business law will be transformative for Ave Maria School of Law. It is a privilege to be a part of providing worthy students with scholarships to become great business lawyers.”

Cancro bought his first sub shop at age 17. Since 2011, Jersey Mike's Subs and customers across the country have rallied to raise more than $47 million for over 200 charities nationwide during the company's Annual Month of Giving in March. Charity recipients have included hospitals, youth organizations, food banks and more, the release states.

"We are deeply grateful to Peter and Tatiana Cancro for their continued generosity to Ave Maria School of Law. As the largest single external gift our law school has ever received in our 20-year history, it demonstrates the Cancros mission of 'giving unconditionally to make a difference,’" Ave Maria School of Law Chief Advancement and External Affairs Officer Donna Heiser says in the statement. "The creation of the Institute for Business Law will have a profound impact on the future of Ave Maria Law and the students who will benefit from this extraordinary gift."

The institute will provide opportunities for students to learn about the connection of the legal and business worlds, confronting emerging issues that may include franchising, compliance, commercial law, corporate governance, securities practice, federal tax planning, intellectual property, business ethics and real estate.

For students, the program will be structured over two semesters during the academic year, the release states. The first semester will consist of seminars and classes, followed by an externship with potential placement in leading American corporations and law firms. Additional opportunities may include commercial law conferences and a scholars program, say school officials. Students in the program will participate in skills-based courses with a focus on drafting and negotiating agreements, structuring transactions and counseling clients. At the completion of the program, students will receive a certificate recognizing them as an Ave Maria School of Law Institute for Business Law Scholar.

"I am extremely grateful to Peter and Tatiana for their continued generosity to Ave Maria School of Law, which has enabled so many veterans and other worthy students to attend law school,” Monaghan says in the release. “Their extraordinary generosity is not only impacting Ave Law students, but countless others who these future legal and corporate leaders will impact. Peter’s leadership of Jersey Mike’s serves as an example for other corporate leaders of the right way to run a company. And now through this generous gift, Ave Maria Law will be in a position to form the next generation of ethical and moral leaders in business who will change the world."

Ave Maria School of Law was founded in Michigan in 1999 and relocated to Naples in 2009. The school is an ABA-accredited Roman Catholic law school.



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