Tom Monaghan: Domino’s Pizza Founder And Entrepreneur
There are various entrepreneurs that are alive and well in the world at the moment, making their fortunes and enjoying their fantastic lifestyles. However, there are very few that give up their entire business portfolios to dedicate themselves wholly to philanthropic interests. Tom Monaghan most definitely falls into the latter category. Monaghan is an excellent example of a businessman and entrepreneur turned benefactor and can be held up as an example of a dedicated citizen as well, and thus how to avoid the greed that afflicts some after the arrival of success.
It’s A Hard Life
Thomas Stephen Monaghan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 25, 1937. His father died during his early years of life and so the family struggled as his mother tried to raise him alone. Although she tried her best, she ultimately failed to quell the rebellious streak that Monaghan displayed from an early age. As a result, the entrepreneur ended up in the St Joseph’s Home for Children in Jackson, Michigan under the care of the Felician Sisters of Livonia. They instilled a firm sense of Catholic devotion in him, so much so that he decided to become a priest. At least, that was his chosen career path until he was asked to leave for persistent rule breaking.
Instead, in 1956 the entrepreneur enrolled in the United States Marine Corps by complete mistake. He had planned to enlist in the army but had a good military career until 1959 regardless. Following his honorable discharge, Monaghan attended the University of Michigan to study architecture but decided to invest in a side venture while there. He and his brother bought DomiNick’s, a pizza place in Ypsilanti for $500, although the entrepreneur offered a VW Beetle for his brother’s half a little later on.
Domino’s And Beyond
Tom Monaghan soon realized just how profitable the business could be and soon concentrated on his growing business full time. He found he had a knack for it and did not see the point of continuing his studies. As such, the entrepreneur was soon pursuing the possibility of expanding the business and turning it into a chain. Domino’s Pizza was born! Monaghan successfully managed to take Domino’s first national and then global. However, he was keen to make the most of his business knowledge and acumen by investing elsewhere.
In 1983, the entrepreneur invested in Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers. In Monaghan’s first year as owner the Tigers won the World Series. He remained at the helm until 1992 when he sold his interest to Mike Ilitch.
Unlike other entrepreneurs, Monaghan decided to denounce his own pride and wealth in the early 1990s. He apparently realized that he had been entirely selfish in not donating a large portion of his own wealth to charitable causes and went back to his Catholic roots. After taking some time off from Domino’s, he explored his religious awakening and built various missions in poorer South American countries. Although he did return to the pizza chain to save it after it fell into financial difficulty, the entrepreneur sold his controlling interest for $1 billion in 1998.
The entrepreneur then devoted all of his time and money to establishing Catholic colleges and universities in various locations in the Americas. They are all known by the name of Ave Maria. For example, he established Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor in 2000, Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Ave Maria College of the Americas in Nicaragua and Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.
All of the above adds up to the fact that Tom Monaghan is truly going back to his roots by drawing on the teachings of his childhood. Domino’s Pizza is now a global phenomenon and owes that to Monaghan’s business sense. However, the next generations will undoubtedly benefit more from his commitment to Catholic education.