The man who founded Domino’s Pizza has a couple of other unique accomplishments: He also founded a Catholic university and an entire town—originally just for Catholics—in southwest Florida.

In 1960, Tom Monaghan, along with his brother, James, bought a hole-in-the-wall pizza shop called DomiNick’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and renamed it Domino’s Pizza. A few years later, James Monaghan famously traded his share of the business to his brother for a Volkswagen Beetle, and Tom Monaghan grew it into a franchise that would eventually dominate the pizza industry worldwide. The orphan-turned-Marine sold the company for a reported $1 billion in 1988. Prior to that, though, his life went off-track, as he recently explained to the Catholic News Agency.

“I wasn’t as ready for [success] as I thought I was,” Monaghan said in the July 6 interview. “I was going to Mass every day, practicing my faith, reading a lot of spiritual books, and I thought, ‘I can handle it, I can handle it,’ but I got into the toys. I justified the yachts, the airplanes.”

Related: Domino’s has new plan to out-deliver its competitors

A book by Christian author C.S. Lewis turned him around. Monaghan realized that the desire for “more” was a hyper-competitive urge that had taken him down the wrong spiritual path. “I thought, ‘That’s not what I want to be,’” he told the Catholic News Agency.

After selling Domino’s, he built Ave Maria University, a Catholic university, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In 2007, he moved the campus to Collier County, Florida, bordering the Florida Everglades, and built a planned community, also called Ave Maria, around it. He meant the school and the town, with the large Ave Maria Catholic Church at its center, to be a sort of orthodox mecca for Catholics. The town reportedly has a population of about 33,000, while the university hosts more than 1,200 students.

This photo shows several Ave Maria University students walking in their cap and robes on graduation day, with a young woman in the foreground waving

Ave Maria University / Facebook

The university is also home to a museum dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun, Mother Theresa, who was canonized by the Catholic Church as Saint Theresa of Calcutta in 2016.

“I want to be a beacon for Catholic higher education,” he said in the Catholic News Agency interview. “Show that orthodoxy sells.”

But his efforts to build a Catholic stronghold in the Sunshine State haven’t been without controversy. He initially vowed to ban birth control and pornography on campus and in the community. As NPR reported in 2006, however, Monaghan backed away from that stance when then-Governor Jeb Bush’s office issued a statement, noting, “While the Governor does not personally believe in abortion or pornography, the town and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments.”

Related: This small chain aims to recapture Pizza Hut’s glory days

Monaghan later said the ban on pornography and birth control would only apply to the university, and Ave Maria’s chief executive, Paul Marinelli, stated, “We are going to request that [retailers] not sell that merchandise, but we are not restricting it.”

Marinelli also said the town would “welcome” other faiths as well as gay residents, adding, “I think it would be boring if, in fact, it was all Catholic.”

For his part, Monaghan remains devout and committed to his Catholic beliefs. As he told the Catholic News Agency, “When I get to the Pearly Gates—God’s been very good to me—I want to be able to say, ‘I used what you gave me well.’”

Pizza News