Centennial Initiatives

Your Support Inspires Lifelong Learners, Leadership and Service

Help us inspire students to reach their full potential.

For a century, Avila University has been making a difference in the lives of students from around the corner and around the world. Driven by our mission to provide a high-quality, values-centered education inclusive of all, Avila provides much more than a Catholic academic environment.

Like the lace made by our founders – the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet – Avila’s six centennial initiatives are not stand-alone. Rather, they weave together the values and characteristics that make us Avila University. These initiatives have and will transform Avila’s educational, spiritual and physical environment and improve our ability to prepare students to be inspired, insightful, inclusive, innovative, influential and integrated – characteristics of a true Avila graduate.

As Avila celebrates its 100th year, we call on you to be a modern lace maker. Together, we can inspire our students to transform the world and usher in Avila’s second century of unparalleled education and service.

To support a Centennial initiative at Avila University, please contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development – major gifts, at 816.501.2435.


Sisters of St. Joseph Heritage, Spirituality and Service Initiative

Avila students are inspired to learn and grow in their faith. They understand and incorporate into their lives and work the spiritual values of the Sisters of St. Joseph – helping those in need, without distinction. This initiative honors Avila’s Catholic identity by providing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to grow in their faith and serve the community.

Key components include:

COMPLETED: Establish a Center for CSJ Heritage, Spirituality and Service

COMPLETED: Establish a space to house the archives of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Avila’s Women Religious collection

COMPLETED: Expand the campus ministry and service learning programs

COMPLETED: Inspire the Avila community by installing a statue of St. Teresa of Avila, for whom Avila University is named

"The values of the Sisters of St. Joseph have helped me to show an open love to whomever I cross paths with, always accepting them for who they are and the needs that they have within the values they hold - no matter if they are different from my own."

Jania Billups,
'BS Pre-Health '11
Currently serving in Netwark, N.J. with NEWARK ACTS, a young adult urban internships program.


Transformational Learning Environment Initiative

At Avila, learning is a hands-on activity. Students thrive in small classroom settings where they are encouraged to question, critique and problem solve. This initiative infuses Avila’s academic environment with technology, active learning opportunities and support to provide a high-quality educational experience.

Key components include:

COMPLETED: Create the Center for Transformational Learning

COMPLETED: Establish a state-of-the-art Learning Commons

COMPLETED: Classroom renovation and additional technology
COMPLETED: Develop a robust mentoring and internship program

COMPLETED: Increase undergraduate enrollment to 1,200 students

Provide scholarships for deserving students

"When seeking out educational opportunities, you should reach out to an institution that will progress your desire, your dreams to do something different, something bigger than yourself. Avila did that for me."

Ana Valdez,
MBA '96
Chair of Business & Technology Departments
Donnelly College



Global Community Initiative

At Avila, students are encouraged to think about how they will make an impact on a worldwide scale. This initiative will infuse a global perspective throughout Avila’s curriculum and provide students with critical international and intercultural study experiences.

Key components include:

COMPLETED: Establish the Center for Global Studies and Social Justice

COMPLETED: Offer eight international study abroad experiences annually

COMPLETED: Hire a Spanish language instructor

COMPLETED: Provide faculty opportunities to present internationally

Provide scholarships for deserving students

"I drew upon every skill and every bit of knowledge I learned at Avila to raise money to build a library for poor children in Vietnam. In all, I raised money from 18 states and three countries to make it possible for the children and families of Nam Dong, Vietnam."

Debora Merrill,
BSBA '01, MBA '04
Real estate transition specialist, Reece & Nichols


Creative Arts Initiative

Today’s world requires innovation, flexibility and creativity. This initiative will prepare students across all disciplines to think creatively and imaginatively.

In 2017, Avila will renovate and enhance our existing theatre space to provide more space for students involved in performing arts disciplines. The Goppert Performing Arts center will include new space for music practice, back-of-the-house production, and black box productions. The new center will also solidify Avila’s groundbreaking relationship with Theatre for Young America, TYA, a nonprofit, professional theatre company.

"Avila is such a great place because they start at the basics. You're not allowed to fall on your face; you're allowed to develop your own process. Probably the best thing is that I had so much time to perform on stage. That's the best training an actor can have."

Earl Baker, Jr.

BFA Musical Theatre & BA Theatre'92
Professional actor featured in Hollywood films, television, and off-Broadway theatre


Future Healthcare Leaders Initiative

Avila University has a rich history in the health services, and remains at the forefront of innovative nursing, radiologic science, kinesiology and pre-health educational opportunities. Our curriculum prepares students to be leaders in the healthcare field by focusing on hands-on experience. This initiative provides the latest technology, and expands our nursing and health science programs to meet the growing demand for healthcare providers.

Key components include:

COMPLETED: Establish the Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D., Science and Health Complex

COMPLETED: Expand Avila’s traditional BSN program

COMPLETED: Create a new RN-to-BSN degree completion program

COMPLETED: Acquire state-of-the-art equipment for nursing, radiologic science and other health sciences

Provide scholarships for deserving students

"What made Avila attractive was that it was a small place in a big city. You knew and were friends with everybody, and there were endless options of things to do. As student senate president, I had to advocate for the needs of the student body. Looking back, those skills served as a springboard to becoming a family medicine physician, a servant to my patients."

Avery Abernathy, D.O.
Completes his residency at the University of Missouri - Kansas City in July, 2014.


Campus Life Initiative

Avila’s Campus Life initiative demonstrates our commitment to athletics, extracurricular activities and the collegial experience that makes our students proud.

Key components include:

COMPLETED: Build a new residence hall, Glenna Wylie Hall

COMPLETED: Renovate and overhaul the dining hall and Marian Center

COMPLETED: Renovate Mabee Fieldhouse

COMPLETED: Construct a multisport field, sports pavilion and events complex

"Even though I am from nearby Lee's Summit, MO, one of the best decisions I made is to live on campus the entire time while attending Avila. I've felt part of a community that's played a large role in helping me achieve my goals and open doors to my future. It's a smaller setting, so it helps you to be better prepared, because you get more individual attention."

Trevor Houston,

The Avila Promise

  • Lower Tuition Rate
  • Tuition Protection
  • 4-Year Graduation Guarantee
  • Internship or Research Guarantee
  • up to $1,000 Travel Award


That’s the Avila Promise.

Admission & Aid: SOAR

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Adult & Graduate Studies: Open House

adult and graduate studies

adult and graduate studies open house
March 22
4:30-6:30 p.m.
Whitfield Center
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Career & Internship Fair

dear neighbor day

career & internship fair
Resume Building
Career Coaching
Free Professional Headshots

April 12
11-2 p.m. & 4-6 p.m. 
Athletic Pavilion
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Avila University - March Madness