Avila News

September 23, 2016

Avila University Receives $1 Million Gift For Peace and Nonviolence

Peace Dove

Avila University Receives $1 Million Gift For Peace and Nonviolence

Avila Will Host Annual Peace Summit and Provide for an Activist-in-Residence


(September 23, 2016) KANSAS CITY, MO – Jean Buchanan, Avila University class of 1976, and her husband Bill have generously given a $1 million gift to Avila University in hopes of influencing future generations with a focus on peace and nonviolence. The gift will provide for an annual peace summit so as to inspire students and the broader community to be agents of change.

The announcement was made during Avila’s annual Peace Walk, which coincides each year with National Peace Week. The walk was held on the Avila campus September 21.

Special focus was given to the memories of Mickell Tolbert and Cheri Bland, locals connected to the university who were victims of gun violence. Tolbert, a third-year student of Avila's nursing program, was found shot to death on Sept. 5. Bland, the sister of a student at Avila, was shot to death Aug. 28.

Also joining the prayer walk was the family of Jessica Runions. Runions, the daughter of one of Avila's nursing faculty, has been missing since Sept. 8.

 "Today we walk for peace. Violence has touched us in a personal way," David Armstrong, director of university mission and ministry said. He prayed for Tolbert and Bland, and for the safe return of Runions. Following the prayers, Armstrong announced the $1 million gift.

In addition to the peace summit, Avila will also hire an Activist/Scholar-in-Residence for a 6-week stay each fall semester beginning in 2017.

Visit the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence at https://www.avila.edu/academics/avila-centers-initiatives/buchanan-peace-nonviolence for more information.



Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community. Our approach to education brings out the best in our students, so they can bring out the best in others.


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