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  Avila professor receives peace award    
  Kansas City, MO    
April 21, 2009

Avila University Dean of the School of Professional Studies
and Associate Professor of Communication Steve Iliff, Ph.D., recently received the Charles E. Bebb Peace Award from PeaceWorks Kansas City.

Iliff has been teaching peace studies since 1996 in Avila’s Advantage and traditional course formats. Iliff was also instrumental in bringing an annually awarded $1,000 PeaceWorks scholarship to Avila University.

“I was definitely surprised,” Iliff said about receiving the award. “My thought was, ‘What am I doing getting that award?”

PeaceWorks first called Iliff’s wife, Susan Bettis Smith, to confirm that Iliff would be at the annual meeting.

“I figured she must have heard something wrong,” Iliff said with a grin. “Maybe they wanted me to announce the award, or wanted suggestions from me on who should be awarded.”

The committee, however, was not mistaken. Iliff was presented the peace award because of his position on the regional board of American Friends Service Committee, his dedication to peace studies and his work to bring the PeaceWorks scholarship to Avila’s campus.

“As someone who teaches Peace Studies with him, I know what a strong belief and long-term commitment he has to peace,” said Carole Coburn, Ph.D., professor in Religious Studies and Women's Studies. “Besides teaching peace studies and other related courses, he has been active with the AFSC organization for years, and he is well known in the Kansas City metropolitan area for his peace work in the community. The students appreciate Steve's passion in the classroom and his depth of knowledge on the topic.”

Iliff said that what meant most to him was that his wife and son, Matt Smith, were present to see him receive the award.

“A father doesn’t always get to hear from his son the words ‘Dad, I’m proud of you.”
PeaceWorks Kansas City began in 1982 as the Nuclear Weapons Freeze committee of the Kansas City Interfaith Peace Alliance and later became the Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Freeze Coalition, the metropolitan area's leading voice against the nuclear arms race. The organization evolved into PeaceWorks, Kansas City in 1996, with a commitment to educate themselves and leaders on the need for less government spending of tax money on weapons.


Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.