October 22, 2012
Kansas City, MO –Tom and Jeanne Olofson ’92, ’94, ‘11, who have been benefactors and cherished members of the Avila University family more than 20 years, were among a select group recognized for their support of the University during a President’s Circle reception Sept. 27 on the Jeanne Hamilton Olofson Plaza.
The Olofsons were recognized and honored as inaugural members of the Father Jean Pierre Medaille Society for having contributed more than $1 million to the University. Fr. Medaille was the Jesuit priest who founded the Sisters of St. Joseph in the 17th century. Two centuries later, six of the Sisters traveled from France and settled in Carondelet, Mo., just outside St. Louis. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet founded Avila in 1916.
“The support that Jeanne and Tom have provided leaves an indelible mark on future generations and helps strengthen the core of Avila’s mission,” said President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. “With record enrollment this fall, support for scholarships is more important than ever. Jeanne and Tom’s support allows Avila University to continue to strive for excellence in all that we do and allows our students to open doors and propel themselves forward, onward, upward. Support from the Olofsons has also created a warm, welcoming campus environment for our students.”
In 2011, Jeanne was bestowed a Doctor of Humane Letters by the university, adding to the bachelor of arts with a major in communication and a concentration in business she earned in 1992 and the master of business administration she completed two years later. Jeanne is the only person to hold three degrees from Avila.
She serves on the University’s Board of Trustees and as an honorary chair of the Centennial Campaign Committee with Tom, chief executive officer and chairman of the board at Epiq Systems. Jeanne also served on the Alumni Board and as honorary chair of Avila’s Steer Dinner and served on the steering committee for previous fundraising campaigns. Tom and Jeanne supported scholarships for many first-generation college students and capital projects, including the Jeanne Hamilton Olofson Plaza, dedicated in November 2008, and Avila’s campus entry signage, transforming Avila’s “front door” to the campus.
“Tom and I value higher education and are pleased through our support of Avila to be able to provide scholarships to many talented and first-generation college students who might otherwise not realize their dream of a college education,” Jeanne Olofson said.
The Olofsons were presented with Medals of Honor by President Slepitza and given an engraved purple crystal vase filled with lilies, symbolic of St. Joseph.
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.