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University secures gifts worth $2 million

Gift from Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and challenge grant from The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation to go toward two major projects

August 2, 2013

Avila University received two grants from longtime supporters that could total $2 million, ensuring that students have cutting-edge technologies, modern learning centers and science labs.

The University’s founding community, the St. Louis-based Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, bestowed a gift of $1 million supporting Avila’s Transformational Learning Environment and Future Healthcare Leaders Initiatives. The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, based in Tulsa, Okla., issued a $1 million challenge grant, also targeted for these two initiatives meant to ensure future Avila students receive the most up-to-date educational experience.

These initiatives will provide Avila students with a state-of-the-art Learning Commons and a renovated Science & Health Complex, both equipped with cutting-edge technologies. The Learning Commons includes a redesign of Avila’s existing library to establish student-centered learning spaces that encourage collaboration and practical tools for career preparedness. The Science & Health Complex will include new microbiology, chemistry and general science labs in O’Rielly Hall.

“Our new Learning Commons will combine the qualities of a library and a student center with state-of-the-art learning technologies to form an engaging area where students can collaborate, study, research and have all resources at their disposal,” said President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. “The renovations of the labs in the Science & Health Complex will give students the tools and technology they need to be successful future health care leaders.”

To meet the challenge and receive the Mabee grant, Avila must raise nearly $9.4 million toward these projects by April 9, 2014. As of June 2013, with the help of the Centennial Campaign Committee and University leaders, $6.5 million has been raised toward this goal, leaving $2.9 million remaining.

In addition to the aforementioned projects, the funds also will establish an inimitable archive space in the new Learning Commons that will house the archives of the United States Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Avila’s Women Religious Collection and Avila’s own University archives. This space will house a wholly unique collection of women religious artifacts, preserve the rich history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and continue their influential mark on healthcare and education in our community.

patti clune“Avila University has remained true to reaching out to the dear neighbor without distinction and is continually moving toward the more,” said S. Patty Clune, CSJ, both a member of Province leadership and the Avila Board of Trustees. “We believe our gift will contribute to building an even stronger momentum for mission.”

Since 1978, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation has contributed more than $3.5 million to fund improvements at Avila University including the Mabee Fieldhouse, science lab renovations, the Jeanne Hamilton Olofson Plaza, Whitfield Lobby renovations and the athletics pavilion.

“For nearly a century, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have invested in Avila University and have truly helped shape it into the University we are today,” President Slepitza said. “The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation has helped fuel a renaissance at Avila. I am deeply grateful for the support from both of these esteemed institutions that will broaden the powerful learning experience Avila delivers.”


About Avila University
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.