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Avila welcomes three trustees to board

August 7, 2014

S. Mary McKay, CSJ, Ph.D., S. Irene O’Neill, CSJ, Ed.D., and Vercie Lark are the newest members of Avila University’s Board of Trustees, the University announced recently.

They become part of a group which makes policy and sets strategic direction for the University.

S MaryS. Mary entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Sept. 8, 1968. After earning a bachelor of arts with a major in English in 1968 from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, she went on to receive her master of arts in formative spirituality from Duquesne and doctorate in theology from Notre Dame. After teaching in CSJ-sponsored schools early in her career, she returned to her alma mater in 1983 as assistant to the director of the graduate program in Religious Studies. She currently is an assistant/associate professor of Religious Studies at Mount St. Mary’s, where she has served two stints on the college’s board of trustees. S. Mary also led as provincial superior for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Los Angeles Province, from 2004-10.


S. IreneS. Irene is the principal foundation officer of the Ministries Foundation, which funds programs of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet that serve communities for the poor. She has grown the Ministries Foundation from zero funds to nearly $15 million in the past few years. For her philanthropic endeavors, she was recognized as a “Woman to Watch” by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and has gained recognition as “The Blogging Nun” for her efforts in communicating the work of the Foundation with the outside world. A native of Roseville, Minn., she is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a former elementary school teacher before achieving master’s and doctorate degrees in educational leadership. She joined the CSJ community in 1985.


vercie larkLark is chief information and technology officer for DST Systems in Kansas City, Mo., where he has been employed since 2010. He was recruited by DST to establish a global IT vision/strategy that positions DST for the future, both through marketing and advertising and new product innovation. Since arriving, he has implemented strategies that have significantly improved DST’s productivity, delivered new systems capabilities and optimized IT functions. He also is leading DST’s Global IT Sourcing team in India and Thailand. Prior to his time at DST, Lark was employed at CenturyLink as vice president and chief information officer and served in several IT-based roles over a 16-year period at Hewlett Packard. He received his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he today serves on the Technology Advisory Board.

“We’re thrilled to have S. Mary McKay, S. Irene O’Neill and Vercie Lark join Avila University’s Board of Trustees,” said Avila President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. “The additions of two Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet further strengthens the bond we’ve shared with our founding community for nearly 100 years. And the dedication and excellence these three have demonstrated consistently in their fields makes them a perfect fit for our board. We look forward to their input and many years of productive work together on behalf of our University.”


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.