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Two new executives to lead fundraising

Avila poised for future growth on heels of completing $13.5 million in capital projects


September 27, 2011

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KANSAS CITY, Mo - - Angela Heer, who has spent the last 10 years fundraising for Harvesters – The Community Food Network, has accepted a position as vice president for advancement and external relations, and Robin Rowland, who has led development and public relations efforts for The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City the past six years, has been appointed executive director of development, Avila president Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., announced today.

“Angela and Robin bring a phenomenal record of success with their ability to organize and lead teams,” Slepitza said. “While new to university advancement functions and operations, I have no doubt they will bring us to new levels of success in all facets of our fundraising efforts, all the while enhancing the reputation and visibility of the university in the community.”

Heer has served as director of fund development at Harvesters in Kansas City, Mo. since August, 2007, where she developed strategy and led a team of seven fundraising professionals in executing comprehensive major gift, annual, special event and planned giving campaigns. She was instrumental in Harvesters achieving phenomenal increases in fundraising since taking that role. Prior to that, she was annual giving manager at Harvesters from 2001-07 and manager of corporate and foundation gifts at Beyond Housing, an organization that offers affordable housing, educational and youth development opportunities in St. Louis.

Heer is scheduled to start her new duties at Avila Oct. 5.

“This is a very exciting time of growth for Avila University, and I am thrilled to join the university’s dedicated team of faculty and staff,” Heer said. “I look forward to raising the resources to continue Avila’s excellence in teaching, learning and service to others.”

Rowland, who began her position here Sept. 26, served as vice president, development and public relations at The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City since 2005. During that time, she increased fundraising revenue for that organization 277 percent by managing a multi-channel fundraising program which included large-scale special events, annual fund, direct mail, corporate sponsors and personal solicitation. She also created and implemented a major gifts campaign and $11 million capital campaign. Before that, she worked in public relations for the Center School District in Kansas City, Mo., was a fundraising coordinator at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and worked in public and community relations for the Health Midwest Healthcare System and St. Francis Hospital and Health Services, Maryville, Mo.

Rowland currently is working on her master of arts in management with a fundraising emphasis from Avila and is scheduled to earn her degree in 2013.

“Avila University is well-known in the community for its commitment to education and community service,” Rowland said. “I’m excited to join the Avila team and help support the efforts of the university as it continues to prepare students for their futures.”

Heer and Rowland arrive at Avila at a time of unprecedented capital improvements, construction and renovations occurring on campus. Some $13.5 million in improvements and renovations have already taken place or are taking place around campus, including the new Mabee Pavilion, much-improved monument signage by Wornall Road, a turfed Zarda Sports Complex and renovations to Marian dining hall and Whitfield lounge. Still to come is a new residence hall and biology lab.  

 “Robin and Angie are great additions to the team,” said Jeanne Hamilton Olofson, DHL, Avila University board of trustees member and civic leader. “Having been associated with Avila University for many years as both a student and a donor, I’m excited to see these professionals bring the right mix of expertise and personality fit to their new roles.”

Slepitza said he is pleased to have Heer and Rowland lead Avila’s Advancement team as the university prepares to mark its 100th anniversary in 2016.



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.