May 31, 2012
Kansas City, MO –
Nancy Blattner, David Kerr ’76 and Brad Hunt are the newest members of Avila University’s Board of Trustees, the University announced.
It also was announced that longtime board member and Avila friend Jim Gegg is stepping down from his position.
The three new members were nominated for service and then vetted by a board committee that handles selection of new trustees. They were recommended and accepted by the full board at its May 11 meeting. They become part of a panel which makes policy and oversees the operations and budget at Avila. Their membership on the board is effective immediately.
On July 1, 2009, Blattner became the first lay president in the 70-year history of Caldwell College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Caldwell, N.J. Before that, she was vice president and dean for academic affairs for five years at Fontbonne University in St. Louis. She holds a bachelor of science in secondary education/English and a master of arts in English from Southeast Missouri State University and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
“I am honored to have been invited by President Ron Slepitza to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees at Avila University,” Blattner said. “During my five years at Fontbonne University, an institution also sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, I came to embrace the mission and charism of the CSJs and learned about the many strengths of Avila University from its president and through interactions with the provost, S. Marie Joan Harris, CSJ. I consider my membership on this board as a wonderful opportunity to contribute in another way to Catholic higher education while at the same time acknowledging my commitment to the CSJs and their mission.”
Kerr grew up in the western Kansas town of Ness City and, after attending Fort Hays State University for two years, came to Avila University to play basketball for Avalanche coach Bill Waris. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both economics and business administration from Avila in 1976. He joined AT&T in 1979 and served as president of AT&T Kansas from 2003-07, where he was responsible for all regulatory, governmental and external affairs activities in the state. In 2007, he was appointed secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce by then-governor Kathleen Sebelius and two years later left to serve as Missouri’s director of economic development under governor Jay Nixon.
Kerr’s presence at Avila offers students, faculty and staff the rare opportunity to see business planning in action at the highest levels of the executive and governmental sectors.
“While a student, Avila University prepared and provided me with the tools necessary to successfully compete in the challenging and ever-changing global job market,” Kerr said. “I appreciate the opportunity to serve on Avila’s Board of Trustees and share my experience in both the private and public sectors to assist Avila students in preparation for their future careers.”
Hunt is a director in the Kansas City PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC office, with more than 15 years of technology related experience in a wide range of capacities. He has extensive experience in advanced wireless, wire line and optical technologies. He also was controller/finance director for the Kansas City division of Lucent Technologies, responsible for all financial aspects of that $1.2 billion business. He earned a bachelor of science in accounting from Colorado University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Arkansas.
“It is an honor to be part of such a dynamic board that facilitates change through a belief in continuous improvement,” Hunt said. “It is my hope and expectation that we will collectively establish the direction of the university that will ensure its continued success for the next 100 years.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Nancy Blattner, David Kerr and Brad Hunt join Avila University’s Board of Trustees,” said Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., Avila president. “The dedication to excellence they show in both their personal and professional lives makes them a perfect fit for our board. We look forward to their input and many years of fruitful work together on behalf of the 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.