Avila Home Page
Helpful Links
University News

› News Archive
› Media Kit

Media Contact:

Haley Jean Jones
Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Stay Connected with Avila:

Facebook twitter youtube

S. Marie Joan Harris selected as 'influential woman' by KC Business magazine


February 17, 2012

Share |


KANSAS CITY, Mo - S. Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D., provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Avila University, has been selected as a member of the 2012 Class of Influential Women by KC Business magazine.

With this honor, S. Marie, who in 2011 celebrated her golden jubilee as a Sister of St. Joseph and her 41st year working at Avila, will be featured in the March issue of the magazine. She’ll also attend a private meet-and-greet with fellow members of the class in February and receive her award during a cocktail reception in March.

“This is a great honor for Marie, and we couldn’t be happier for her and this recognition,” said Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., Avila president. “Her commitment as not only a CSJ but also nearly 42 years at our institution is truly commendable and makes this well deserved. She has served Avila and the broader community in many capacities, and we’re proud to have her on our leadership team.”

S. Marie began her career at the university in 1970 as an assistant professor of chemistry. She went on to become an associate professor of chemistry, chairperson for the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics, vice president and dean for academic affairs and provost and vice president for academic affairs. One of only three remaining sisters on campus actively serving the Avila community (the others are S. Jeanne Janssen and S. Rose McLarney), she was instrumental in the creation and development of the Avila Advantage Program for working adults. She has shaped a dynamic and creative faculty who are recognized as teachers and scholars. She led the initiative to create the Avila Value Statements as well as the successful implementation of the 2002-2008 Strategic Plan.

S. Marie has served the community at large by serving on nine boards providing leadership, guidance and influence. She received the Chief Academic Officer Award from the Council of Independent Colleges in 2003, she was Professor of the Year at Avila in 1985 and received the university’s Medal of Honor in 1982.

This is the sixth year that KC Business has recognized successful women committed to mentoring, personal growth and community involvement. The magazine has honored nearly 150 Kansas City leaders in the corporate, non-profit, artistic and entrepreneurial communities.



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.