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To understand the history of Avila University , you must travel down a path that originated in 17th Century France. Under the patronage of Saint Joseph, six women from LePuy dedicated themselves to the "… practice of all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy of which woman is capable and which will most benefit the … dear neighbor."
The Journey West
Their mission led them on a journey across the Atlantic to New Orleans and along the mighty Mississippi to the "Gateway to the West," St. Louis, Mo., in 1836.
Nearly 30 years later, the Sisters journeyed to Kansas City, a burgeoning town on the banks of the Missouri. Here they began St. Teresa's Academy, a private school for girls.
In 1916 on the same campus as the academy, the Sisters founded Saint Teresa College, a two-year college for only women. In 1940 it became the four-year College of Saint Teresa. Five years later it was fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In 1963 the pioneering spirit of the Sisters lengthened its shadow southward as the college's leadership looked to the then-undeveloped edge of Kansas City for a new location. The campus was built at 119th Street and Wornall Road with a portion of the historic Santa Fe Trail providing its southern border - creating a true intersection of pioneers.
With the move came a new name: Avila College, still in honor of Saint Teresa of Avila. In 1969 Avila widened its path by opening full-time enrollment to men.
In 2002, Avila College became Avila University, a name reflecting its growth and development as an institution of higher education.
For more than 80 years, Avila University has been a leader, paving the way for Kansas City's first baccalaureate degree programs in nursing and social work, as well as the area's first women's studies program.
Now, more than 1,900 students from more than 30 different countries and all parts of the United States are drawn to Avila University each year and find their way here.