Give to Avila

100 Years of Academic Excellence


ron slepitzaI am inspired daily by those who choose to support Avila University. Supporters like you, share your time, leadership and treasure to provide Avila’s distinct learning and living environment.

Supporters like you give for many reasons; pride in your alma mater, belief in a values-based education and investing in the next generation. Whatever your reason for support, we thank you. Your gifts today and in the future will inspire scholarship, leadership and service for Avila students, our most precious commodity.

With gratitude,

ron slepitza signature

Ronald A. Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA

President, Avila University

Steer Dinner & Auction

Steer Dinner & Auction

Avila’s annual Steer Dinner has raised more than $10 million in scholarship funds, allowing countless students from low- and moderate-income families the opportunity to be first-generation college graduates.  

The 41st annual Steer Dinner will be on Saturday, February 18, 2017, at Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Muehlebach Tower. For more details, please visit the event website at

40th Annual Steer Dinner Raises a Record-Breaking $1.17 Million in Student Scholarships!

History of Steer

In 1977, the Steer Dinner started with the gift of an American Royal Grand Champion Steer (named Jimmy C), a sister and a plan.

When Jimmy C was donated by several area businessmen to Sister Olive Louis Dallavis, then President of Avila, she needed to turn the gift into cash. The school cafeteria was moderately decorated, tables set and steaks served. Since the first dinner years ago, alumni, family and friends have contributed more than $10 million in scholarship money – assuring that 98 percent of Avila students receive some form of financial assistance.

View photos from the 2016 Steer Dinner

Past Steer Leadership

Since 1977, many community leaders have lent their time, talents and treasures to make sure the legacy of Sister Olive Louise and the Steer Dinner continues to thrive. Special thanks to these past Steer Chairpersons – leaders who continue to champion values-based education and other important initiatives in our community:

Past Steer Dinner Honorary Chairs

  • Don and Christine Alexander
    • Kathleen Andrews
    • The Andrews McMeel Universal Foundation
    • Carolyn Berbiglia†
    • Robert and Phyliss ’80, ’81 Bernstein
    • Henry and Marion† Bloch
    • Bob and Olie Boyle†
    • Clarkson Construction Company
    • Forster-Powers Charitable Trust
    • Sister Olive Louise Dallavis
    • Vince† and Marilee DiCarlo
    • Bill Sr. and Jean ’44 Dunn
    • Joe and Sue Fahey
    • Forster-Powers Charitable Trust
    • Dave ‘76 and Geri Frantze
    • The Goppert Foundation
    • Richard and Shirli Goppert
    • Ken and Marilyn Hager
    • John Latshaw†
    • John and Nancy McCarthy
    • Kevin and Susan McGreevy
    • John and Susan McMeel
    • Dorothy Meade Memorial/Dr. Benjamin Meade
    • Mary Beth Meyers†
    • Bob† and Carol Miller and Family
    • Mike and Emmy† Morrissey
    • Philomena Muntzel†
    • Jeanne Hamilton Olofson ’92, ’94, ’11
    • The Tom W. and Jeanne H. Olofson Foundation
    • Paddi Browne OSullivan
    • Will and Senia ’01 Shields

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

• John J. Sullivan, Jr.†
• Rose Teicher†
• The Class of 1954 and Byron Thompson†
   in Memory of Jeanne Collins Thompson ‘54
• The Byron Thompson Family
• The Bill Waris Scholarship Fund
• Dorothy Whitfield ’55†

Past Event Chairs

  • Tom and Virginia ’58 Coppinger
    • Becky Cotton
    • Joe and Sue Fahey
    • Bob and Terry ’79 Fisher
    • Dave ‘76 and Geri Frantze
    • Linda Hanson
    • Bob ’78 and Pat ’79 Hardin
    • John and Nancy McCarthy
    • Lauren McCarth ’07
    • Jack and Kathy ’70 Newman
    • Phil and Lee Ann Orscheln
    • Joel and Brenda Pelofshy
    • Ana Valdez ’96
    • Jim and Ruth† Willcox

† indicates deceased

For more information about how to support student scholarships with a gift through Steer Dinner, please call 816.501.3602 or contact Advancement.

Sister Olive Louise Dallavis (S.O.L.D.) Fund

Sister Olive Louise Dallavis (S.O.L.D.) Fund

The S.O.L.D. Fund is named in honor of Sister Olive Louise Dallavis, CSJ and president emerita, who dedicated more than 55 years of service to the University. Since 2007, the S.O.L.D. Fund has supported annual scholarships for Avila students most in need.

Your S.O.L.D. Fund gift will be recognized at Avila University’s annual Steer Dinner & Auction, an event Sister Olive started in 1977 to raise critical scholarship funds for Avila students.

To learn more about the S.O.L.D. Fund, contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development – major gifts, at 816.501.2435



Twice a year, your phone may ring with an Avila student on the line. These dedicated students are known as the Avila Eagle Callers. Avila’s Phonathon program puts 100 percent of donations into student scholarships. Avila’s Eagle Callers are invested in their conversations with alumni, with many learning more about the university, its history and even their majors. Your gift to the Phonathon extends the reach of scholarships to guarantee that our student body defines itself by potential, not economic factors.

If you would like to receive more information or have questions concerning the Phonathon, contact Bailey Carr, director of alumni & annual fund at 816.501.3780.

President's Circle

President’s Circle

President’s Circle members are truly partners in Avila's mission. Annual donors of $1,000 and above, as well as Heritage Society members and lifetime donors will be celebrated as modern-day founders of Avila. This generosity has provided for undergraduate scholarships, campus renovations, current technology for classrooms and library materials, among a host of other areas. 

President’s Circle Donors receive the following benefits:

  • Listing in Accent Magazine, Avila University website and other University publications, including the President’s Circle Newsletter
  • Invitation to the annual spring Donor Barbecue
  • Free admittance to select campus events
  • Invitations to additional Avila special events (determined by gift amount)
  • Opportunities to meet one-on-one with President Dr. Ron Slepitza (determined by gift amount)

For more information about the President’s Circle, contact Deanna Johnson, senior director of development, alumni & annual fund at 816.501.2450.

Click here to view the 2014-2015 Annual Report

Annual Giving

Annual Giving

The Avila student is often carrying a heavy load - juggling 12 to 18 credit hours, playing a competitive sport for Avila and working a part or full-time job. Scholarships provide relief to our students, lifting a weight from their shoulders.

With scholarships, our students no longer have to worry about how to pay for college and instead are able to focus on their academics. 

With 98 percent of first-year students receiving some form of financial aid, your gifts can make all the difference for our students, many of which would not be able to attend college without scholarship support.

There are many ways to support Avila, and throughout the year we provide several opportunities to support the annual fund, including:

⦁ Steer Dinner and Auction
⦁ Phonathon
⦁ President’s Circle (annual gift of $1,000 or more)
⦁ Faithful Eagle (monthly giving club)

Whatever your ability to give, it is appreciated. Whether your annual gift is $5 or $5,000+ – it will enable hundreds of deserving students to pursue an Avila education and fulfill their dreams.

"I'll forever be grateful to those alumni and university friends that have made a gift to Avila’s Annual Fund. The scholarship support I've received makes my education at Avila possible and my dream of becoming a doctor one day possible."
Austin Armstrong, Pre-med '15

Faithful Eagles

Faithful Eagles

We are excited to announce a new way to give to Avila. It’s easy to join the Faithful Eagle program: Just make a monthly gift to the annual fund.

Gifts of all sizes to the annual fund support students' dreams of a college education, student development, technology enhancements and faculty resources. You can also designate your gift to support your favorite department. Be a Faithful Eagle with a monthly gift via credit card or electronic funds transfer.

Become a Faithful Eagle today. For those donors who prefer to pay by check, click here to download a PDF with instructions for mailing your donation.

Maybe you can’t make an annual gift of $120 all at once, but making a monthly $10 online gift over 12 months is much easier. Every gift counts and makes a difference for our students!

To find out more about how your monthly gift helps Avila provide for our students, or to sign up today, contact Bailey Carr, director of alumni and donor relations, at 816.501.3780.

Planned Giving

Planned Giving

To learn more about planned giving opportunities with Avila, please click here

Many alumni and friends choose to remember Avila University in their estate plans. They realize that by investing in Avila University, they are investing in the future of our value-based institution. The University is the recipient of bequests, trusts, and charitable gift annuities from individuals who have taken the time to investigate the advantages of settling their will and estate plans.

For more information contact JT Cattle, director of development, at 816.501.3696. 

"Avila has done marvelous things. I was back recently and was just so impressed with what they're doing for students. I'm just very happy that we can contribute in some way. It's exciting to be part of what Avila University is today!"

Connie Kassick John'61 and Ed John

Endowed Scholarships

Endowed Scholarships


The single biggest concern for most families is how to pay for a higher education. With a minimum gift of $20,000, you can create an endowed scholarship and help ease that burden for students who have high potential, but limited financial resources. An endowed scholarship provides a perpetual source of financial assistance for current and future students. With the principle of the endowment invested for long-term growth, approximately five percent of the fund is set aside to fund a scholarship each year. Additional earnings allow the fund, and the scholarship amount, to grow.

Flexible Endowment

A flexible endowment provides flexibility by creating an endowed scholarship over a five-year period, and the joy of seeing the impact of your scholarship on a student from day one. Considering a minimum gift of $25,000, a donor will pay $5,000 per year for five years. $1,000 is used immediately to fund a scholarship and the remainder goes toward the endowment fund until it is fully funded.
For more information on endowed scholarships, please contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development – major gifts, at 816.501.2435.

"Avila offered me a warm place to land at a very difficult time in my life. They focused on me and not the schoolwork. They were very supportive and helped my mom, too, because she was comforted knowing I was in such a good place."

Karen MacLean and Allison MacLean Lawrence '05
Established the C. Douglas MacLean Endowed Scholarship in memory of Karen's husband and Allison's father.

Estate Giving

Estate Giving

To learn more about estate planning opportunities with Avila, please click here

When you include Avila University in your estate plans, you help strengthen your university and ensure a brighter future for Avila students to come. Leave a lasting legacy by naming Avila University in your will, living trust or retirement plan. The process is simple and your support benefits Avila students for generations to come.

For more information contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development - major gifts, at 816.501.2435. 

Tribute and Memorial Giving

Memorial and Tribute Gifts

Gifts made in memory or in honor of someone are deeply appreciated and can add significance to a person’s life. Each time a tribute gift is made, Avila notifies the person you designate. Please provide the name and address of the person you would like us to notify by clicking here (click through to the main advancement email).

Your gift can be: a one-time cash gift, a named annual scholarship, a named endowed scholarship. To discuss your giving options, contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development – major gifts, at 816.501.2435. To make a gift now, click here.

Patty Laughlin Leathers ’74 
When Patty’s husband, noted local journalist and publisher Tom Leathers, passed away in 2005, she honored him by creating a named endowed scholarship at Avila designated for the student editor of The Talon, Avila’s student-produced campus newspaper.

Gifts of Stock

Gifts of Stock

Your gift of appreciated securities may offer special tax benefits, including the elimination of capital gains tax on the appreciated portion of stock gifts.

This type of giving is simple and can be completed within a few days. To start the process today, contact Deanna Nelson, senior director of development – major gifts, at 816.501.2435.

Heritage Society

Avila Heritage Society

To learn more about the Avila Heritage Society, please click here

The Avila Heritage Society was established in 1988 to recognize the remarkable contributions of Avila alumni and friends who have made provisions in their estate plans or lifetime planned gifts to support the ongoing and future needs of the University. Such provisions may include: 

  • Bequests through wills and trusts 
  • Life insurance policies 
  • Gift annuities 
  • Charitable remainder or lead trusts 
  • Appreciated securities 
  • Real estate and life estates in homes 

Our members include individuals and families who are interested in supporting the future endowment growth and strength of a vibrant Avila University. Individuals, corporations and foundations that have funded named endowed scholarships are also included as members of the Avila Heritage Society Roll of Honor.

The annual Avila Heritage Day Celebration is held on the Avila University campus to recognize and show appreciation to Avila Heritage Society members. We also acknowledge the significant support provided by our deceased members.

For more information about the Heritage Society, bequests, estate gifts, or other planned giving, please contact JT Cattle, director of development, at 816.501.3696. 

Click here to view the 2016-2017 Annual Report

The Avila Promise

  • Lower Tuition Rate
  • Tuition Protection
  • 4-Year Graduation Guarantee
  • Internship or Research Guarantee
  • up to $1,000 Travel Award


That’s the Avila Promise.

Visit Us at VIEW AU

View AU

Interested in learning more about Avila? Join us for our one and only View AU this semester! 

January 27
9:00 am
Whitfield Center
Sign up today!

Alumni and Friends: 42nd annual Steer Dinner & Auction


steer homepage pod
February 3, 2018
Kansas City Downtown Marriott
Muehlbach Tower
6 p.m.

An evening benefitting student scholarships. View more details and register online.

AU News

Avila University is seeking comments from the public about the University in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency. The University will host a visit February 26-27, 2018 with a team representing the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Avila University has been accredited by HLC since 1946. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the University to the following address:

Public Comment on Avila University,
Higher Learning Commission,
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

The public may also submit comments on HLC’s website at

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing.

All comments must be received by January 19, 2018.