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Ministry Leadership

Ministry Leaders

Ministry Leaders provide ministry for fellow students—using their energy and efforts in positive ways to give others a positive experience of faith in action. Leaders plan and execute programs that will contribute to the spiritual welfare of all Avila students through SERVICE, COMMUNITY, JUSTICE and SPIRITUALITY activities.

The purpose of a ministry leader is to uphold given responsibilities so that all of the ministry needs are met.

If you would like to be a Ministry Leader and serve on the Spirituality, Community, Service, Justice, or Music ministries, please stop by our offices on the first floor of Carondelet or e-mail To receive the weekly Office of Ministry, Spirituality & Action AKA OMSA Press weekly e-mail, you can also contact Julie at  And for updates on what we're doing, follow @AvilaMinistry on Twitter or like Avila Campus Ministries on Facebook.

Ministry Staff

  • Dave Armstrong, CSJA

    Director of University Mission and Ministry
    Office: Carondelet, 104
    Phone: 816.501.2423

    Dave has been in ministry to young people for more than 30 years including 23 years in Campus Ministry and 8 years as the Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.


    He holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University of New Orleans, and his undergraduate degree is in Religious Studies from Benedictine College.  

    Dave lives and raises his family in Prairie Village, KS with his wife Kelly. 
    He is an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

  • Fr. Keith Branson, CPPS

    Avila Chaplain
    Office: n/a
    Phone: n/a

    Fr. Keith has had a diverse career in music and ministry. As a musician, he has worked in many different churches, directing choirs of all ages, has taught music on several levels, and has presented organ 


    recitals and workshops in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio, as well as having original compositions performed at the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska, and Catholic Theological Union. Since becoming a Missionary of the Precious Blood and ordination as a Catholic priest in 2000, he has been a preacher, a spiritual director, a teacher, a college administrator, a pastor, and a chaplain. Now he is involved in Retreat and Renewal Ministry based at Precious Blood Center in Liberty, MO as well as serving as Chaplain at Avila University in Kansas City, MO.

    You can follow Fr. Keith and his blog:

  • Julie Cowley

    Assistant Director of University Ministry
    Office: Carondelet, 105
    Phone: 816.501.0427

    Julie Cowley is in her fifth year as Assistant Director of University Ministry at Avila. She enjoys mentoring students and witnessing the evolution of faith and service 


    working in their lives through their involvement in Ministry. Some of Julie’s responsibilities involve facilitating two student-led ministries, Service Ministry and Justice Ministry, and coordinating four week-long service immersion trips each year. On top of assisting with the management of our growing number of ministry leaders, Julie co-teaches first year seminar class, sits on various campus committees and is actively engaged as an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. 

  • Mary Kay Whitacre

    Spiritual Life Coordinator
    Office: Carondelet, 106
    Phone: 816.501.0426

    Since graduating from Avila in 1977 with degrees in Elementary Education and Religious Education, and completing a master's degree in Religious Education from Seattle University in 1981...


    Mary Kay has served the Roman Catholic Church as a paid professional minister in a variety of roles. Today, she divides her time between St. Thomas More Parish as their RCIA Director; Souljourners Ecumenical Spiritual Direction Formation Program as faculty, supervisor, and spiritual director; and Avila University as Spiritual Life Coordinator. This wife and mother of two adult married children has enjoyed returning to her roots here at Avila, and is energized by the life and spirit she shares with today's students.

All Avila Life

Campus Ministry Performance Grants


Campus Ministry Performance Grants are offered to incoming freshman and transfer students who have been actively involved in: 

• church or school ministries, such as youth group, campus ministry, social justice club, service club, etc.
• service and community engagement, such as participation in service trips or local service projects
• leadership positions at school 

and would like to further those skills in the context of campus ministries at Avila. Those who qualify for a ministry performance grant and are encouraged to apply!

Grants for up to $2000 a year are renewable with the recommendation of the Avila Campus Ministry staff.

Click here to apply for a Campus Ministry Performance Grant!

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.

Avila Inspired Stories

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avila inspired stories
Meet our Avila inspired students, faculty, alumni, and spaces. 

Visit our Avila Inspired Stories >

Transfer to Avila this Spring

transfer to avila this spring

transfer to avila this spring

  • Scholarships
  • Travel Award
  • Books & Campus Fees included        
  • Transfer-friendly

Learn more >

Graduate Studies: Attend an Upcoming Psychology Information Session

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graduate psychology information session

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, stop by an upcoming Graduate Psychology Coffee Talk on November 28. Let us treat you to a beverage and learn more about our program offerings.

RSVP now >

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