Avila University
11901 Wornall Rd
Kansas City MO 64145
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 942-8400
Mission Statement

Avila University, a Catholic university founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.

CEO/Executive Director Dr. Ronald Slepitza Ph.D., CSJA
Board Chair Mr. David Kerr
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1940
Former Names
Avila College
The College of St. Teresa
The Junior College of St. Teresa
St. Teresa's Academy
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

Avila University, a Catholic university founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.

Background Statement

The Sisters of St. Joseph were founded in LePuy, France, in 1650 and immigrated to America in 1836, traveling up the Mississippi to Carondelet, Missouri, south of St. Louis. After establishing several schools in St. Louis, the Sisters migrated west in 1866 and opened Kansas City’s first private high school for young women, St. Teresa's Academy. In 1916, the Academy administration chartered the first private college for women in Kansas City, the Junior College of St. Teresa, which offered a two-year program leading to an Associate of Arts Degree. In 1940 the junior college became the College of St. Teresa, and expanded to a four-year liberal arts institution with professional programs in nursing, education, and business. The College established the city’s first baccalaureate degree program in nursing in 1948, and additional degree programs were added. The College moved to its current location in southwest Kansas City in 1963 and became Avila College, in honor of St. Teresa of Avila. Avila became co-educational in 1969 and established graduate programs in business, education, and psychology in 1978. In 2002, the institution became Avila University. Avila University's commitment to excellence, to service, to quality education of spirit, mind and body, and to growth of the whole person is rooted in its Catholic heritage and in the lives and beliefs of the founding Sisters of St. Joseph. The University’s faculty and staff provide a supportive, caring, yet challenging environment where students receive close personalized attention. A strong emphasis is placed on integrating the liberal arts into all programs to prepare students for a lifetime of personal fulfillment and career growth.

Impact Statement

During the 2016-2017 school year, Avila:

  • Wrapped up its largest campaign in its history, which raised  a total of $52,477,321- 22% over goal.
  • Implemented new undergraduate programs in Kinesiology and Women's and Gender Studies.
  • Expanded online program deliver for Master's in Education -Teaching and Learning and Computer Science.
  • Launched a 24/7 online tutoring service for students across all disciplines. 
  • Met the first year of the Jack F. and Glenna Y. Wylie Foundation challenge grant to grow our endowment by at least $2 million over the next five years.
  • Secured a $750,000 challenge from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation to help establish the new Goppert Performing Arts Theatre.
During the 2017-2018 school year, Avila will continue to focus on student-centered learning by providing high-quality, values-based education that prepares lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.
  • Launched the Avila Promise which includes a 33% tuition reduction, four year graduation guarantee, internship/research experience, monetary travel award for incoming freshman and will be implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Continue the timely implementation of Avila's Strategic Plan.
  • Prepare for accreditation visit for the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Celebrate our new affiliation with Kansas City Collegiate Athletic Association Conference.
Needs Statement

With 98 percent of Avila students in need of financial aid, now, more than ever, the university's most pressing need is the financial support necessary to deliver the values- and experience-based education that sets Avila apart. For our deserving students and our world today, it is imperative that we broaden the powerful learning experience that Avila provides.

Service Categories
Higher Education
Undergraduate Colleges
Graduate & Professional Schools
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
More than a century ago, the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet founded Avila University, then St. Teresa Academy, to ensure that everyone had access to a high-quality education. But as tuition steadily rises and students take longer to graduate, the dream of a college degree has become unobtainable for many. We wanted to challenge this broken system and reach even more students, to show them that a degree from a private university is not out of grasp. As we stand on the heritage and beliefs of our founders, we are proud to launch the Avila Promise. The Avila Promise will be implemented at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year and is built upon four promises:
  1. Lower tuition pricing- Avila tuition will include a 33 percent reduction and encompasses textbooks and campus fees.
  2. Guaranteed graduation in four years- Avila students can look forward to graduating in four years. This will help parents plan the cost of tuition and attend graduate school or start their careers in a timely manner.
  3. Guaranteed internship/research experience- Every Avila student regardless of major will have hands-on experience in their proposal career field prior to graduation.
  4. Monetary travel awards- Avila inspires students to gain a broader perspective on the world around. In keeping with this vision, students can apply for travel awards during their junior year that will allow them to travel either internationally or nationally to learn more about the world around them.
Together, these four promises enhance the value of an Avila education. Avila’s caring and compassion faculty and staff, high-quality education and cutting-edge learning environment help prepare students for a bright future. And now because of The Avila Promise, students and their parents will know exactly how much their tuition is and when they will graduate. This is the Avila way—transparent and honest.
As Avila moves into its next century, we are more convinced than ever before that we are holding true to our mission and we are touching the hearts and minds of our students—inspiring them to be the best version of themselves.

Avila places strong emphasis on integrating the liberal arts into all programs in order to prepare students for a lifetime of personal fulfillment and career growth. Carefully- planned courses in the humanities, arts, natural and social sciences are designed to develop each student’s ability to think critically, analyze written material and write and speak effectively. Students acquire the skills necessary for success in a chosen career as well as preparation for graduate or professional studies. Avila University students major in one of 30 undergraduate and five graduate programs as well as participate in clinical work or internships in numerous agencies and businesses throughout the metropolitan area.

Category Education, General/Other Education, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success Higher retention rates.
Long-Term Success Avila inspires all students to be the best version of themselves and prepares them to be the leaders of future generations.
Program Success Monitored By Avila faculty, staff and administration.
Examples of Program Success Avila's successful graduation rates.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr. Ronald Slepitza Ph.D., CSJA
Term Start July 2006
Experience Formerly the vice president for student development and special counsel to the president for strategic planning at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ron Slepitza began his presidency at Avila in July 2006. Dr. Slepitza has a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Vincent’s College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in counseling and student personnel administration from the University of Maryland. Dr. Slepitza and his wife, Suzanne, have two children Molly and Andrew.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Mr. Thomas F. Gordon J.D., LL.M.Dec 2001 - Jan 2006
Dr. Larry Kramer Jan 1985 - Dec 2001
Senior Staff
Title Vice President for Informational Services & Vice Provost, Academic Affairs
Title Director of Mission and Campus Ministries
Title Dean of Students, Student Affairs
Title Vice President for Enrollment Management
Title Vice President of Advancement & External Relations
Title Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services
Paid Full-Time Staff 209
Paid Part-Time Staff 46
Volunteers 25
Paid Contractors 0
Retention Rate 78%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 19
Asian American/Pacific Islander 6
Caucasian 208
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 21
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 117
Male 138
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes

Avila University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. Avila University programs are accredited by Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, Council on Social Work Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and the Missouri State Board of Nursing. Avila also collaborates with the following organizations: American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Counseling Association of Missouri-Kansas City, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Association of Colleges of Sisters of Saint Joseph, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Association of Departments of English, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Catholic Campus Ministry Association, Collegiate Nurse Educators of Greater Kansas City, Council of Independent Colleges, Council on Philanthropy, Council on Social Work Education, Diocesan Directors of Campus Ministry, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Greater Kansas City Psychological Association, Heart of America Athletic Conference, International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, International Association of Business Communicators, The Higher Learning Commission, National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities, Kansas Association of Colleges and Employers, Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce,  Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Missouri Association of Colleges of Nursing, Missouri League for Nursing, National Association of Directors of Campus Ministry, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,Olathe Chamber of Commerce, and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

External Assessment and Accreditations
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education - 10 Year Accreditation2010
International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education2010
Council on Social Work Education - Accreditation2014
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology - Accreditation2016
President's Higher Education Community Service Honor RollCorporation for National and Community Service2012
Bronze QuillInternational Association of Business Communicators2012
2012 Class of Influential Women - Sr. Marie Joan HarrisKC Business Magazine2012
Elbert C. Cole Jr. Legacy Award- Sr. Marie Joan HarrisGeorge H. Nettleton Foundation2013
Outstanding service on Children's Trust Fund Board- Assistant Professor of Psychology- Dr. Regina StavesChildren's Trust Fund2013
President's Higher Education- Community Service Honor RollCorporation for National and Community Service2013
Talon staffers won six awards at the 2014 annual conferenceMissouri Collegiate Media Association2014
Avila Cheer and Dance Team won overall conference titleHeart of America Athletic Conference2014
2014 Class of Influential Women- Angela Heer, Vice President of Advancement and External AffairsKansas City Business Magazine2014
Top 100 Most Affordable Small Classes West of the MississippiGreat Value College2015
Avila University has been named top 100 Most Affordable Small Colleges West of the MississippiKansas City Business Journal2016
Excellence in Fundraising Award- Angela Heer, Vice-President of Advancement and External RelationsMid-America chapter for the Association of Fundraising Professionals2016
Fulbright-Hays Grant AwardDepartment of Education2016
Talon staffers won 14 awards at annual conferenceMissouri Collegiate Media Association2017
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments

Management of Avila University is overseen by members of the executive committee made up of senior staff members. Executive committee members are charged with managing the university's strategy and guiding its operations; evaluating the effectiveness of services provided; planning and budgeting; and management of strategic initiatives.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. David Kerr
Company Affiliation Retired
Term May 2016 to May 2021
Board Members
Mr. Matthew Beem
Mr. Joseph T. Fahey J.M. Fahey Construction Company
Mr. G. Robert Fisher
Mr. Kenneth V. Hager Retired
Mr. Bob Hardin Retired
Sr. Marie Joan Harris CSJ, Ph.D
Mr. Robert T Hunter Retired
Sr. Mary Frances Johnson CSJ, Ph.D.Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet
Mr. David D. Kerr Retired
Mr. Gregory M. Kratofil Jr.Polsinelli
Mr. Vercie L. Lark DST Systems
Sr. Mary Margaret Lazio
Sr. Shawn Madigan CSJ, Ph.D.Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet
Ms. Ellen S. Martin
Sr. Mary McKay, CSJ
Ms. Christine Ojile Kantar Retail
Sr. Irene O'Neill, CSJ, Ed.D.
Mr. Gary D. Smith
Mr. Mark C. Thompson Country Club Bank
Ms. Ana Valdez
Mr. Rick Weller Euronet Worldwide
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 19
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 77%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Campus Planning and Development
Academic Affairs
Institutional Advancement
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Ellen Barnes Project Management Institute
Mr. Tapan Bhatt TeraCrunch
Ms. Amy Cline Bryan Cave LLP
Ms. Virginia Coppinger Community Volunteer
Ms. Bobbi Courville Community Volunteer
Mr. Derek Feagans Stinson Morrison Hecker
Ms. Michelle Graff Gillis Center
Mr. Johnny Ingram Jr.AT&T
Mr. Leon Jones Government Administration
Ms. Robin Jordan YMCA
Ms. Marcia Kenley Community Volunteer
Mr. Gregory Alan Lever Taliaferro & Browne, Inc.
Ms. Julie McManus Community Volunteer
Ms. Edith Louise Messina
Ms. Ann O'Hare The Historical Society of New Santa Fe
Ms. Jeanne Christine Rae-Flattery
Mr. Heath Roberts Children's Mercy Hospital
Ms. Eudora Savage American Business Women's Association, LLC
Mr. Frank A Toplikar Community Volunteer
Ms. JoLinda Vega IBM
Ms. Michele L. Watley State of Missouri
Ms. Julia Ann Weiss Community Volunteer
CEO Comments
As an Avila alum and Chair of the Avila Board of Trustees, I am proud to say that the university stands by its mission and is committed to providing financial assistance to ALL students in need. This ensures that potential defines Avila’s student body, rather than demographics. While the Avila’s campus has changed throughout the years, the passion for education has not. Avila’s high-quality value’s based education is what sets it apart from other colleges and universities. Avila inspires students to be the best version of themselves and gives them the vision and tools to change the world around them.
But Avila doesn’t want to stop here. We also want to give our students a clearer and more affordable path to achieve their dream of a college degree. Colleges and Universities across the country publish their tuition rates using a high tuition/high discounting model that only causes confusion for students and their parents. This tuition is then raised year after year and in some cases making their degree no longer affordable while in the midst of their college career.
Our goal is to help students succeed, this is why Avila is excited to announce the Avila Promise! The Avila Promise will be implemented at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year. The Avila Promise is comprised of four initiatives that gives students a more affordable way to achieve a college degree, embark upon a career path and become a lifelong learner. By offering lower tuition pricing, guaranteed graduation in four years, internship/research experience and monetary travel awards, Avila is increasing the value of its degree without increasing the price tag.
The Avila Promise addresses the rapidly changing world of education and seeks to inspire students to make lifelong contributions to the global community. For more than 100 years, Avila has transformed the lives of its students and we are more committed now that ever. The Avila Promise will reach even more students, giving them the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and others, to follow their dreams and become lifelong learners.
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $28,833,057
Projected Expenses $28,833,057
Endowment Value $10,500,000
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 5
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line items include contributions from individuals. 
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$406,510$376,097$329,013
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses($106,997)$1,623,311$727,200
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$1,053,791$909,661$653,954
Revenue In-Kind$1,254,351$552,149$135,359
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$36,287,864$35,112,347$32,522,260
Administration Expense$5,396,384$5,261,138$5,740,201
Fundraising Expense$1,413,136$1,253,579$1,075,902
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.011.091.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses84%84%83%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue31%20%21%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$56,593,854$56,765,143$54,958,820
Current Assets$10,903,147$9,959,729$11,000,766
Long-Term Liabilities$7,334,994$7,869,941$6,408,673
Current Liabilities$17,992,235$18,109,045$20,090,014
Total Net Assets$31,266,625$30,786,157$28,460,133
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.610.550.55
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets13%14%12%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Anonymous $3,533,340 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Anonymous $271,000 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Anonymous $200,000 --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Avila University’s comprehensive campaign includes a new performing arts building, residence hall, Learning Commons and Science & Health Complex, as well as new programs.
Goal $43,340,000.00
Dates July 2010 to May 2017
Amount Raised to Date $44,777,361.00 as of June 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Organization Name Avila University
Address 11901 Wornall Rd
Kansas City, MO 64145
Primary Phone (816) 942-8400
Contact Email deanna.nelson@avila.edu
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Ronald Slepitza Ph.D., CSJA
Board Chair Mr. David Kerr
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Year of Incorporation 1940
Former Names
Avila College
The College of St. Teresa
The Junior College of St. Teresa
St. Teresa's Academy