Associate Jessie Fuller Clark Receives Avila Award
Pictured (left to right): Robert F. Hartsook, JD, EdD, Virginia Coppinger, ’58, Steven Clark, Jessie Fuller Clark, CSJA, CFRE, Belinda Troxler, ’88, Jeanne Hamilton Olofson, ’92, ’94, ’11, and Mark Thompson.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., – Jessie Fuller Clark, senior director of Advancement and a member of Avila University’s Advancement team since 2003, was bestowed the university’s 2012 Medal of Honor by President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., and Board of Trustee members Robert F. Hartsook, JD, EdD, Jeanne Hamilton Olofson ’92, ’94, ’11 and Mark Thompson in a surprise ceremony during the annual donor barbeque held May 17 in Avila’s athletic pavilion.
In presenting the award, given annually to someone who has made significant contributions to Avila, exemplified an attitude of support and loyalty to Avila and embodied the mission of the university, Slepitza spoke of Fuller Clark’s devotion to the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in all she does.
“Few are such strong or effective advocates as Jessie,” Slepitza said. “Few hold our mission more dear. Few have had a greater impact on the university at such a key moment in our history. She’s not only served Avila, but she has also served the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and St. Joseph Medical Center. She has been, and continues to be, strong in her support of the CSJ mission and ministry in Kansas City.”
During her time at Avila, Fuller Clark has helped raise more than $20.6 million to enhance Avila’s academic, physical and spiritual environment. She has been instrumental in securing some of the largest philanthropic gifts in school history, including two J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation challenge grants totaling $1.9 million that helped build Jeanne Collins Thompson Hall and the athletic pavilion, as well as renovate Marian Dining Hall and the anatomy and physiology lab in O’Rielly Hall.
Fuller Clark also has tremendously grown Avila’s planned giving program and recognition of planned gift and endowed scholarship donors through the Heritage Society, more than doubling the number of members over her eight years. She was instrumental in securing Avila’s largest known estate commitment.
In 1992, she was awarded Nonprofit Connect’s Nonprofit Professional of the Year for excellence in fundraising and nonprofit management.
“Jessie is one of the best of the best,” said Olofson, one of Fuller Clark’s closest friends. “She embodies all the attributes of the Sisters of St. Joseph whose mission we work to fulfill every day. She has been truly an unsung hero.”
“Few institutions are blessed to have such a dedicated philanthropic manager and leader as Avila has in Jessie Fuller,” said Hartsook, chairman, Hartsook Companies and Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising. “In a profession that is known for turnover, change and instability, for more than eight years Jessie has been dedicated to Avila. For Jessie, a heartfelt thanks and continued friendship would be all she would ask as recognition, but she is deserving of more, much more.”
After receiving the award, Fuller commented, “I am surprised and thrilled. I am honored to be able to work alongside Avila alumni, friends, staff and faculty. Avila will be in my heart forever.”
This article is from the Office of Marketing and Communication at Avila University, a sponsored institution of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.