New Avila University Facilities Honor CSJs

Avila Archives Wall 

Sister Audrey Olson, CSJ looks at the new Heritage Wall located in the Martha Smith, CSJ, Ph.D. Archives & Research Center.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On Aug. 25, Avila University celebrated the dedication and grand opening of its new Learning Commons and the Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D. Science & Health Complex, inside O’Rielly Hall. We also celebrated the establishment of the Martha Smith, CSJ, Ph.D. Archives & Research Center, located inside the Learning Commons, that houses the archives of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Avila's Women Religious Collections and the official Avila University archives.

Sister Marie Joan Harris and Sister Martha Smith

Over the past five months, more than 17,750 square feet of the existing Hooley-Bundschu Library was renovated into a Learning Commons complete with the latest technologies including 60 laptop computers, 16 desktop computers, six Apple iMacs and three high-performance printers. State-of-the-art videotaping and editing capabilities also are available.

Nearly 15,000 square feet of O’Rielly Hall were refurbished to establish the Science & Health Complex, named for Avila’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, S. Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D., who began her career as a chemistry professor here 45 years ago. The complex has new microbiology, chemistry and general science labs that include technology-enhanced learning for improved student success and upgraded areas for student/faculty and student/student interactions.

“This is the continuation of what has been an unprecedented period of renovation and expansion at Avila. Both the Learning Commons and Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D. Science and Health Complex are stunning, both visually and as essential tools in preparing our students for success in a modern world," says Avila President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. "With the completion of these projects, Avila further positions itself as an inspirational beacon of higher education in the Midwest.”

About Avila University

Avila University is a Catholic, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs.  Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd. in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo. Avila’s 100-year celebration will take place in 2016.

<< Back to News

Change Text Size   A|  A|  A