Two long-time supporters have given Avila University grants worth $2 million that will ensure modern learning centers, science laboratories and cutting edge technologies for students.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who founded Avila University as the College of St. Teresa in 1916, gave a $1 million gift to support two of the institution’s educational initiatives — the Transformational Learning Environment and the Future Healthcare Leaders.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, based in Tulsa, Okla., issued a $1 million challenge grant, which also targets those initiatives.
The initiatives will provide a state-of-the-art Learning Commons and a renovated Science and Health Complex; both will be equipped with the most advanced technologies to benefit Avila students. The Learning Commons includes a redesign of the existing library which will establish student-centered learning spaces and encourage collaboration between students. It will also offer practical tools to help students prepare for future careers.
The Science and Health Complex will include new microbiology, chemistry and general science labs in O’Rielly Hall. The biology classrooms and labs whose renovations were completed last summer will be part of the new complex.
In order to meet the challenge and receive the Mabee grant, Avila must raise $9.4 million toward the construction of both projects by April 9, 2014. With the help of the Centennial Campaign Committee and Avila University leaders, $6.5 million has been raised as of June of this year. The University has eight months to raise the remaining $2.9 million.
The grants will also help establish a unique archival space in the new Learning Commons to house the archives of the United States Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the University’s archives and Avila’s Women Religious Collection. The Women’s Religious Collection, a one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts of women religious, preserves the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and will continue their influence on healthcare and education in the Kansas City community.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation has contributed more than $3.5 million to Avila University since 1978, funding the Mabee Fieldhouse, science lab renovations, the Jeanne Hamilton Olofson Plaza, Whitfield Lobby renovations and the athletics pavilion.