Dr. Debbie and Mr. Paul '81 Kavanaugh believe that Americans living in a country privileged with health, education, success, freedom, and happiness have a civic duty to create similar opportunities for others around the world. They shared those beliefs and principles with the Westminster community in their two day April 2012 visit to campus as part of the Global Leaders in Residence Program.
Social Justice on a Global Scale
Paul and Debbie have dedicated much of their time, energy, and resources into a number of international humanitarian efforts. They have traveled to all parts of the world on behalf of their philanthropy, the Kavanaugh Charitable Foundation, which is committed to helping educate children in the United States and around the globe.
The couple has built an elementary school in rural Cambodia, provided wheelchairs for the mobility impaired in Argentina, provided malaria nets in Africa and supported veterinary assistance for the spaying of animals in South America.
They also established fully endowed need-based scholarships at Westminster College and at the Schools of Law and Pharmacy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Visiting Westminster as Global Leaders
The Kavanaughs spent their time on campus meeting with a wide range of student, faculty and staff groups and organizations. They visited classes in women's health issues, physiology and leadership theories & practice as well as meeting with the pre-law honorary society, the Westminster track team and campus social justice leaders in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Rwanda Partnership, Making Lives Better, WestMO for Hope and the Poverty Initiative.
Westminster Reflects on the Kavanaughs' Visit
Jamie Haskins, Chaplain
"It was a privilege to have Paul and Debbie on campus. They truly embody Westminster's commitment to leadership and service. They provided our campus community with a wonderful example of what it looks like to lead lives of servant leadership and work to change the world for the better."
Therese Miller, Associate Professor of Physical Education
"It is wonderful when professional expertise (like Debbie's) provides students a real world representation of the class readings and discussion. Debbie and Paul are models of how "Inspired to Achieve" is realized."
Audrey Sharp '13 (Women's Health class)
"I think that having Global leaders such as Paul and Debbie Kavanaugh help the Westminster College student to think beyond the columns. Here on campus, we are so internally focused that we tend to think about our immediate community for service. It is an eye opener to see Global leaders use their passion, skill and hard work to change the lives of people across the World."
Rachel Backes '12 (Women's Health class)
"I felt as if Dr. Kavanaugh's visit to our class left a lasting impression on the need for awareness about health risks and disease preventing mechanisms that can and should be implemented today. She did a great job of reaching out to the class and addressing disease prevention in women, emphasizing how knowing your family health history can help prepare you for a healthier future. I was inspired to talk to my family about health risks that are affecting them and I both, and encouraged them to look at what factors put us at high risk. I can only hope that with Dr. Kavanaugh's inspiration and my overall desire to be a strong, healthy woman we can all continue to raise awareness and self-motivation."
Student attending Paul's talk about law careers
"He gave it to us straight --- the good and the ugly. I appreciate his frank and honest approach to talking about careers in law. He certainly got me thinking!"
Hannah Minchow-Proffitt '12 (Women's Issues class)
"I have really enjoyed the global leaders in residence program. I think that it is unique in that it allows the speaker(s) to visit classes that have subject matter that pertains to their curriculum. These classroom visits are good supplements to the all-campus lectures as well because it gets students to think about being a leader in different contexts (for example, in the humanitarian world as well as the health field). Also, these leaders have been very personable and open to talking with students which is helpful for students to see themselves as a leader, making an impact someday."
About the Kavanaughs
A 1981 graduate of Westminster, Paul is a member of the Westminster Board of Trustees. He graduated with honors from UMKC Law School and has been a practicing trial attorney specializing in major injury cases and medical negligence. He also served as a trial attorney with the JAG Corps of the U.S. Army.
Debbie holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Creighton University and an MBA from Rockhurst University. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy and the UMKC School of Pharmacy. She has also been President of the Missouri Society of Health Systems Pharmacists.
About Global Leaders in Residence
The Global Leaders in Residence program, sponsored by the Emerson Center for Leadership & Service, is designed to bring leaders from a variety of academic and professional fields to campus for 2-3 days during which time they will speak to classes, interact socially with our students, consult with our faculty/staff, and deliver a campus-wide presentation on their efforts to make a difference in today's world.
Marina Shishova from Russia, Al Sikes, former Chair of the FCC, and Michael Dean were our first three GLIR. Paul and Debbie Kavanaugh were the final Global Leaders in Residence this academic year.