Dr. Brian Schmisek, Dean,
Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, presented the Damen Award for outstanding alumni to Kim Cavnar, principal at St. Francis Xavier. (courtesy photo)

Kim Cavnar, principal of St. Francis Xavier School, received Loyola University of Chicago’s 2018 Damen Award from the Institute of Pastoral Studies. The annual award recognizes alumni from each Loyola school who embody the qualities of leadership and service to others that are the hallmark of a Loyola University Chicago education.

The Damen Award, named for Loyola’s first President, Jesuit Father Arnold J. Damen, is among the highest honors bestowed by the University. Cavnar, whose Loyola roots run deep, received the award Sept. 12 among nine others.

The St. Francis Xavier principal was invited to receive the award because of her commitment to Jesuit education through her hard work in schools. Loyola University President said, “Ms. Cavnar’s focus has been on advancing the principles of Ignatian spirituality. She has devoted her life to teaching and leadership in education.”

Before pursuing graduate studies at Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies,  Cavnar earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola. Upon graduation, she served as the University’s associate director of campus ministry and also taught part time from 1977 to 1980 in the Department of Communication Arts. Her role as an educator also had her treaching religious studies and serving in campus ministry at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange, St. Louise de Marillac High School in Northfield, and St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. She taught and served in leadership roles at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, Brophy Jesuit College Preparatory in Phoenix, and Loyola High School of Los Angeles.

Cavnar earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University. She received the Damen award at Loyola’s annual Founder’s Dinner, which is a Loyola tradition that celebrates the extraordinary achievements of the schools talented alumni and raises crucial funds for student scholarships.