USF celebrates 90th anniversary, wins accomplishment award

February 23, 2010

As the University of St. Francis celebrates 90 years of education and service; it has been named as the recipient of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s highest award.

Chamber leadership will present President Michael Vinciguerra with its Salute to Accomplishment Award at a dinner on March 25. The chamber’s award is given annually in recognition of a business, local government or nonprofit organization.

“USF is honored to be the recipient of this award,” Vinciguerra said. “We have been deeply committed to the Joliet community since the university’s start in 1920. Then and today, our student learning involves service in the community.”

In the last year, USF expanded its presence in Joliet by locating its art and design program in by locating its art and design program in the historic Rialto Square Theater building downtown. Also downtown is the university’s Health and Wellness Center, which is the first nurse-managed clinic in Will County and serves the entire community. USF is the annual sponsor of Joliet’s Light Up the Holidays Parade and Festival and is involved in a variety of other community events throughout the year. USF’s radio station runs the annual Spirit of Christmas programming and its TV studio produces Exploring Joliet on Channel 6. The university also has shown its commitment to Joliet by investing in its campus with renovations to the Motherhouse and Marian Hall, the freshman residence hall.

The Salute to Accomplishment Award dinner begins at 5 p.m. in the Recreation Center and is followed by a 7:30 p.m. speech by Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver for TOMS Shoes. The dinner is by invitation only, but the speaker is open to the public. Mycoskie founded TOMS in 2006 on the one-for-one business model: For every pair of TOMS Shoes purchase, they will give another pair to a child in need somewhere in the world.

To coincide with the event, USF’s Duns Scotus honor society students and Peer Ministers are working together to raise money for 90 pairs of TOMS Shoes to give to deserving children in the greater Joliet area. The shoes will be distributed through Catholic Charities, Guardian Angel Community Services and the university’s Health and Wellness Center. “I think that these shoes are going to mean everything to the children,” said Jessica Nayder, a freshman from Mokena who is among those leading the project. “These shoes are going to show the children that we as the University of St. Francis care about them and that they have not been forgotten.”

Vinciguerra said he’s applauds the students for their initiative on the fundraiser. “This project truly embodies the USF spirit and is a fitting addition to the university’s 90th anniversary celebrations,” he said.

To donate the cost of a pair of shoes, go to For event questions or more information, call (815) 740-3496.

The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,600 students nationwide, offering 38 undergraduate programs, four degree-completion programs and 12 graduate programs, along with a doctorate in nursing practice. Programs are offered in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit