The University of St. Francis (USF) president and a professor are among the newest class of inductees to the Will County Project Pride’s Hall of Pride.
President Michael Vinciguerra and Ingrid Goobar-Szleifer, assistant professor of English and foreign languages, will be inducted Nov. 8. They will be among 123 area residents honored over more than 20 years for spreading and sharing pride in Joliet and Will County. During his nine years at USF, Vinciguerra has been active in the community, encouraging collaborative education and service projects. He’s been instrumental in defining USF as Joliet’s university while increasing its national presence.
Vinciguerra led the university’s Board of Trustees in the adoption of a 15-year, $70 million campus master plan. Most recently, he oversaw the expansion of the university’s Joliet presence to include a Rialto City Center campus located adjacent to the Rialto Square Theatre in downtown Joliet. “I’m honored to be inducted into the Hall of Pride,” Vinciguerra said. “Since joining the Joliet community in 2002, I’ve strived to not only to be an active and productive citizen, but to also to solidify partnerships that showcase the strengths of the university and community alike.”
During Szliefer’s six years at USF, she’s become an integral part of Joliet’s Spanish-speaking community. In addition to her duties in the classroom, she’s worked to ensure that immigrant citizens in Joliet and Will County have the resources necessary to be productive. “The key to successful integration into society is to assist immigrants with their needs, particularly with documentation and education,” she said. “I’m grateful that Will County Project Pride sees this as a concern. I’m happy to see that there is willingness in the community to open their arms to the issue and willing to find solutions not just for the immigrant population but the entire community.”
Under Szliefer’s leadership, USF has hosted six immigration and naturalization ceremonies, five mobile consulates and recently established an office for Casa Michoacán, a Hispanic/Latino organization that provides education and cultural services free of charge.