USF’s winter commencement includes 440 graduates

Notable alum, attorney serves as commencement speaker

The University of St. Francis graduated more than 440 students during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Jan. 14 in the Sullivan Recreation Center. About 270 master’s degrees and 170 bachelor’s degrees were conferred to students during two ceremonies.

Degrees were presented by university President Michael Vinciguerra, Provost Frank Pascoe and J.D. Ross, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The commencement speaker was Vincent Cornelius, a 1986 USF alum and principal of the Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius. With offices in Wheaton and Joliet, the firm focuses on civil and criminal litigation. Cornelius was the first African-American prosecutor in the history of the Office of the DuPage County State’s Attorney and took more than 200 cases to trial during his time as an assistant state’s attorney.

Cornelius, of Naperville, spent the majority of his childhood in Joliet and studied business administration at USF. He also was the captain of the USF men’s basketball team and president of the Black Student Union. Cornelius is a past winner of USF’s Joann Placher Distinguished Alumni Award and served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Among his many professional honors and substantial community involvement, Cornelius has served as the chancellor of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers and as the president of the Illinois Bar Foundation.