A special awards ceremony on Nov. 2 at the University of St. Francis (USF), five USF alumni were recognized for excellence in their fields and service to the community as well as to the university.
Presidential Alumna of the Year Award: Candice Rosen ’88 (Chicago)
Candice Rosen is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Francis, a master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University and certification in Health Counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Rosen has spent her life’s work focused on improving the wellness of both her clients and her community. Her experiences as a clinical therapist and as a nurse give her a unique perspective when it comes to nutrition counseling. Rosen has an innate understanding of the medical and psychological components that must be addressed in order to achieve health goals and targeted weight loss results. As the founding member of Gilda’s Club Chicago and its first executive director and program director, Rosen created and coordinated a diverse array of wellness-related programming. Now chair of Healthcare Initiatives for Chicago’s Sister Cities International Program, she works to advocate preventive medicine, increase maternal and infant healthcare, improve disability access, promote nourishing diets, and to bring awareness to the obesity and diabetes epidemics that now affect populations on a global level.
The originator and director of the Pancreatic Nutritional Program (PNP), Rosen aims to educate the general public as to the crucial role the pancreas plays in overall health, wellness and maintaining an optimal weight. She was inspired to write her second book, “The Pancreatic Oath” (summer 2011), based on her many clients with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome and kidney disease. She has helped many to manage and often reverse their symptoms through the innovative PNP, while focusing on the underlying causes (specifically pancreatic abuse) and treating the source of illness rather than the consequences. While Rosen stresses that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” diet, her program benefits all who practice it.
Leach College of Nursing Award: Jacqueline Edmonson ’63, ’88, ’94 (New Lenox)
Jacqueline “Jackie” Edmonson is a three-time USF graduate with a degree from St. Joseph School of Nursing in 1963, a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Arts in 1988 and a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration in 1994. Jackie is also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society. She is the retired director for surgical services for Provena (now Presence) St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet. Edmonson, a registered nurse, has a wealth of experience as a leader and clinical expert in the areas of critical care, surgical services and women’s and children’s health. Throughout her distinguished career at the medical center, she has provided leadership in each of the aforementioned service lines. She has led several initiatives to enhance the medical center’s professional practice by guiding the nursing division in the areas of education, regulatory body compliance and accreditation through The Joint Commission of Hospitals. She has participated in the Ethics Committee at the medical center, providing support and leadership in decisions affecting the poor and under-served of our community.
Edmonson has two sons and a daughter– all professionals– who also contribute to their communities through their careers. Edmonson is involved in her local parish activities, providing support and leadership within the church. Her hobbies include a love for gardening, reading, traveling and caring for rescued puppies (her daughter is a local veterinarian).
College of Arts & Sciences Award: Mary Jo Moran ’69 (Independence, Ky.)
Mary Jo Moran graduated with a B.S. in mathematics and chemistry from the College of St. Francis (CSF). Among her many responsibilities as CSF as Student Government president, Moran served on the search committee for the first lay president, Dr. Francis Kerins. Moran earned her first master’s degree in 1972 from Governors State University in Cultural Studies (Language and Literature). She taught math and English and worked as an administrator in Catholic secondary education for 17 years in Illinois and Ohio. She earned her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 1996.
After leaving secondary education, Moran worked as program director for the Office of Community Health at the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. There, she developed a program for service providers that earned both state and national recognition for people with developmental disabilities. She served two terms on the leadership team of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary in Villa Maria, Pa., where she played a significant role in congregational hospital and health facilities becoming part of Catholic Healthcare Partners– one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the U.S.
Moran was also self-employed as a facilitator and consultant for religious congregations across North America for more than 15 years. She worked with Ford’s senior North American leadership team as a senior organizational development consultant and team effectiveness coach from 1999-2005. Since that time, she has served as the executive director of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators, a 44-year-old nonprofit organization with the mission of ensuring justice in the workplace where the Church is the employer. In her spare time, Moran teaches in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Online and also serves as a mentor for new online faculty. She has authored several books and many journal articles and is a frequent speaker at national conferences on human resource issues.
College of Business & Health Administration Award: Jim Ostrom ’07 (Morton)
Jim Ostrom found his University of St. Francis experience to be “absolutely life-changing!” While attending USF, he had the opportunity to take a trip overseas to France and Germany, and participate as part of the team that managed the Global Logistics Summit in Will County, Ill. Since graduating with a Master of Business Administration, Ostrom has enjoyed success both personally and professionally.
Professionally, Ostrom was the project manager for the $144 million Campus Master Plan project at Provena (now Presence) St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet. His next contribution was as project director for the $240 million children’s hospital addition at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. He is currently an executive director at OSF HealthCare System in Peoria, and is completing a consulting engagement in Western Asia as part of the largest project in the world totaling $100 billion. Even though he keeps busy with work, Ostrom feels fortunate to participate in the Student Alumni Mentoring Program at the university.
College of Education Award: Rita Guzman ‘02, ‘10, ’11 (Joliet)
Rita Guzman is originally from and continues to reside in Joliet. She graduated from USF with a bachelor’s degree in Education. She continued studying at National-Louis University and received an endorsement in Bilingual and English as a Second Language, then returned to USF to pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership (Type 75) and a second master’s degree specializing in Differentiated Instruction with a minor in Special Education.
She has worked for Valley View School District 365U for the past 13 years– first teaching first grade bilingual classes, then teaching ESL. While she misses having her own classroom, Guzman enjoys being an ESL teacher because it allows her to work with students who speak 37 different languages! It enables her to learn more about cultures and customs, which makes her job extremely interesting. She is currently furthering her studies in a doctoral program, pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and science, business, education, nursing, health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.