University Leadership

Learn about university leadership, including our president, founding congregation,
and board of trustees.


portrait of arvid johnsonDr. Arvid C. Johnson was installed as the ninth president of the University of St. Francis in June 2013. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in physics (Lewis University, Romeoville, Ill.) and a master’s degree in electrical engineering (Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.), Arvid holds an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.), and a Ph.D. in management science from the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, Ill.).

Prior to joining the University of St. Francis, Arvid served Dominican University as the Dean of the Brennan School of Business since 2008, and as a Professor of Management since 2001. He presently serves on several boards including the Will County Center for Economic Development (WC-CED), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA, Council of Presidents), the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley (ARC-IRV), and the Saint Joseph Medical Center Community Leadership Board (SJMC-CLB).

Prior to entering academia on a full-time basis in 2001, Arvid was a principal in a management consulting firm and worked with companies ranging in size from startups to multi-million-dollar business units of Fortune 500 companies to describe, account for, explain, and exploit the variability present in their manufacturing and service processes. Arvid also has over 15 years of engineering, manufacturing, and senior management experience in a variety of business environments including Northrop Grumman Corporation, Microwave Laboratories and Varian Associates. He founded and served as the chair of Information Resources, Inc.’s Analytics Advisory Board from 2003-2008, and led that company’s efforts to establish a global Research & Development function.

Arvid has published and presented extensively in the areas of quantitative analysis, microwave materials processing, advanced manufacturing practices, and strategic management. He holds 14 U.S. (and dozens of foreign) patents. His extensive list of publications includes 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 20 book chapters and custom textbooks, and more than 42 peer-reviewed conference proceedings. He is the recipient of numerous honors, grants and awards.

Arvid and his wife reside in the Joliet area.

"Service is a fundamental, integrating value of our Franciscan heritage because it is through service that we come to know Christ in each other – by recognizing the divine both in ourselves and in others and by putting others’ needs before our own."

A Message from Arvid:

A president’s homepage is an interesting – some might even say funny – place to end up when visiting a university’s website.

  • Maybe you’re a prospective student, wondering if the president is young, good-looking and cool. (No, no and only occasionally!)
  • Maybe you’re one of our almost 3,200 existing students, wondering what Arvid is up to of late.
  • Maybe you’re one of our 54,000 alumni, wondering who’s running the place now that you’re gone. (Welcome back!)

However you ended up here, WELCOME!

USF is a “welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism” that “prepares students to contribute to the world through service and leadership.” It says so in our mission statement – so it must be true! …And, it is.

As I said in my inaugural address, the “USF Family” – our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends – are called to serve and, through service, called to lead. Service is a fundamental, integrating value of our Franciscan heritage because it is through service that we come to know Christ in each other – by recognizing the divine both in ourselves and in others and by putting others’ needs before our own. This is a service based in joy, not obligation.

Through service, the USF family is called to lead and love in the real world.

  • Our students are not only talented but also compassionate and committed to improving the lives of others through service and leadership.
  • Our faculty members are world-class teachers who make educating our students their No. 1 priority.
  • Our staff members work tirelessly to care for our students and to ensure their success.
  • Our alumni are not only the best at what they do – true leaders in their fields – but also recognize USF’s contribution to what they have accomplished.
  • And, our local community members – whether elected officials, businesses, faith communities, other organizations, or neighbors – are true partners in every sense of that word.

The USF family is clearly called to lead through service – and is having a positive impact upon those it serves.

No matter how you ended up on this page, I invite you to learn more about this special place—the University of St. Francis—and the incredible people who call it home. Explore the rest of the website, schedule a visit or drop me a note at You’ll be glad you did!

Best regards,


Arvid Johnson Signature

Additional Leadership:

The University of St. Francis was founded by and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of St. Mary Immaculate— also known as the “Joliet Franciscans.”

To discover more about their history and the work they do in our community, click here.

The University of St. Francis Board of Trustees oversees and guides USF in fulfillment of its educational mission.

Click here to learn more about the USF Board of Trustees.

The president relies on the university’s Officers of Administration to keep the university running smoothly. This includes the provost and numerous vice presidents, who oversee the various administrative and academic divisions at the University of St. Francis.

Officers of Administration:

  • Julee Gard | Vice President for Administration and Finance
  • Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF | Vice President of Mission Integration and University Ministry
  • Beth Roth, Ph.D. | Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Eric Ruiz | Vice President of Admissions & Enrollment Services
  • Lisa Sampalis | Vice President for University Advancement

This group includes the Officers of Administration, the deans of the university’s four academic colleges, and directors of student life and institutional diversity.

Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.
USF President
B.S. – Lewis University
M.S. – Northeastern University
MBA – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Ph.D. – Illinois Institute of Technology

Shannon Brown, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Business & Health Administration
B.A. and MBA – Dominican University
Ph.D. – Benedictine University

Terrance L. Cottrell, Ed.D.
Vice President of Information Technology & Planning
BA – University of St. Francis
M.S. – University of Illinois
MBA – University of St. Francis
Ed.D. – Northern Illinois University

John Gambro, Ed.D.
Dean, College of Education
B.A. – Northeastern Illinois University
M.S.Ed. and Ed.D. – Northern Illinois University

Julee Gard, MBA
Vice President of Administration & Finance
B.A. and MBA – University of St. Thomas

Deborah Glenn, Ed.D.
Director of Institutional Diversity
BA – Memphis State University
MAT and Ed.S. – The University of Memphis
Ed.D. – University of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President of Mission Integration & University Ministry
B.S. – Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame
M.S. – Purdue University at Fort Wayne
M.A. – Saint Bonaventure University

Elizabeth McDermott, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
B.A. – Hope College
MFA – Purdue University
Ph.D.  – University of Illinois at Chicago

Mollie Rockafellow, Ed.D.
Dean of Student Life
B.S. – University of Wisconsin Platteville
M.S. – Western Illinois University
MBA and Ed.D. – University of St. Francis

Beth Roth, Ph.D.
Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs
B.A. – Vassar College
M.A. and Ph.D. – University of Chicago

Lisa Sampalis
Vice President for University Advancement
B.A. – Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Eric Ruiz
Vice President of Admissions & Enrollment Services
BBA – University of St. Francis
MBA – University of St. Francis

Yeijin Yeom, Ph.D.
Dean, Leach College of Nursing
B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. – Indiana State University


Chair of Academic Assembly:
Michael Stowe

Associate Professor, College of Business & Health Administration
B.S. – Northern Kentucky University
M.A. – University of Phoenix
Ph.D. – Northcentral University

Chair of Administrators & Staff Council:
Steven S. Wettergren

Director of Accreditation
Esports Director
B.S. – University of Illinois
M.S. – DePaul University

University Council is comprised of all members of the Executive Council plus all managing directors at the university.