Submit a Distinguished Alumni Award Nomination

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF), through the USF Alumni & Family Relations Office, will honor five outstanding alumni with a 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award. One alumnus/alumna from each of the university’s four colleges will be honored based on outstanding professional and personal successes, as well as involvement in civic, cultural or charitable activities, highlighting the diverse disciplines of a comprehensive university. The Presidential Alumni Award, the most prestigious award, will be selected by the university.

Distinguished Alumni Award winners will be announced in September and will be promoted on social media and recognized in a press release. They will also be featured on USF’s website, stfrancis.edu/alumni/awards.

“Our awards program is an opportunity for us to highlight prestigious alumni as well as those who heavily serve their communities. It is inspiring to learn the ways our alumni are impacting the world,” said Aubrey Knight ’04, ’07, Director of Alumni & Family Relations.

Honoree nominations for each of the university’s four colleges may be submitted online at stfrancis.edu/alumni/awards. Nominations may be submitted by family members, coworkers, fellow alumni and others who could testify to the nominees’ achievements. Nominations may also be self-submitted. Please note the nomination process will close on July 31, 2020.

The USF Alumni Association’s Executive Board of Directors will review all nominations and will select award honorees (with the exception of the Presidential Alumni Award).

Winners of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards included: Julius Patterson ‘13 – College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Award, Caroline Portlock ’02, ‘04 – College of Business and Health Administration Award, Patricia Arias ’08, ‘11 – College of Education Alumni Award, Lisa Pittman ’00, ’10, ‘13- Leach College of Nursing Alumni Award, and Margaret (Kennedy) Benoit ‘69 – Presidential Alumni Award.

For more information on the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards, please contact the Alumni & Family Relations Office at 877-811-ALUM (2586) or alumni@stfrancis.edu.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Dr. Susan Hibben Named Associate Dean for LCON

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis’ Leach College of Nursing recently announced that Susan A. Hibben, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, has been named its new Associate Dean of Graduate Programs. Hibben, who will serve a dual role as she also continues on as the Program Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), began her new duties at USF on June 1, 2020. 

Hibben succeeds Susan Thompson, DNP, ACNS-BC, who will continue her faculty role in USF’s Leach College of Nursing.

“We look forward to the continued growth and enhancement of our graduate programs under the leadership of Dr. Susan Hibben. The USF Community congratulates Susan on her new role,” said Ebere Ume, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., PHN Dean of the Leach College of Nursing.

Hibben, who has been a faculty member with USF since 2012, is looking forward to continuing her efforts toward helping nursing students prepare for their careers.

“I plan to continue helping, serving and supporting students and colleagues achieve their professional goals and dreams.  Together with the college team, we will also navigate through this pandemic period toward a strong recovery period of growth and return to a new, yet perhaps different, normal,” Hibben said.

Hibben has a Ph.D. in education from Northcentral University along with her MSN in nursing administration from the University of Phoenix. 

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Fall Re-opening Plans Update

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community –

This is the latest update in the series of communications about our operations that we have been providing since early March. It shares important information about the University of St. Francis’ plans for the Fall 2020 term.

USF Plans to Re-open Its Campuses This Fall…

Illinois (and other Midwestern) health officials have announced plans allowing businesses, schools, and universities to re-open in various ways. In most cases, the State is allowing physical locations like stores and schools to re-open with some restrictions on the total number of people attending an event. USF has planned for re-opening campus buildings beginning August 3rd with restrictions to the size of classes, team meetings, and other gatherings to keep the number in large spaces to less than 50 – in coordination with the transition of our region to “Phase 4” on June 26th, per Governor Pritzker’s announcement earlier today.

Reducing Class Sizes, Changing the Calendar, Making Campus Safe…

This summer, University staff members have gone from building-to-building and room-to-room, counted socially-distant seats, and planned where access and exit points will be located. Classrooms and labs are being changed to allow students to work at a safe distance from others, while preserving the welcoming and active learning environment that makes USF a great university.

As with almost every other US university – both public and private – our University is modifying slightly its Fall 2020 term calendar to adapt for COVID-19 and to mitigate against its spread by providing a larger gap between the end of the Fall 2020 term and the beginning of the Spring 2021 term.  Specifically,

  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6th & 7th. This means that Fall 2020 classes in ALL formats will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to a fully-online format, as necessary, after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th. This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and the week of finals).  Residents will be asked to move out after this date.
  • Shortening the semester in this way also allows us to move Commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

(Student athletes in fall/winter sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in games, as necessary.)

These changes are part of a larger, overall plan to re-open the University to both students and faculty members beginning on August 3rd.  Additional details of the plan will be shared with our USF community in the coming weeks. Please know that we are working to create a vibrant campus and to provide high-quality learning experiences for all students, while adhering to the “Restore Illinois” guidelines presented by Governor Pritzker, as well as the “best practices” guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We continue to adapt, plan, clean, and make our campus buildings into a safe environment for students to live and learn with us.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson
President

Update on Homecoming and Reunion Celebration

Joliet, Ill. – While the University of St. Francis (USF) is currently making plans for students and faculty to return to campus for classes this fall, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Joliet’s university to change, postpone and even cancel a variety of special events this year due to attendance restrictions outlined in Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. One major event that has been canceled is USF’s Homecoming and Reunion Celebration, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26.

“Due to the current situation, the inability to gather in large groups, and the priority of keeping our alumni safe, we have made the decision to cancel USF’s Homecoming and Reunion Celebration this year. While we are disappointed and know that our alumni are, as well, we want them to know that we are and will be working hard to make next year’s celebration the best yet and we look forward to everyone’s participation,” said Aubrey Knight, ’04, ’07, USF Director of Alumni & Family Relations.

The decision, while difficult to make, is understood due to the large number of attendees that many of the events that are part of USF’s Homecoming and Reunion Celebration draw annually, including the tailgate at Joliet Memorial Stadium (approximately 600-800 attendees) and the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner (approximately 150 attendees).

Knight added that planning is currently underway for festivities in 2021, but with an important change: splitting the Homecoming and Reunion Celebration into two separate events.

“Reunion Weekend is scheduled for June 5, 2021, and will focus on alumni by major as well as our honored year reunion classes (including those who we would’ve celebrated in 2020), while Homecoming will take place later that fall on a to-be-determined date and will focus more on alumni from USF’s athletic programs,” Knight added.

This separation allows the Alumni & Family Relations Office to better focus their efforts on the honored year reunion classes since there will be twice as many alumni to celebrate next year. “We want to make it an event to remember, and this split allows us to do just that,” said Knight.

As plans for 2021 are announced, they will also be made available at stfrancis.edu/alumni/hcrw. Alumni may also direct questions to USF Alumni & Family Relations Office at (877) 811-ALUM or alumni@stfrancis.edu.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Art Professor Delivers Care Packages

Joliet, Ill. – When University of St. Francis students transitioned to online coursework in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the change was clearly an unanticipated one. On-campus, face-to-face instruction was quickly replaced with off-campus, virtual instruction, and students were challenged with navigating the ins and outs of distance learning. In an effort to ensure that his art majors felt supported throughout their transition to this new learning environment, USF art professor Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello, MFA, created personalized care packages that he mailed and delivered to students as a way to show his support and concern for them. 

“The packages consisted of an art, design or photography book, comics and some snacks. The contents of each care package was slightly different. For instance, I bought and passed on a photography book to a student concentrating in photography, while a student who plays a sport on campus would get an art book and a book related to another one of their athletic interests,” Alamo-Costello said.

Although the gesture was performed with the needs of his students in mind, Alamo-Costello said that there was more to it than just that.

“In all honesty, this was as much or probably more-so for me. The students have been patient and exemplary in this time of crisis. I needed to thank them for staying focused. Having taught at USF for more than 20 years, I feel very fortunate to continually work with quality young people,” he said.

In addition to the care packages, a series of non-credit summer projects have been organized for students as a way to keep them engaged with their studies.

“These activities help to keep our community connected. Many students are still isolated, and an item to work on appears to be a constructive outlet. Throughout the summer, via Zoom, we are meeting weekly to look at progress of projects and prepare for their return in August,” Alamo-Costello said.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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USF Receives $10,000 Professional Development Award

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 NetVUE Professional Development Award through the Council of Independent Colleges. The award will fund a yearlong initiative (July 1, 2020–June 30, 2021) to foster the exploration of vocation and mentoring in our curricula and co-curricular activities.

Starting in August, Joliet’s only four-year university will launch the yearlong initiative focused on mentoring, mission and vocation as we celebrate our centennial and envision the next 100 years for fulfilling the mission of the University of St. Francis (USF). A kick-off workshop with breakout sessions will feature an invited keynote speaker, Dr. Kevin Godfrey, Associate Professor of Theology at Alvernia University in Pennsylvania, to connect USF’s Franciscan, Catholic identity with its call to educate the next generation of servant leaders. Building from the framework presented at the kick-off, USF will then host a series of “Engaging Mind and Spirit” monthly meetings focused on selected chapters from a book discussion open to all faculty and staff members – because vocational mentoring happens in a variety of professional relationships: faculty with students, staff with students, faculty with faculty, staff with staff, student with student, and supervisor with employee.

The initiative will culminate in May 2021 with all faculty and staff participating in our annual Strategy Day, which will be focused on bringing together the instruments, artifacts, metrics, and results to assess the initiative’s intended outcomes. This reporting out will also provide an opportunity to reflect upon and design new projects for continuing the connection of mentoring in the exploration of vocation for the university’s faculty and staff, and primarily, its students.

USF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Beth Roth, Ph.D., believes the initiative’s alignment with USF’s mission will be of strong benefit to students as they pursue the answer to one of life’s most challenging questions: what am I called to do in this world?

“Our mission affirms that USF is a ‘welcoming community of learners,’ and a theological exploration of vocation will bolster our understanding of how mentoring fulfills our mission and dedication to student success,” Roth said.

USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., also sees the benefit of continued and deeper engagement with other institutions of higher education through a partnership with NetVUE.

“USF has been doing so much in this area for so long across virtually all of its Colleges and majors. This is a wonderful opportunity to join and engage with a broader community of learners committed to helping students discern and respond to their callings,” Johnson said.

About NetVUE

According to the organization’s web page, “The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) is a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. This initiative is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and members’ dues.

CIC administers NetVUE with guidance from an advisory council comprised of representatives from participating institutions.

Visit cic.edu/programs/NetVUE for more information.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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