Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala Set for Saturday, Jan. 25

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is bringing one of Joliet’s longest-running black tie events back to campus as part of its yearlong Centennial Celebration in 2020. The Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala, co-chaired by Gloria and Edward Dollinger, and Diane ‘77 and Bill Habiger, and hosted by USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., and his wife, Anne, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, starting at 6 p.m. in the Pat Sullivan Center on the main USF campus located at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet.

“This Caritas is really special,” Diane Habiger said. “Bill and I chaired Caritas the first year it was moved off-campus after several years of being held at the Rec Center. We, along with the Dollingers, are delighted to bring Caritas back to campus for one year and are planning for a very special and nostalgic event.”

A lot has changed at USF over the years. In the past two years alone, the campus has undergone some very noticeable changes with the construction and opening of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Science Hall in 2018 and the razing of St. Albert Hall this past summer. In August 2020, USF will also unveil a new Centennial Quad and Centennial Gateway, which will further transform the university’s main campus. USF anticipates that its Centennial Celebration plans and special events, including the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala, will attract alumni, friends and the community back to campus.

“Because this year’s event is part of USF’s Centennial Celebration, it is an opportunity to bring back to campus our donors and people who may have been unable to attend in recent years. They will be able to see first-hand the growth that has happened within the University.  We have several new facilities, and the campus has a completely different visual look and feel. This year’s Caritas is an opportunity to showcase that,” Gloria Dollinger said.

Each year, the University of St. Francis provides over $20 million in institutional financial aid for students. More than 1,200 students at USF receive scholarships and 100% of the incoming freshman class receives some form of financial assistance. In addition, USF has also been a home to many first-generation college students – students who are the first in their family to attend college – for several years. Over the course of the past nine years alone, an average of 58% of each of USF’s incoming freshman classes has been comprised of first-generation college students. The financial assistance generated through Caritas and the university’s other annual fundraising efforts goes on to help make a USF education attainable for so many students.

USF’s Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala will feature a silent and live auction, gourmet cuisine by Jewell Events Catering, a premium bar and music by Gentlemen of Leisure. Ultimately, the evening will be an opportunity for attendees to celebrate the Franciscan spirit of the university while making an important difference for students.

“We continue to be grateful for the incredible, ongoing generosity of the USF, Joliet and Will County communities. This support inspires and affirms the important work that is being done by the University, while demonstrating an investment in our students, who are our future leaders,” said President Johnson.

The University of St. Francis would also like to thank this year’s Caritas sponsors for their difference-making generosity: Gold Sponsors – Sodexo and Wintrust Commercial Banking; Silver Sponsors – Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Gloria & Edward Dollinger and Diane & Bill Habiger; and Bronze Sponsors -Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal, First Secure Bank, Hollywood Casino, Northern Trust, Packey Webb Ford, Pepsi-Cola, Piazza & Mannerino Masonry, Sentinus, LLC, Patricia & Robert Wheeler, and Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow.

Advance reservations for the event are required. Event tickets are $350 per person and seating is limited. To purchase tickets, please visit

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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

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

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