Rostollan Leading USF University Ministry Efforts

Joliet, Ill. – The years that immediately follow high school can represent a transformative time for students as they walk a journey to connect with their faith. For Dianne Rostollan, Director of University Ministry at the University of St. Francis (USF), accompanying students during this time is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity.

Rostollan, who joined USF in August, is immersed in her first semester of working with college students as learn more about themselves and their faith.

“College students are seeking and trying to figure out who and what they want to be as individuals in their own faith and in their own journey. That is exciting to me. I know it was an important and exciting time for me when I was in college, and I want to be a part of that seeking journey with students here during their college years,” said Rostollan.

She added that this opportunity at USF, a Catholic and Franciscan liberal arts university, is one that will allow her to work with students from a variety of faith backgrounds.

“Whether students are Catholic, Muslim, or have no faith at all, it is exciting to walk with them on that journey,” she added.

As the fall semester continues, Rostollan is focused on becoming more familiar with the many components of USF’s ministry offerings and will be focused on engaging students in multiple ways.

“I plan to continue getting to know what the university offers in the area of ministry, but there will be a strong focus on interfaith activities and interfaith dialogue. We will be attempting to get students to come together, regardless of their faith background, and realize that everyone has a place in university ministry,” she said.

Rostollan is hopeful that providing students with opportunities to gather in small groups called Small Franciscan Communities will play a large role in students’ respective journeys.

“Our Small Franciscan Communities will offer something for every student. Some groups will be scripture-based, while others will challenge students to identify where they are in their life and identify where they feel energy, and then explore from there. No matter the topic or the purpose, though, each of these groups will be inclusive,” Rostollan said.

In order to maximize these opportunities to engage students, Rostollan plans to lean heavily on her peer ministers.

“We have ten peer ministers this year, all of whom are incredible young adults. They help to develop a majority of our activities and serve as the hands and feet on the ground. They give us the pulse of what’s happening on campus and help to identify what our students need so that we can develop programming to meet those needs,” she said.

Rostollan added that some of the peer ministers live on campus in USF residence halls. These students have open-door policies to be there for students whenever the need presents itself.

As she walks along with students in their faith journey, Rostollan stresses that the Franciscan value of service is woven throughout university ministry activities.

“Service is a big part of what ministry does, and there will be countless examples of this throughout each year,” Rostollan said. “Our first-year students have already served the Will County area. As part of their Foundations course, they and their instructors spent a Saturday in August giving back at a variety of locations, including Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Joliet, the Joliet Prison the Will County Forest Preserve’s Theodore Marsh in Crest Hill), Sharefest Will County in New Lenox, Hands of Hope in Joliet, the Spanish Community Center in Joliet; Big Brothers, Big Sisters  in Joliet and the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Joliet.”

“Also, continuing in the long-time USF tradition, our Saints in Action group goes to Daybreak once each week to cook and serve breakfast for residents. In a given month, we provide five to six meals through these service efforts,” she added. “We typically have mission trips, as well, and we are hopeful that our domestic trips are able to resume at some point this year.”

In choosing to continue her career at USF, Rostollan’s decision was solidified once she came to campus. The feeling she had at that time is one she hopes to replicate for students this year.

“It just felt like home. Everyone with whom I interacted was welcoming. The campus felt unified and respectful. It felt like a community, and that is the feeling I hope to replicate through our university ministry offerings,” she said.

“University Ministry is central to fulfilling our mission of being a ‘welcoming community of learners.’ Through this department, small communities of faith are formed which give witness to the presence of our good and gracious God. Dianne brings a friendly and passionate presence that we are sure will strengthen what has been in place,” said Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF, USF Vice President of Mission Integration and University Ministry.

Rostollan’s career to date has demonstrated a focus on youth ministry. Prior to her arrival at USF, Rostollan served as Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield. Before that, she was Director of Youth Ministry at the Sheboygan North Catholic Parishes (comprised of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, St. Clement Parish, and St. Dominic Parish in Sheboygan, Wis.) for six years. She also spent time as a missionary and part of a youth ministry team in Gauteng, South Africa.

Rostollan holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and religious studies from Albion College in Albion, Mich., and a Master of Arts in Christian doctrine from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

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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 52,000 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 Announces Homecoming & Reunion Plans

Homecoming save the date: October 1-2, 2021

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) has announced its plans for Homecoming & Reunion with events that will take place on Friday, October 1, and Saturday, October 2. With the variety of events set to take place, there is something for all alumni and friends of USF to enjoy.

This year’s Homecoming & Reunion events include: (on October 1) #StFrancis Friday; Alumni Baseball Game; Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner; (on Saturday, October 2) Homecoming Tailgate & Football Game (vs. Missouri Baptist University); Multicultural Reception; “Joliet Gems” City Tour & Al’s Steakhouse Lunch; Nursing Alumni Lunch & Tour; USF History in Photos; Campus Tour; Football Alumni Reunion; Time Capsule Burial Ceremony; Communication Reunion; Alumni Memorial Mass; Volleyball Game & Alumni After-Party; and Honored Alumni Dinner.

USF Alumni & Family Relations Director Aubrey Knight ’04 and ’07 is excited to offer once again a full slate of homecoming activities to USF alumni.

“I am sincerely overwhelmed with excitement as we prepare to welcome our alumni home,” Knight said. “Given the challenges presented throughout 2020, we are very much looking forward to experiencing the nostalgia that homecoming presents as classmates reconnect on campus and at these events as they continue to write the legacy of USF.”

Visit stfrancis.edu/alumni/hcrw for more information on Homecoming and Reunion events, to register for a specific event, and for information on lodging and directions to campus. Alumni are asked to note the event reservation cutoff date of September 29, 2021. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Alumni & Family Relations Office either by email at alumni@stfrancis.edu or by phone at 877-811-ALUM (2586).

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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 52,000 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 Named in U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Colleges Rankings

Joliet, Ill. – U.S. News & World Report continues to recognize the University of St. Francis (USF) as a top university in the United States. This year’s recognition in the publication’s 2022 Best Colleges rankings marks USF’s third year in the “National Universities” category, and the eighteenth consecutive year that USF has been honored by U.S. News & World Report.

According to usnews.com/education, “Schools in the ‘National Universities’ category offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs. These colleges also are committed to producing groundbreaking research.”

USF was ranked 249th in the “National Universities” category of this year’s publication. The ranking placed USF ninth among the seventeen Illinois schools included in the report, sixth among private Illinois schools, and third among Illinois’ ranked Catholic schools.

USF is also Will County’s only school included in U.S News & World Report’s 2022 “National University” rankings.

“Annual recognition by U.S. News & World Report acknowledges the quality of a University of St. Francis education,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.  “Rankings such as this help to validate the efforts of our faculty and provide us with many points of pride. However, the most important indicators of our success as educators are that our students have a great learning experience, graduate, are considered top prospects by employers, and find jobs that launch their careers.”

U.S. News & World Report also ranked USF as one of the top 100 universities in the country in its “Top Performers on Social Mobility” list for a third consecutive year (up three ranking positions from 2021). The ranking recognizes USF as a school that supports and assists economically disadvantaged students. According to usnews.com, “Some colleges are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The vast majority of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.”

“Being recognized for Social Mobility is certainly a measure of which every staff and faculty member at USF can be proud,” said USF Vice President for Admissions and Marketing, Eric Wignall. “This accolade demonstrates our continued commitment to serve people from every background and income level, while also showing how solid our educational programs are that our graduates truly make more and do more to improve their lives.”

One new accolade for this year is USF’s inclusion in the publication’s Best Undergraduate Nursing rankings. USF was ranked at 432 out of close to 700 institutions.

“This year, U.S. News & World Report is publishing its first-ever undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) rankings. In the spring and summer of 2021, U.S. News surveyed deans and senior faculty members at each of the 694 undergraduate BSN degree granting nursing programs that met identified criteria,” a spokesperson for U.S. News & World Report said.

Visit usnews.com/colleges for more information on the U.S. News 2022 Best Colleges rankings.

Visit stfrancis.edu/nationally-ranked for more information on additional national accolades earned by USF.

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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 52,000 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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American Red Cross Blood Drive at USF

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF), Prayer Tower Ministries and St. John Missionary Baptist Church are sponsoring a blood drive hosted by American Red Cross on Wednesday, September 8, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Assembly Hall Gym at USF’s St. Clare Campus, which is located at 1550 Plainfield Road in Joliet.

For an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can save up to 15 minutes when donating blood by using RapidPass! Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass for more information.

Donors can anticipate the following precautions when arriving to the donation site:

  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drives, as well as throughout the donation process.
  • Following social distancing between donors including entry, donation and refreshment areas.
  • Ensuring face masks or coverings are worn by both staff and donors. Masks will be provided for all donors who do not bring their own face coverings.
  • Routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor touched areas.
  • Wearing gloves, and changing gloves often.
  • Using sterile collection sets and antiseptic scrub for every donation.

For more information, please visit redcrossblood.org.

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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 52,000 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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American Red Cross Blood Drive
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USF Receives HRSA Grant to Prepare Nursing Educators

Joliet, Ill. – The Leach College of Nursing at the University of St. Francis (USF) was recently awarded the prestigious Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) Grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant, worth close to $250,000 annually, seeks to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty nationwide, and through loan cancellation, decrease the financial barrier that nursing instructors often experience.

“The purpose of this program is to prepare highly qualified, diverse nursing educators, thereby reducing the nursing faculty shortage and addressing health disparities. The NFLP funds will provide tuition assistance to 20 future nurse educators in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and post-master’s certificate programs,” said Christina Nordick, APRN, CNP, grant project director and Associate Professor of nursing at USF.

The grant will help USF to address three primary goals. The first is to increase the quantity and diversity of nurse educators in the greater Chicagoland area. The grant will also help USF NFLP loan recipients receive high-quality preparation for their nurse-educator roles, which will in turn help to decrease the shortage of nurse educators in the Chicagoland area.

As outlined in the terms of the grant, students may receive up to $12,490 annually to pay for tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. After graduation, if recipients are employed fulltime as nurse faculty at an accredited institution, if they are employed part time in an accredited nursing institution and are precept advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) students part time, of if they are precept APRN students full time for four years, 85% of the grant is “forgiven”.

“NFLP funding will relieve students’ financial burden and provide incentives for students to enter careers in nurse education in academic and clinical settings, thereby expanding the nurse faculty workforce. Students will benefit from the various in-kind supportive structures provided at USF, such as mentorship, advising, and career-development activities, which will help students overcome barriers that prevent them from persisting through graduation,” Nordick added.

Visit stfrancis.edu/leach-college-of-nursing for more information on nursing programs at USF.

About the Health Resources and Services Administration

According to its web site, hrsa.gov, the mission of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative, high-value programs. HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable. HRSA programs help those in need of high quality primary health care, people with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery.

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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 52,000 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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Chicago Portrait Project at the USF Art Gallery

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Art Gallery will open a new exhibit featuring the work of artist and USF professor Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello, MFA, beginning on Monday, August 23.

The Chicago Portrait Project, a collection created by Alamo-Costello, stems from his 2018 book, Somewhere In-Between Chicago and is a collection of portraits of artists, musicians, and casual passerby contrasted with imagery made in city streets and fringe environments since the mid-1990s. These works offer insight into the city as a creative environment and the various socio-political issues it has encountered over the past 30+ years. The Chicago Portrait Project is supported by grant from the Illinois Arts Council. Grant funds were used to produce the exhibition and to employ USF art and design students Austin Hines and Odessa Villarreal.

The exhibition will run through Tuesday, October 5, at the USF Art Gallery, which is located at 25 E. Van Buren Street in Joliet. The gallery is open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A public reception for the exhibition and a cookout will also be hosted at the gallery on Thursday, August 26 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visit stfrancis.edu/artgallery for more information.

About the Artist

Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello is an American artist, educator, publisher and writer based in Chicago, Ill. He is most known for his long-running, international “Art Drop” series (1998 to present), which places art into non-traditional settings, such as public parks, and for his photographic books, which have been noted for their rawness and everyday immediacy. He has primarily shown his work in the public domain in countries throughout Europe, the United States and Canada; he has also had exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Hyde Park Art Center. His photography and projects have been reviewed or published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune Magazine, De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), The Globe and Mail (Canada), New Art Examiner, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Magazine, Nerve, and on Chicago Public Radio. Alamo-Costello’s books of photography, art and writing include: Somewhere In-Between Chicago (2018), The Globe (2010), and Grandpa Danny (2008). Alamo-Costello is also the publisher of, and a contributor to, The COMP Magazine, a digital art and design journal. He is a professor and former chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill.

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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 52,000 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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Chicago Portrait Project
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