USF Mourns the Passing of Dr. Elva Dawson

Dr. Elva Dawson

It is with much sadness that we announce that Dr. Elva Dawson, associate professor of radiation therapy, passed away on Sunday, September 20, 2020.  She was a beloved member of the USF community, and our condolences and prayers go out to her family, students and colleagues. 

Grief counseling for members of the USF community (students, staff, administrators, and faculty) will be available via  telehealth and in person by contacting Dr. Mary Ann Andrade, director of the USF Counseling and Wellness Center, at (815) 740-3598 or mandrade@stfrancis.edu

Public visitation will be held on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. at Cage Memorial Chapel, 7651 S. Jeffery Blvd., Chicago, IL 60649.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers and gifts, donations be made to the Bernie Mac Foundation at dawsonBMFdonate.com.

USF Ranked Among the Best Colleges for Your Money

Joliet, Ill. – In the era of COVID-19’s disruptions and growing concern about student debt, Joliet’s University of St. Francis (USF) is being recognized for its high value college degrees that help their graduates launch valuable careers and earn more.

Each fall, colleges and universities across the country await notification of their inclusion in some of the nation’s most recognized rankings of higher education institutions. For St. Francis, this has been yet another successful fall, as the school has been included in several major national rankings and listings. This week, USF was recognized by Money in the publication’s 2020 “Best Colleges in America for Your Money” listing.

“High school students looking at college, parents, and adults looking at graduate school are right to be cautious about investing time and money into an educational program. A college degree can be worth millions of dollars over the course of one’s career. We have designed degree programs that help our graduates launch truly valuable, meaningful careers,” said Eric Wignall, Vice President for Admissions at USF.

“As an investment, the value of a degree from the University of St. Francis continues to climb. It’s really gratifying that Money again recognized USF for offering high quality, award-winning degree programs in their latest rankings,” Wignall said.

The accolade is the latest in a string of recognitions earned by USF. Earlier this year, USF was named to The Princeton Review’s “2021 Best Colleges – Midwestern” rankings and was included in College Consensus’ “Best Catholic Colleges and Universities” national ranking, including the sixth highest Student Consensus score in the nation. USF was also recognized in U.S. News and World Report’s “2021 Best Colleges” listing.  

“These rankings are important because they provide further, national testament to the effectiveness and impact of a University of St. Francis education. Our graduates leave USF not only poised for success, but also prepared to contribute to the world through service and leadership. As we continue to celebrate our centennial, recognition such as this not only commemorates the University’s efforts over its first 100 years, but it also sets the standard for our next 100 years,” said USF President Arvid, C. Johnson, Ph.D.

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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 51,000 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 2021 “Best Colleges” Rankings List by U.S. News

Joliet, Ill. – For the past sixteen years, the University of St. Francis (USF) has been recognized as a top university by U.S. News & World Report. This year’s recognition, USF’s second year in the publication’s “National Universities” category, marks the seventeenth 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.”

Last year, USF shifted to the “National Universities” category as a result of its awarding of at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees during the most recent update year. An increase in the number of Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degrees awarded by USF, which are classified as research/scholarship doctoral degrees, played a large role in the reclassification.

USF was ranked #227 in the “National Universities” category of this year’s publication. In Illinois, USF was ranked ninth among the seventeen Illinois schools included in the report, sixth among private schools in the State, and was ranked as the State’s second best Catholic school.

“We are pleased that outside organizations continue to recognize the quality of a University of St. Francis education, especially as we celebrate our centennial this year,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.  “While being recognized for our quality in these rankings helps to validate the efforts of our faculty and provides us with many points of pride, 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.”

For the second consecutive year, U.S. News also ranked USF in its “Top Performers on Social Mobility” list. The list, according to usnews.com, states that, “Economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics. 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 one of those measures every staff and faculty member at USF can be proud of,” said USF Vice President for Admissions and Marketing, Eric Wignall. “It continues to demonstrate our commitment to serve people from every background and income level. It shows just how solid our educational programs are that our graduates truly make more and do more to improve their lives.”

Visit usnews.com/best-colleges for more information on the U.S. News 2021 Best Colleges rankings.

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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 51,000 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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The Princeton Review Names USF a Best Midwestern College

Joliet, Ill. – The Princeton Review recently named the University of St. Francis (USF) on its “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” list’s Midwestern category. This is the thirteenth consecutive year USF has been named to this national listing.

Arranged according to five regional categories (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West and International), The Princeton Review’s “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” recognizes over 650 colleges and universities that the organization considers both academically outstanding and a valuable collegiate option.

“As we continue to celebrate our centennial year, national recognition such as this demonstrates the University of St. Francis’ longstanding and ongoing commitment to student success – whether in terms of retention and graduation rates or in terms of in-field job placement. We are dedicated to preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership, and will continue to build a Franciscan future as we begin our next 100 years,” USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., said.

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief, indicated that academics and overall campus experience play an important role in assembling this annual listing.

“We chose the University of St. Francis and the other outstanding institutions on this list primarily for their academics,” Franek said. He noted that the company considered data from its survey of administrators at several hundred colleges in each region, information from staff visits to schools over the years, and the opinions of college counselors and advisors whose perspectives the company solicits. “We also consider what students enrolled at the schools reported to us on our student survey about their campus experiences,” Franek added.

To learn more about The Princeton Review or to view the listing, please visit princetonreview.com/bestMWcolleges.

The University of St. Francis is consistently ranked among the best colleges and universities across the Illinois and the nation when it comes to quality education, affordability, and accessibility. To learn more about USF’s other recent rankings, please visit stfrancis.edu/nationally-ranked/.

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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 51,000 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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Veronica Gloria Earns New Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship

Joliet, Ill. – Earlier this year, the University of St. Francis (USF) announced its Will County Access Initiative, which offers a full-tuition scholarship to benefit academically-talented but economically-challenged commuter students from under-served populations who dream of earning a college degree.  In another demonstration of its investment in the Joliet area, USF is now introducing its Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship.

“The Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship is designed for local, not-for-profit agency directors and leaders who serve the greater Joliet community and assists them with earning their MBA through USF.  As Joliet’s university, this is a direct way to impact Joliet community members,” said Tracy Spesia, Ed.D., USF professor and Spanish Community Center board president.

At least one scholarship will be awarded annually – subject to demand and external funding support.  Recipients must commit to maintaining board-approved leadership position at their respective agency for two years beyond degree completion.

While future recipients of the scholarship will be determined through an application-based review process, the inaugural recipient of the Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship is Veronica Gloria, Spanish Community Center Executive Director.  As the inaugural recipient of the scholarship, Gloria sees the opportunity the scholarship presents and the lasting impact it, in turn, can create within the local community.

“What excites me most about this opportunity is that it creates sustainable access to higher education for myself and other professionals dedicated to the public good in Joliet. The more prepared we are as a sector, the more we can strategically make a difference in our local community. A quality education at USF can provide us with essential tools to creatively face challenges as change agents in our institutions, communities, and broader systems,” Gloria said.

“Although Spanish Community Center has many successes to celebrate, there are many serious challenges ahead, from devising our first strategic plan, to an impending recession, to the societal challenges that our agency and the underprivileged community we serve face,” she added. “Earning an MBA is a critical towards gaining new skills, insights, and tools to overcome whatever challenges lay ahead for our agency and community. Sharpening my business acumen will help me ask the right questions and seek the best answers to ensure that Spanish Community Center is sustainable and continues to weather the many complex storms ahead.”

Gloria began her MBA studies at USF this fall with a goal of completing the program within two years.

The idea for the scholarship originated with Spesia and her connection to the Spanish Community Center and Gloria.

“Veronica is a gifted and talent young professional and I knew she wanted to further her education.  She has her undergraduate degrees from Harvard University and she is already on the Illinois Board of Higher Education (appointed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker).  I approached (USF President) Arvid (Johnson) with the idea and that we can strengthen the positive impact our University has on the Joliet community by investing in one of its talented leaders.  Arvid immediately agreed, and the idea continued to build from that point,” Spesia said.

Community Investing in Community

The Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship is offered under a shared-cost structure with financial responsibilities assigned as approximately 25% to the recipient personally, 25% to the Joliet-area agency sponsoring the recipient, and 50% to the University of St. Francis – with the expectation that half of USF’s commitment will be donor-/business-funded.  To that end, USF is proud to announce that the first community business sponsor of the Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship is Joliet-area business owner and philanthropist Terry D’Arcy.

“Terry D’Arcy has long been a strong supporter of the University of St. Francis and so many other important organizations and causes in the Joliet area,” USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., said. “Through his support of the Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship this year, Terry is continuing to invest in the ongoing growth and development of the greater Joliet region by partnering with USF to help one of our bright, young leaders to advance her education.”

Additional details on the Joliet Agency Leadership Scholarship will be made available to local service and community agencies in early 2021. For more information on the scholarship, please contact Eric Wignall, Vice President of Admissions, Enrollment Services, and Marketing at ewignall@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3444.

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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 51,000 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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Antonou Wins MAA Illinois Section Early Career Teaching Award

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is honored to announce that College of Arts & Sciences mathematics instructor Angela Antonou, Ph.D., has earned the Early Career Teaching Award through the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (ISMAA). Antonou, who has been an assistant professor with USF since 2014, will formally accept the award at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the ISMAA.

Antonou highly values the opportunity she has each day to interact with students. She also embraces the resonance those interactions have with them.

“As faculty at USF, we have the opportunity to impact our students’ lives in a significant way. Since our department and the students in our programs often become very familiar with each other over time, we are able to provide more tailored guidance and encouragement,” Antonou said.

“From my own experiences, I have had students tell me that I was a big influence in their decision to continue onto graduate school, even if others had discouraged them in the past. Being able to help guide students to see their potential, whether through personal mentoring sessions, by inviting them to attend conferences, or by encouraging them to conduct research, is one of the most encouraging aspects of teaching. From my own experience, I had never imagined I would have pursued a doctorate degree. It took the encouragement of a faculty member to make me realize I could and should continue further in my education, and so it brings me great joy to be able to share that experience with my students,” she added.

Antonou has identified two key attributes that she feels have contributed to her effectiveness at teaching at the collegiate level.

“The first of these is a willingness to try new approaches and to learn and grow through those experiences. The second is the intentional pursuit of opportunities. In fact, the opportunities that I have gained through my career at USF to share mathematics with the community overall have been among the most enjoyable aspects of my job.  Through running professional development programs for teachers,  running math camps for middle school students, conducting research with undergraduate students, organizing events with the math club at USF, or working with other colleagues on projects, I am able to connect with students, teachers, and the community and experience a renewed enthusiasm for my field as we explore mathematics and the teaching of mathematics together,” she said.

Antonou earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (with a minor in computer science) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and both a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctoral degree in mathematics from Northern Illinois University.

About the Early Career Teaching Award through MAA

In January 2003 the MAA established the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member to honor beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extra ordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. In 2017, the Awards Committee of the Illinois Section decided to create its own Early Career Teaching Award to recognize those within their professional community who are early in their career and have already established a record of effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics. MAA defines individuals as being early career if they have been teaching as full-time faculty in a department of mathematical sciences for at least one but not more than six years since receiving the Ph.D.

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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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