61st Annual Caritas Ball Nets Over $300,000

Jan. 25, 2018 | Joliet, Ill.

The 61st Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball raised more than $300,000 for the fourth year in a row. Funds raised help generate and maintain student scholarships at the University of St. Francis.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, the University of St. Francis (USF) hosted the 61st Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The event was hosted by university President Arvid Johnson, Ph.D. and his wife, Anne, and was chaired by Tyler and Stephanie (M.Ed. ’05) Qualio. For the fourth year in a row, the event raised over $300,000 for student scholarships.

“For the last 60 winters, the University of St. Francis has asked this community to help support its quest to educate all students regardless of their financial status,” said Stephanie Qualio. “And for 60 years, this community has responded.”

She continued, “We are not sure how many people realize that over half of USF’s students are the first to go to college in their families. These students often need financial assistance to make their dream of going to USF a possibility. Therefore, the scholarship money raised at Caritas directly impacts these trailblazers, and as an extension, our community as a whole.”

This point was emphasized by student master of ceremonies, Macy Smock, a senior nursing major and a first-generation college student.  (The Qualios wished to focus on the achievements of students who have received scholarships funded by Caritas donations, so they selected a student to the emcee this year’s gala.)

“My family and I could not be more grateful for all of you. It is because of your generosity and kindness that I was able to become a student at USF,” Smock said. “It is absolutely why I am able to stand here tonight. Receiving scholarships at USF has meant more to me than I can even express.”

Smock is the recipient of the Virgina J. Saxon Presidential Academic Scholarship, an Arthur J. Schmidt Foundation Scholar, and a Leach Nursing Scholarship recipient. She is also a Lincoln Laureate nominee, a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, and a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society.

“Caritas is a celebration of our students and their success and a celebration of everyone that makes a University of St. Francis education possible for so many students,” President Johnson reminded the guests. “We are so grateful for the incredible generosity of members from the Joliet and Will County communities, our faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, alumni, and friends who continue to inspire and affirm the important work being done by the University of St. Francis.”

The Caritas Scholarship Ball is one of the longest-running black-tie events in the Joliet area and has been raising scholarship funds for St. Francis students for six decades. It has succeeded in raising more than $5 million in assistance since its inception – including almost $1.7 million in the last five years.

Founded in 1920, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., is a Catholic, Franciscan university that serves 4,100 students nationwide; offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are more than 48,000 USF alumni across the globe.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose