USF Opens Guardian Angel Hall for 2016-17 School Year

Aug. 31, 2016 | Joliet, Ill.

0816 GAH opening RecapOn Wednesday, Aug. 17 the University of St. Francis (USF) welcomed a number of trustees, students, faculty, staff, elected officials, donors, community members and members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and Sisters of the Sacred Heart, to celebrate the grand opening of Guardian Angel Hall at the St. Clare Campus.

The program was opened by President Arvid C. Johnson who welcomed all in attendance to the “re-dedication” of the building. Instead of immediately pointing out the highlights of Guardian Angel Hall, Johnson opened by sharing the “love story” or “legacy of love” between the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the university, and how the new facility will continue to be a part of their tradition.

Both congregations made a commitment of service to Joliet, Will County and the state of Illinois over 150 years ago through their dedication to medical care and education respectively. Over time, the two came to be intertwined. The St. Joseph School of Nursing, which was established in 1920 by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, eventually became the Leach College of Nursing– one of the four colleges within the University of St. Francis, which was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. Now, the Leach College of Nursing resides in the same space that was once home to the Guardian Angel Home, an orphanage also founded by the Sisters of St. Francis. Guardian Angel Hall, in many ways, has been a part of USF and its founding congregations for decades.

The University of St. Francis was proud to welcome Sr. Dolores Zemont, OSF, president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, as well as speakers Senator Pat McGuire, State Representative Natalie Manley, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, and Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. Trustees Art Scheuber and Candice Rosen along with the college’s namesake, John Leach and his family, were present for the momentous occasion at hand.

Joliet’s Chief of Police along with several members of the Will County Board and Joliet’s city council, school board and chamber of commerce were also present.

Many current USF students and alumni attended as well, eagerly touring the new the facilities. “Through the power of touch, the community’s nurses, past, present and future, not only diagnose and heal but also connect and comfort the patients for whom they care,” commented Johnson. “They have been, are, and will remain the most visible impact of our Sisters’ legacy of love and the reason why we do what we do.”

In 2014 the Guardian Angel Home was acquired by the University of St. Francis. The university invested more than $9 million for the purchase and renovation of the four-floor, 60,000 square foot building, situated on approximately seven acres. This renovation has created a skill-centered, real-world learning environment for our nursing students, including:

  • Four simulation labs that will facilitate education for more students without the need for more clinical placement.
  • Six new, technology-enabled classrooms.
  • Two state-of-the-art Skills Labs.
  • Student research and learning spaces.

For more information about the Leach College of Nursing, please visit

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,700 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are 47,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

Photo Caption: A ribbon cutting took place marks the grand opening event for Guardian Angel Hall. The event was attended by many members of the community, USF trustees, students, donors, staff and friends of the university.