Professor Emerita Supports the Arts with Endowed Scholarship

Nov. 7, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

University of St. Francis (USF) professor emerita Dr. Karen Kietzman ’66 will continue to inspire creativity and individual expression through the arts through the creation of the Kietzman Endowed Scholarship for Music and Theater.

Kietzman is an alumna of the university, graduating in 1966 with her bachelor’s degree in art and a former member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. She then pursued her M.A. from the University of Notre Dame and her doctorate from Northern Illinois University. She taught for several years at area Catholic schools before returning to USF to teach art from 1971 to 1999.

Though Kietzman had a passion for teaching, she was also a renowned artist, holding many shows through the years. Her specialty was watercolor but also enjoyed pottery and learned to weave while on a sabbatical on the Ivory Coast in Africa.

During her tenure at USF, Kietzman worked with professor emeritus Dr. Patrick Brannon to create a vibrant fine arts programs that includes visual art, music and theater programming. This scholarship will be awarded annually to one student who is enrolled in one of the musical performance groups and/or participates in theater on campus. Through her endowed scholarship a junior or senior student can pursue their studies in fine art and continue the legacy Professor Kietzman established.

An additional donation from the Kietzman estate allowed the Department of Music and Performing Arts to purchase an acoustical shell for performances within the Sexton Auditorium.

“Placing a shell in the Sexton Auditorium will create a higher-quality performance experience for both the musicians and the audience,” said Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music, Alex Dee. “The shell will also provide more space for performances including collaborative performances between the Joliet Symphony Orchestra and chorale groups.”

Through her generous gifts, Kietzman has helped to ensure the future of the performing and visual arts at the University of St. Francis. USF offers a variety of visual art and music programs, including graphic design, photography, music performance and the recording arts. For a full list, please visit

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.