USF Awarded Joliet’s Historic Preservation Award

May 30, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

The University of St. Francis (USF) was awarded with the City of Joliet’s 12th annual Joliet Historic Preservation Award at a city council meeting on May 16. The award, presented by Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk in celebration of Preservation Month, was accepted on behalf of USF President Dr. Arvid Johnson by Regina Block, USF’s director of Institutional Advancement, and Frank Pascoe, USF provost.

“As Joliet’s university, the University of St. Francis is particularly pleased with this recognition by and our long-time partnership with the City of Joliet,” said Arvid Johnson, USF president. “Our mission calls us to be a ‘welcoming community of learners’ and that includes ensuring that our facilities and grounds support and complement that mission. As we plan and build for our future, the university looks forward to working with the City of Joliet and the Cathedral Area Preservation Association to continue our commitment to a welcoming environment.”

USF was honored for renovations made at the St. Clare Campus, 1550 Plainfield Rd., Joliet. Guardian Angel Hall, the main building on the St. Clare Campus, was previously known in Joliet as the “Guardian Angel Home.” It was built in 1925 and dedicated in 1926 by Cardinal Mundelein as a home for orphaned and dependent children. The Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, USF’s founders, operated and staffed the home and its social service agencies for nearly 90 years until the University of St. Francis bought the property and buildings from the congregation in 2014.

The city honored USF with the same preservation award two years ago for its renovation and adaptive re-use of the former Mode Theater building in downtown Joliet (now the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center), and the Motherhouse building on the main campus. The 2017 award now highlights the university’s efforts to preserve its St. Clare Campus through a complete interior renovation and adaptive re-use of the Guardian Angel Hall building and surrounding property, including preservation of the main interior hallways, and significant site improvements such as new parking lots, storm water detention and landscaping.

Commented Mike Schwarz, director of planning for the City of Joliet, “St. Francis has a presence in Joliet that starts at the St. Clare Campus and continues along the Rt. 30 Corridor to the downtown area. The St. Clare Campus is literally the entryway into Joliet at that point on Rt. 30. USF’s preservation efforts have not only improved the university’s facilities, but also enriched the City of Joliet. The mayor and city council really appreciate the re-investment—it’s a great win for both the university and the city.”

The University of St. Francis has also placed an emphasis on including and highlighting native plants on the three acres of green space at the St. Clare Campus. Special efforts were made to preserve the natural Illinois plant habitat and showcase its beauty. In an addition to native plants, the university also planted Butterfly Milkweed to nurture and stimulate a decreasing butterfly population. Many of the plants will be in full bloom in the upcoming summer months.

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 stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.