Being Instruments of Peace in These Challenging Times

Being Instruments of Peace in These Challenging Times

The University of St. Francis (USF) began this year in celebration of our founding 100 years ago. The past months and weeks have reminded all of us – students, faculty, and staff – of why we exist and how important it is to continue the University’s mission of “preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership”…now more than ever before.

On behalf of everyone at USF, we condemn racism and violence.  We deplore bigotry, intolerance, and hatred in any form against anyone.  Bias and discrimination have no place in our society, our communities, or our University.  Indeed, USF was built on the Catholic foundation of respect for the dignity for all.   As Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi modeled 800 years ago, we, too, are called to be examples of compassion and problem solving through dialogue – as “instruments of peace”.  Our University continues to strive to be a “welcoming community of learners” rooted in values that are core to who we are: Respect, Compassion, Service, and Integrity.  May they guide us and focus our work for personal and systemic change.

As a peace site and in concert with our founding and sponsoring congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, we support those who – as instruments of peace – take a non-violent stand against injustice, who peacefully protest inequality and injustice, and who demand that institutions implement changes that are needed for a better society.  Considering the events of the past week, it is more important than ever to reflect upon and loudly proclaim our values in order to be clear about where we stand.  And, so, as USF begins this Year of Compassion, we continue to acknowledge the importance of dismantling racism in all its forms, and we implore you to do the same by demanding change and equal justice under the law for our most vulnerable populations.

Even before the events of the past week, USF has seen students, families, and friends displaced by floods, impacted by a worldwide pandemic, and battered by massive changes to the economy.  Our Centennial Celebration has become a year of challenges – calling us to join together as a University community even as we are pulled apart by isolation.  Let us humbly join in prayer to heal the hurt, fear, and resentment that promote conflict in these troubled times.

Make us instruments of Your peace, O God!

Our plans for the next 100 years include our Franciscan values of Respect, Compassion, Service, and Integrity because they are going to remain important – indeed, are indispensable – as we move forward in continuing the legacy of “Our Sisters”. 

Being instruments of peace in these challenging times is not easy, but this is “what is ours to do”.  Let us work to “preach” the Gospel through our values and by the example of our lives, as we work for a true and lasting peace…in solidarity with all of our sisters and brothers.

Arvid C. Johnson
President

USF to Host Virtual Dedication Ceremony for Centennial Collage on June 4

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) has added several visual reminders to commemorate its centennial, which is being celebrated throughout 2020. The centerpiece of these visual reminders is a one-of-a-kind commemorative work of art created by artist Lawrence Romorini from One Of A Kind Art Studio in Silver Spring, Md., that is displayed in Tower Hall, adjacent to a dedication wall in honor of the university’s founding Sister Sponsors – the Sisters of Saint Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Appropriately named the Centennial Collage, this three-dimensional work honors the legacy of the founding Sister Sponsors and USF’s Franciscan heritage through carefully selected miniaturized photos, publications and other institutional memorabilia. The retrospective reflects USF’s values, mission and vision, while commemorating its history, leaders, innovation and accomplishments since 1920.

About the Centennial Collage

The Centennial Collage measures 46” x 26” x 5”, and is created of mahogany framed in gold and silver leaf. It is designed as an arch to replicate the iconic arches found throughout the campus buildings and in the university logo. A miniature statue of Saint Francis of Assisi is placed at the heart of the piece.

The story, told through the placement of items within the piece, flows from the bottom upward and includes a three-dimensional replica of Tower Hall at the base of the art and a three-dimensional miniature of USF’s iconic Three Oaks tree near the top of it. Over 100 images and three-dimensional items symbolize the growth of programs and recognize USF’s leaders over the first century.

“Over the past year, I’ve been inspired by unique opportunities USF offers its students and the diversity of its programs. The care that USF’s team invested in helping to create their 100th anniversary art is testimony to their dedication to the university and the story they are proud to share,” said Lawrence Romorini, the artist who created the piece.

Creating the Collage

The process of creating the artwork began back in August 2018 when Aubrey Knight, USF Director of Alumni and Family Relations, and Dave DiLorenzo, USF director of Community and Government Relations, were tasked with identifying and selecting items that could be used to tell the university’s 100-year story. The catch? The total number of items that could be included in the piece was capped at just over 100. Additionally, non-negotiable items such as pictures of the school’s nine presidents, along with the university’s mission statement, its core values and variations of the school’s logo counted against the target number of items. Once the parameters were established, the team worked closely with USF archivist Lorene Kennard to identify appropriate items for the piece, and also solicited items and input from the USF community, including employees, alumni and the founding Sister Sponsors.

“We wanted to make sure that this piece represented a collective storytelling effort from the USF community. Given that there was a finite number of items that could ultimately be included in the piece, incorporating a collaborative selection process helped us to make the end result a story told through as many lenses as possible to best represent our legacy,” said Knight.

Once the items were selected, they were sent to One Of A Kind Art Studio in April 2019, which is when Romorini began designing the piece. For the next four months, Romorini worked on his design and consulted Knight, DiLorenzo and Kristin Short, USF Vice President for Advancement, regarding item selection and placement before finalizing the piece. Also during that time, Knight and DiLorenzo assembled a database of images and captions for each item, which have been used to create an accompanying website that serves as a legend for the actual artwork. The finished work of art was delivered to USF in January 2020.

“It was an honor to contribute to such an important piece of USF history,” DiLorenzo said. “It allowed Aubrey and me to learn so much more about the history of USF and see it from a variety of perspectives. The artwork that resulted is beautiful and will now serve as a commemorative piece of the university’s first one hundred years.”

As she has shared sneak previews of the artwork with people at the university in advance of its public unveiling, Short said that the rave reviews she has received reflect the quality of work and effort that went into creating it.

“The University of St. Francis sincerely thanks One of a Kind Art Studio for creating a commemorative art piece in celebration of our 100 year anniversary. This art piece tells our university’s history, mission and core values in a unique and visually appealing display. The artistic detail and craftsmanship is top notch. We will display this beautiful piece of art in the heart of campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to enjoy for years to come,” Short said.

Dedicating the Centennial Collage

USF will host a virtual dedication ceremony for the Centennial Collage on Thursday, June 4, beginning at 5 p.m. Visit stfrancis.edu/collage to view the broadcast of the ceremony, as well as to learn more about each of the unique components included in the piece.

About One Of A Kind Art Studio

Lawrence Romorini is founder of One Of A Kind Art Studio, in Silver Spring, Md. He transform everyday objects into personalized works of art that commemorate history, leadership and accomplishments. University of St. Francis joins an extraordinary group whose stories have been preserved in One Of A Kind artwork. They include Ernst & Young, DePaul Health Center, Daughters of Charity, Michael Jordan, Marriott, The Field Museum, Oprah Winfrey, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Architects, among others, many on oneofakindinc.com.

: :

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.

# # #

# # #

USF Planning to Resume In-Person Courses and Campus Life This Fall

Joliet, Ill. – Summer courses at the University of St. Francis (USF) opened in an online-only format this week as a continuation of the university’s response to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. With just over 90 days before fall classes begin, USF officials are working on plans to safely welcome the school community back to campus this fall.

Two task forces, one focused on academics and the other focused on co-curricular and campus life, are currently researching and planning for what a return to campus in the fall might look like. While details for those plans are continuing to come together and will be shared throughout the summer months, USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., wants to let current and prospective students know that Joliet’s only four-year university is preparing for a return to campus in the fall.

“It is our goal and hope to welcome students, alumni, employees and the entire USF community back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. We are currently planning for a number of contingencies for fall classes, all that include a primary focus on continuing to offer our students a world-class educational experience rooted in Franciscan values and that takes place in a safe and healthy environment. While guidelines established by the State and local health officials will ultimately determine if and when college and university campuses in Illinois can open, we are working diligently to be prepared for re-opening campus when that official determination is announced,” Johnson said.

To make USF’s spring even more unique, the university is in the midst of celebrating its centennial. Most events to date have been rescheduled, while others such as commencement have been transitioned to a successful virtual format. Regardless, Johnson is confident that the USF community will continue to make the most of a truly unique year.

“As our centennial year continues, the response of our USF community reminds me of the important roles that resiliency, dedication, determination, and faith have played in shaping our 100-year history. I am both proud of and inspired by how we, as a university community, continue to navigate this challenge and know that our successors will one day look back with pride and inspiration, as well,” Johnson said.

Updated information on USF’s plans for the fall and its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at the university’s website, stfrancis.edu/emergency-alerts.

: :

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.

# # #

Canceled – Special Decade-by-Decade Look at the History of USF

This event has been canceled as a preventative measure in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Questions about this cancellation can be directed to mmurphy@stfrancis.edu.

Joliet, Ill. – As part of Women’s History Month, join the University of St. Francis (USF) on Tuesday, Mar. 24, at 2:30 p.m. for Mother Moes and the Founding of the University of St. Francis, with a special decade-by-decade recap at the school’s past. This complimentary event, one of many celebrations hosted by the university throughout 2020 in celebration of its centennial, is open to the public and will take place in San Damiano Hall, which is located in Donovan Hall/Motherhouse (520 Plainfield Road in Joliet).

The event will begin with a brief presentation about Mother Alfred Moes by USF College of Education professor Madonna Murphy, Ph.D., followed by ten different speakers who will each highlight one decade of USF history, with a special emphasis on the important women at the school during each decade. The event will close with a special performance by USF’s Schola Cantorum and a slice of centennial celebration cake.

For more information, please contact Madonna Murphy at mmurphy@stfrancis.edu.

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.

# # #

Mother Alfred Moes

Teresa Walters, International First Lady of Piano, Coming to USF on March 27

This event has been canceled as a preventative measure in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Questions about this cancellation can be directed to plaprade@stfrancis.edu.

: :

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) continues its yearlong centennial celebration as it welcomes “The International First Lady of Piano” Teresa Walters for a special concert event at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 27, in Sexton Auditorium (Moser Performing Arts Center). Tickets for the event cost $10 per adult and $7 per senior citizen (65+) and non-USF student. Current USF students and staff are admitted free of charge with a university ID. For tickets, visit stfrancis.edu/music-at-moser or call 815-740-3395.

Dr. Teresa Walters has performed as recitalist and orchestral soloist on six continents and in most of the 50 states in the U.S. at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Salle Cortot in Paris, Moscow’s Great Hall, Australia’s International Conservatorium and Jerusalem’s Concert Hall. Her Lincoln Center recital in New York earned a standing ovation from a capacity crowd. Walters will present her acclaimed program, “Celebrating Our World,” a concert of music for solo piano, which honors the world’s shared heritage and common humanity. Visit teresawalters.com for more information.

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.

# # #

Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala Raises Almost $300,000 for Students

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) brought one of the Joliet area’s longest-running black tie events back to campus as it celebrated the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala on Saturday, Jan. 25 to raise scholarship funds for USF students. The event, which was part of a yearlong celebration of the university’s centennial, was chaired by Gloria and Edward Dollinger, and Diane ‘77 and Bill Habiger and hosted by USF President Arvid and Anne Johnson.

“From our attendees and sponsors to our chairpersons and Caritas committee, we are extremely thankful to everyone who supported this year’s Caritas with their time, talent, and treasure. For the seventh year in a row, the event raised over a quarter million dollars in scholarship funds that will go on to help make a USF education possible for so many students. In fact, the event has raised over $2 million in scholarship support in just seven years and over $5 million in its history!  This is a wonderful affirmation of support for the University of St. Francis’ mission from the communities we serve,” Johnson said.

Kristin Short, USF Vice President for Advancement, was also extremely pleased with the event.

“More than 400 guests attended. We so appreciate the support from the community.  The evening was extra special because we celebrated 100 years of providing a Catholic, Franciscan education. We celebrated our rich history, our founding sisters and all members of the USF community. Seeing our beautiful campus and all the students, community leaders, alumni, faculty, and staff come together in support of USF was truly inspiring,” she said.

The gala, which took place in USF’s Pat Sullivan Center, featured cuisine by Jewell Events Catering and included a wide variety of live and silent auction items, while guests enjoyed the music of the USF Jazz Ensemble and the Gentlemen of Leisure Band.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves over 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 49,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

# # #