Joliet Chamber Honors USF with 2019 Education Award

Joliet, Ill. – The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry annually hosts a special Annual Dinner and Celebration of Success that honors area businesses, organizations and individuals for their contributions to the Joliet area. This year’s event, held on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 176 West Banquets in Joliet, honored seven businesses and organizations, as well as three individuals. The University of St. Francis (USF) was one of the evening’s honorees and was presented with the Chamber’s 2019 Education Award.

“The University of St. Francis thanks the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry for this award, which comes during our Centennial year. USF has been a proud partner of the Joliet region and the communities we have served for one hundred years. We look forward to continuing that in our second century as Joliet’s Catholic and Franciscan University,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson after accepting the award on the University’s behalf.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished. But what we are particularly proud of are the over 25,000 USF alumni who live in Illinois – many in Will County and many in Joliet. They make incredible contributions to the community because we have prepared them to contribute to the world through service and leadership,” Johnson added.

The Joliet Chamber also recognized businesses and organizations that are celebrating milestone anniversaries and recognized USF for its 100 years in business.

Others honored at the event included: Annette Szobar, Ambassador of the Year; ASK Dress Boutique, Retail Services/Consumer Services; NuMark Credit Union, Financial Services; Shorewood H.U.G.S., Social Services; Joliet Junior College Culinary Arts Restaurants – Thrive and Saveur, Professional/Business Services; The Great American Bagel, Small Business of the Year; Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel, Large Business of the Year; Lawrence Wiers, Lifetime Achievement Award; and James Roolf, Lifetime Achievement Award.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala Set for Saturday, Jan. 25

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is bringing one of Joliet’s longest-running black tie events back to campus as part of its yearlong Centennial Celebration in 2020. The Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala, co-chaired by Gloria and Edward Dollinger, and Diane ‘77 and Bill Habiger, and hosted by USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., and his wife, Anne, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, starting at 6 p.m. in the Pat Sullivan Center on the main USF campus located at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet.

“This Caritas is really special,” Diane Habiger said. “Bill and I chaired Caritas the first year it was moved off-campus after several years of being held at the Rec Center. We, along with the Dollingers, are delighted to bring Caritas back to campus for one year and are planning for a very special and nostalgic event.”

A lot has changed at USF over the years. In the past two years alone, the campus has undergone some very noticeable changes with the construction and opening of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Science Hall in 2018 and the razing of St. Albert Hall this past summer. In August 2020, USF will also unveil a new Centennial Quad and Centennial Gateway, which will further transform the university’s main campus. USF anticipates that its Centennial Celebration plans and special events, including the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala, will attract alumni, friends and the community back to campus.

“Because this year’s event is part of USF’s Centennial Celebration, it is an opportunity to bring back to campus our donors and people who may have been unable to attend in recent years. They will be able to see first-hand the growth that has happened within the University.  We have several new facilities, and the campus has a completely different visual look and feel. This year’s Caritas is an opportunity to showcase that,” Gloria Dollinger said.

Each year, the University of St. Francis provides over $20 million in institutional financial aid for students. More than 1,200 students at USF receive scholarships and 100% of the incoming freshman class receives some form of financial assistance. In addition, USF has also been a home to many first-generation college students – students who are the first in their family to attend college – for several years. Over the course of the past nine years alone, an average of 58% of each of USF’s incoming freshman classes has been comprised of first-generation college students. The financial assistance generated through Caritas and the university’s other annual fundraising efforts goes on to help make a USF education attainable for so many students.

USF’s Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala will feature a silent and live auction, gourmet cuisine by Jewell Events Catering, a premium bar and music by Gentlemen of Leisure. Ultimately, the evening will be an opportunity for attendees to celebrate the Franciscan spirit of the university while making an important difference for students.

“We continue to be grateful for the incredible, ongoing generosity of the USF, Joliet and Will County communities. This support inspires and affirms the important work that is being done by the University, while demonstrating an investment in our students, who are our future leaders,” said President Johnson.

The University of St. Francis would also like to thank this year’s Caritas sponsors for their difference-making generosity: Gold Sponsors – Sodexo and Wintrust Commercial Banking; Silver Sponsors – Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Gloria & Edward Dollinger and Diane & Bill Habiger; and Bronze Sponsors -Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal, First Secure Bank, Hollywood Casino, Northern Trust, Packey Webb Ford, Pepsi-Cola, Piazza & Mannerino Masonry, Sentinus, LLC, Patricia & Robert Wheeler, and Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow.

Advance reservations for the event are required. Event tickets are $350 per person and seating is limited. To purchase tickets, please visit stfrancis.edu/caritas.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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Help USF Reach 100,000-Hour Centennial Service Goal

Joliet, Ill. – Service is one of the University of St. Francis’ (USF) four Franciscan values that centers its mission and identity. As part of its year-long centennial celebration in 2020, the university has set a goal of accumulating 100,000 hours of service and is inviting alumni, employees, families, friends and the community to contribute to the effort.

“We commit ourselves to becoming people of service because of the traditions of our Franciscan roots that stretch all the way from St. Francis of Assisi, who was himself imitating the life of Christ, and brought the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate to Joliet. The congregation’s founder Mother Alfred Moes passionately modeled service through her many acts of leadership and charity in the Joliet area, leadership that lead to the creation of this college. Now 100 years later, as we begin our centennial celebration commemorating the founding of our institution, it is appropriate to reflect on the 100 years of ‘preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership’ and to look at the difference USF continues to make in our community and in the world,” said Jessica Peek, director of university ministry at USF.

From now through December 31, 2020, USF encourages individuals and groups to complete acts of service and then visit stfrancis.edu/centennial to record the hours. For each 1,000 hours of service recorded (which will represent one year of USF’s history of service), a timeline on display in Tower Hall and a counter on the USF centennial website will be updated to reflect progress toward the 100,000-hour service goal.

“We have started our ‘soft launch’ during the fall semester and it has been fantastic to see the different types of service in which the USF community engages. Many of our hours come from our long tradition of students serving breakfast at Daybreak (Shelter) on Fridays and now with employees serving on Thursdays. Our freshman students contribute hours through their Foundations classes, which promote service learning through their curriculum. Sometimes the contributions come in large numbers, from a group mission trip or from an athletic team or student club having participated in a large service project, and other times the service contributed was an individual who gave an hour or two of their time to a good cause,” Peek said.

She also stressed that all service, even just one hour, makes a difference in the community and toward the university’s overall goal.

“No matter how many hours given, every bit helps the goal—and even more importantly, every hour of our time spent in service for and with others transforms us all,” she said.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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Celebrate the Sounds of the Season with USF at Christmas at the Motherhouse

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis’ Music & Performing Arts Department presents Christmas at the Motherhouse: “One Child – A Centennial Concert of Premieres” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 in St. Joseph Chapel in the Motherhouse on the main USF campus in Joliet (520 Plainfield Road). Join USF at it begins the celebration of its centennial with a concert of premieres. USF’s own Claritas Master Chorale, Schola Cantorum, and Swinging Saints will join forces to sing about the birth of Jesus, one child, a moment that changed the world. The concert will include new versions of familiar pieces and will feature premieres of “One Child” and Dr. Robert Kase’s “Dance in the Light,” a work written especially for this concert celebration.

Tickets cost $10 per adult and $7 for seniors (65+), alumni and non-USF students. USF students & staff with ID are admitted free of charge. To reserve your tickets, please visit stfrancis.edu/music-at-moser.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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University of St. Francis to Launch New University Band

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) has launched a search for a new band director and is opening recruitment for students interested in playing in a university band that will help USF mark its centennial in 2020.

“We are excited to launch another student band at USF – in part because we are part of a region blessed with wonderful high school student musicians in marching and pep bands,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. “We have had student interest in creating a band for many years but see this as the perfect time – celebrating our 100th anniversary – to launch a program.”

USF has a rich legacy of music programs and an orchestra – the Joliet Symphony Orchestra – that are known throughout the region. The school once had a student band as part of the music program when it was previously known as the College of St. Francis. This new re-launch now gives USF an opportunity to build an organization for students interested in the social and performance benefits of participating in an ensemble.

“Launching a new band will give our students additional opportunities to develop as scholars, performers, team members and leaders, and in service to USF and the communities it serves,” said USF Provost Beth Roth, Ph.D. 

“We will start with a pep band to play at USF’s sporting and campus events, and then build a larger marching band over time. Our search for an inaugural band director should bring great excitement to the community, especially as USF has been incredibly successful in recruiting talented faculty and coaches in the performing arts,” Roth said.

Both campus leaders noted recent studies that show that students who study and perform music are top performers in the classroom, as well on the court or field.

“A band fits perfectly into USF’s campus and culture. From our cutting-edge program in our Digital Audio and Recording Arts program, to our music degree, to our athletic teams and events, a university band will be yet another great activity for our students to participate in,” Johnson said.

“We are looking forward to recruiting student musicians from a wide area of the country,” said USF Vice President for Admissions and Marketing, Eric Wignall.

“We’ve always had students at college nights and high school visits ask about a band, and now we will be actively recruiting these talented students. We also plan to make band scholarships available alongside our already generous academic and need-based grants and scholarships,” Wignall said.

Students seeking more information can sign up for future updates at www.stfrancis.edu/band or speak with a USF representative this fall at various high school events.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves over 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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Dollingers, Habigers to Co-Chair USF’s Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is planning to bring one of Joliet’s longest-running black-tie events back to campus as part of its year-long Centennial Celebration in 2020, and they are pleased to announce that Gloria and Edward Dollinger, and Diane ‘77 and Bill Habiger and will serve as co-chairs for what has been officially billed as the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala. The event, hosted by USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., and his wife, Anne, will take place on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in the Pat Sullivan Center.

The Dollingers and Habigers are no strangers to Caritas, which generates financial support to help fund USF student scholarships. Both couples have attended the event for several years. The Habigers also served as chairs for the 2013 Caritas event.

“This Caritas is really special,” said Diane, a USF trustee, who along with her husband, Bill, owns Lincolnshire Properties, Inc., which is a property management company that offers professional offices and centralized services. “Bill and I chaired Caritas the first year it was taken off-campus after several years of being held at the Rec Center. We, along with the Dollingers, are delighted to bring Caritas back to campus for one year and are planning for a very special and nostalgic event.”

Gloria, who is the nutrition supervisor for the Joliet Park District’s Inwood Athletic Club and a Will County Board member for District 10, and her husband Edward, a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments and USF trustee, are also looking forward to bringing the event back to campus for one year.  They feel it will serve as a way for alumni and friends of the University to see first-hand how USF has changed over the years.

“Because this year’s event is part of USF’s Centennial Celebration, it is an opportunity to bring back to campus our donors and people who may have been unable to attend in recent years. They will be able to see first-hand the growth that has happened within the University.  We have several new facilities, and the campus has a completely different visual look and feel. This year’s Caritas is an opportunity to showcase that,” Gloria said.

“We also want to stress that this is a community event,” she added. “Everyone is welcome – it’s not just for alumni or a select group. It is for the entire community, and the entire community is invited to help make it a success.”

For over sixty years, the annual Caritas Ball has served as the University of St. Francis’ primary fundraiser for student scholarships.  Both Diane and Gloria know how important of a role this financial support is when it comes to making a college education possible for students.

“As an alumna, I want to help others realize the dream of earning a college degree from the University of St. Francis.  I so appreciate what I have gained from USF, and I want to pass it along to all students, including first-generation students who are the first in their family to attend college,” Diane said.

USF has been a home to many first-generation college students for several years. Over the course of the past nine years alone, an average of 58% of each of USF’s incoming freshman classes has been comprised of first-generation college students.

Gloria added, “Events like Caritas are important because they help make the investment of a college education more affordable. The more funds we raise, the more scholarship support we can offer.”

Scholarships made possible through Caritas and the many supporters of USF create life-changing opportunities that affect virtually all undergraduate students. In 2017-2018, approximately 96% of full-time, undergraduate students enrolled at USF received financial assistance, which illustrates the importance of scholarship availability.

Gloria recently learned first-hand of the impact of a USF scholarship while speaking with a parent whose daughter benefited from receiving one. The impact of the scholarship was so great that the parent plans to attend this year’s Caritas as a way to help pay that generosity forward.

“The topic of Caritas came up when we were speaking, and when she heard that Edward and I were co-chairing the event, she told me that she plans to get a table at it because this is her chance to give back. She said her daughter was given a wonderful opportunity and this was a great way to pay it forward,” Gloria said.

It will be a busy year for the Dollingers and Habigers. In addition to chairing Caritas, the two couples are also co-chairing USF’s Centennial Campaign, which has a $2 million goal that includes raising funds for student scholarships and two campus enhancement projects: creating a Centennial Quad and a Centennial Gateway.

“Our goal is to raise $2 million to continue to support students and to enhance the campus. The campus has become more and more beautiful as each year passes. The Motherhouse is just gorgeous. Tower Hall has always been a landmark, and the new Brown Science Hall just continues to add grandeur to the campus,” Diane said.

While USF’s campus is recognizable for its architectural characteristics, both Diane and Gloria stress that maintaining and even building upon the University’s Franciscan heritage is key to its next 100 years.

“USF has 100 years of Franciscan teaching behind it.  We are looking forward to continuing this Franciscan tradition into its second century.  I am happy and proud to be part of this effort with Bill, Edward, and Gloria,” Diane said.

“My hope is that the University continues to live its Franciscan mission, heritage and its four Franciscan values  –  service, compassion, respect and integrity – and that we continue to impress those values upon our students and our faculty. Everyone has really done a great job bringing the University to a new level, and I hope we work to build upon that while also continuing to offer a quality, faith-based education,” Gloria added.

In addition to returning to campus for this year, the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala will feature the live music of Gentlemen of Leisure and catering by Jewell Events Catering.  For more information about Caritas, to purchase ticket or to become a sponsor, visit stfrancis.edu/caritas.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves over 4,000 students nationwide, offering 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.

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