Gold Foundation to Honor USF Employees and Local Pharmacist

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) and KODO Care Pharmacy have partnered over the past several months to administer some of the first Covid-19 vaccines in the Joliet area, including residents of long term care facilities and developmentally disabled patients who were unable to get the vaccine elsewhere. Their efforts will be recognized by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation this summer as part of the organization’s Annual Gala event on June 10, 2021.

USF Leach College of Nursing representatives Kimberly Gibson, BSN, RN, and Annette Mattea, DNP, RN, APN/CCNS, CNE, and KODO Care Pharmacy president and pharmacist Chad Kodiak will be presented with Champion of Humanistic Care recognition as part of an event that will also recognize Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Wayne Riley, and Dr. Eric Topol with National Humanism in Medicine Medals. The three local honorees will each receive a certificate from the Gold Foundation and will be celebrated at the Gold Foundation’s Annual Gala through recognition on the Gold Foundation website and in the digital gala program.

The trio was nominated for the honor by Ebere Ume, Ph.D., MSN, RN, PHN, Dean of the USF Leach College of Nursing.

“Congratulations to Kim, Annette and Chad on their recognition by the Arnold Gold Foundation as a Champion of Humanistic Care, for their extensive work on ensuring Covid-19 vaccination for our community, promoting a great partnership between USF LCON and Kodo Care Pharmacy, and providing wonderful practice opportunities for our students,” Ume said.

Gibson points to those she served as inspiration to exceed even her own expectations on persevering through the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“Navigating the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us all a lot about love, loss, and that distance still cannot stop the power of human connection. There were many very hard days, and yet there were also days of happiness and joy. The patients are what kept me going. They were my inspiration to push the limits and do what some would say was unachievable. Simply holding a hand in silence or watching the tears of joy and relief is why I do what I do,” Gibson said.

For Mattea, the experience has reinforced the important role that nurses have, especially in times of challenge.

“Nurses are known as trustworthy and caring. The Covid-19 pandemic has tested everyone’s physical and mental capabilities, including nurses. We were challenged to understand and show empathy while experiencing grief and loss ourselves. Covid-19 had no boundaries. But during this time, we also shared silence and inactivity while reflecting on the importance of understanding, listening and empathy for others. We helped allay fears of the unknown when we didn’t have all of the answers. We are all humans. We are all important. We are all equal. Covid hit the human heart and soul but perseverance, kindness, and compassion towards others got us through. Being part of the solution through volunteerism has been rewarding knowing that I am helping all I serve and care for as we long for brighter days ahead,” Mattea said.

For Kodiak, his efforts stemmed from the answer to a simple question: what can I do to help?

“Compassion is what has gotten me through the difficult days during the Covid-19 pandemic…and there have been many difficult days. Knowing that a person not only needs but also is often dependent on our care is the motivation that gets me and our team at KODO Care through the late nights, difficult days, and seemingly impossible scenarios. I believe in the goodness of human beings and I have seen that goodness countless times during this ordeal. There have been literally too many times to count when people are saying ‘What can I do to help?’ And every time there has been something, and every time they have done it,” Kodiak said.

About the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation infuses the human connection into healthcare. We engage schools, health systems, companies, and individual clinicians in the joy and meaning of humanistic healthcare, so that they have the strength and knowledge to ensure patients and families are partners in collaborative, compassionate, and scientifically excellent care.

Dr. Arnold Perlman Gold and his wife, Sandra, co-founded The Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1988 with an aim toward sustaining the human connection in medicine and ensuring all patients received compassionate care. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s programs, such as the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, are now found in nearly every medical school in the country.

Visit gold-foundation.org for more information.

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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 51,000 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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Edwina Gateley to Present “A Spirituality during COVID-19” on September 8

Edwina Gateley event flier

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) welcomes international speaker Edwina Gateley for a special live-streamed presentation “A Spirituality during COVID-19” on Tuesday, September 8 at 7 p.m. The presentation, part of USF’s annual “Women in the Church” lecture series, will be streamed via Zoom. To request a presentation link, please contact Janine Hicks by email at jhicks@stfrancis.edu or by phone at 815-740-3807 (please be sure to leave an email address in your message).

Gateley is the recipient of sixteen national and international awards.  Born in Lancaster, England, she earned a teacher’s degree from her home country, a master’s degree in theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and certification as an HIV counselor in Illinois.

From 1981 to 1982, Gateley lived for nine months in prayer and solitude in a hermitage in Illinois. In 1983, she spent the year walking the streets of Chicago with the homeless and women involved in prostitution learning from the anawim. Also in 1983, Gateley founded Genesis House, which is a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution.  She is currently writing, giving talks and leading retreats nationally and internationally. On topics including own Faith Journey, Discipleship, Women in Scripture, Justice, Mission, Spirituality, Mysticism, and the Feminine Divine. This will likely be Gateley’s last lecture from the United States before returning to her homeland of England.

Visit edwinagateley.com for more information.

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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.

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USF Announces Fall 2020 Opening Plan

University of St. Francis (USF) President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., announced on July 15, 2020, through an email to the school community details on USF’s plan for re-opening campus in August. The letter read as follows:

Dear Members – both NEW and RETURNING – of the University of St. Francis (USF) Community,

I hope this communication finds you enjoying a safe, healthy summer.  As USF continues through its Summer semester and prepares for the Fall semester, I would like to share with you our official, approved plan for our Fall re-opening.  This plan – and its supporting documents – are the result of the work of dozens of faculty, staff, administrators, and other members of the USF community over the past few months and for which we are extremely grateful.

  • “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” booklet (available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united) – This eight-page booklet offers a quick review of the present status of the guidelines and changes in practices and procedures included in the University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan, which the USF community can anticipate with the opening of campus in August.
  • “University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan” (available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united) – This document offers a comprehensive review of the details used as the basis of the “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” booklet. Important to note is that, while the plan has been approved by the Will County Health Department, it will continue to evolve and be revised as “best practices” change.
  • stfrancis.edu/saints-united – This web page will offer updated, electronic versions of the content in the “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” and the “University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan” for the opening of campus in August. The page is currently under construction and will be up and running in the coming days.

In addition to these publications, I ask that you also note the following important items:

  • On Monday, August 3rd, the offices of many of our office-based employees will re-open and resume their on-campus responsibilities. If you need to meet with any of these individuals, please be sure to contact them in advance via email or phone to arrange for an appointment.  Please contact the office staff member with whom you wish to meet by phone or online.  On-campus visits will require face masks and physical distancing.
  • Everyone – students, faculty, administrators and staff – will have to sign an electronic “commitment to return to campus” indicating that you have read and understood our four “general practices” and are willing to live by them.
  • Fall semester 2020 classes will begin on Monday, August 24th. If you have any questions about your schedule, please contact your academic advisor.
  • When you return to campus, you will notice a variety of new directional and informational signage regarding the University’s ongoing efforts to maintain a healthy and safe environment for students, employees, alumni, and friends of USF. Please be mindful of these signs and adhere to the information that they are used to convey.
  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6-7th. This means the semester will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to an online format after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th. This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and finals week). Student athletes in fall sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in late-season games, as necessary and as scheduled.
  • Shortening the semester in this way also allows us to move Commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

Our successful return to campus will require the continued, collective efforts of the entire USF community to protect ourselves and each other.  We each have a part to play in keeping one another safe, and it is imperative our entire USF community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As we continue in what has been an unprecedented Centennial year, know that our new, on-going Centennial goal is to have a 100%-safe fall semester.

Collectively, we can make our return to campus safe and successful!  

Collectively, we are Saints United!

Welcome home, Saints!

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.
President

Fall Re-opening Plans Update

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community –

This is the latest update in the series of communications about our operations that we have been providing since early March. It shares important information about the University of St. Francis’ plans for the Fall 2020 term.

USF Plans to Re-open Its Campuses This Fall…

Illinois (and other Midwestern) health officials have announced plans allowing businesses, schools, and universities to re-open in various ways. In most cases, the State is allowing physical locations like stores and schools to re-open with some restrictions on the total number of people attending an event. USF has planned for re-opening campus buildings beginning August 3rd with restrictions to the size of classes, team meetings, and other gatherings to keep the number in large spaces to less than 50 – in coordination with the transition of our region to “Phase 4” on June 26th, per Governor Pritzker’s announcement earlier today.

Reducing Class Sizes, Changing the Calendar, Making Campus Safe…

This summer, University staff members have gone from building-to-building and room-to-room, counted socially-distant seats, and planned where access and exit points will be located. Classrooms and labs are being changed to allow students to work at a safe distance from others, while preserving the welcoming and active learning environment that makes USF a great university.

As with almost every other US university – both public and private – our University is modifying slightly its Fall 2020 term calendar to adapt for COVID-19 and to mitigate against its spread by providing a larger gap between the end of the Fall 2020 term and the beginning of the Spring 2021 term.  Specifically,

  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6th & 7th. This means that Fall 2020 classes in ALL formats will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to a fully-online format, as necessary, after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th. This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and the week of finals).  Residents will be asked to move out after this date.
  • Shortening the semester in this way also allows us to move Commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

(Student athletes in fall/winter sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in games, as necessary.)

These changes are part of a larger, overall plan to re-open the University to both students and faculty members beginning on August 3rd.  Additional details of the plan will be shared with our USF community in the coming weeks. Please know that we are working to create a vibrant campus and to provide high-quality learning experiences for all students, while adhering to the “Restore Illinois” guidelines presented by Governor Pritzker, as well as the “best practices” guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We continue to adapt, plan, clean, and make our campus buildings into a safe environment for students to live and learn with us.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson
President

Art Professor Delivers Care Packages

Joliet, Ill. – When University of St. Francis students transitioned to online coursework in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the change was clearly an unanticipated one. On-campus, face-to-face instruction was quickly replaced with off-campus, virtual instruction, and students were challenged with navigating the ins and outs of distance learning. In an effort to ensure that his art majors felt supported throughout their transition to this new learning environment, USF art professor Michael “Chester” Alamo-Costello, MFA, created personalized care packages that he mailed and delivered to students as a way to show his support and concern for them.

“The packages consisted of an art, design or photography book, comics and some snacks. The contents of each care package was slightly different. For instance, I bought and passed on a photography book to a student concentrating in photography, while a student who plays a sport on campus would get an art book and a book related to another one of their athletic interests,” Alamo-Costello said.

Although the gesture was performed with the needs of his students in mind, Alamo-Costello said that there was more to it than just that.

“In all honesty, this was as much or probably more-so for me. The students have been patient and exemplary in this time of crisis. I needed to thank them for staying focused. Having taught at USF for more than 20 years, I feel very fortunate to continually work with quality young people,” he said.

In addition to the care packages, a series of non-credit summer projects have been organized for students as a way to keep them engaged with their studies.

“These activities help to keep our community connected. Many students are still isolated, and an item to work on appears to be a constructive outlet. Throughout the summer, via Zoom, we are meeting weekly to look at progress of projects and prepare for their return in August,” Alamo-Costello said.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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