Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis spent all of 2020 celebrating its centennial. Even amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university found creative ways to carry on the celebration, serving as yet another example of the perseverance displayed by Joliet’s university for the past 100 years. So when it came time to host the 64th Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball, the university’s largest annual fundraiser in support of student scholarships, USF once again creatively pivoted as necessitated by the ongoing pandemic to present the first-ever “From Our Home to Yours” Virtual Caritas Scholarship Ball, on January 30, 2021, and raised over $280,000 in the process.

“We are extremely thankful for the support so many individuals and organizations showed through this year’s virtual event. From the attendees and sponsors to our Caritas Committee chairs, Ann and Steve Randich, and Corey and Steve Carbery, and the entire Caritas Committee, so many people contributed in their own way to create an experience that was both unique and largely successful,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.

Although this year’s event required virtual participation by attendees, the event’s organizers ensured that Caritas included aspects of the traditions established through past events. Some of these traditions included a welcome from hosts Anne and Arvid Johnson; toasts made by USF trustees, Caritas Committee members, and alumni; warm wishes of welcome from the Caritas Committee chairs; the musical offerings of the USF Jazz Ensemble; and the stories of students – told by the students, themselves – and their unique educational journeys throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Those traditions, coupled with other event staples such as the silent and live auctions, paddle raise and raffle, combined for an impressive experience that yielded successful results just as past in-person events had accomplished.

“It the midst of the great uncertainty of the past year, one thing remained certain: our donors’ support of USF students. Since 2014, Caritas events have raised over $2.5 million in USF student scholarship support. In its 64-year history, Caritas events have raised over $6 million in USF student scholarship support. These examples not only demonstrate the importance of this annual event, but also the impact it has in helping to make a USF education possible for so many students,” Johnson added.

With the 64th annual event now in the books, USF’s sights have already been set on laying the foundation for next year’s event.

“We are delighted to announce the 65th Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball will return to campus on Saturday, January 29, 2022, in the Pat Sullivan Center on our main campus in Joliet. More details will be forthcoming this summer, but we are already looking forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in 2022,” Johnson said.

For more information on Caritas, visit stfrancis.edu/caritas.

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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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