Joliet, Ill. – For over sixty years, the annual Caritas Ball has served as the University of St. Francis’ primary fundraiser for student scholarships. While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the planning of large events for many organizations, USF has successfully pivoted and is bringing Caritas to your home through a special digital experience on Saturday, January 30, 2021.

USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., and his wife, Anne, will host this year’s Virtual Caritas Scholarship Ball, which carries the appropriate theme, “From Our Home to Yours.” Event co-chairs Ann and Steve Randich, and Corey and Steve Carbery are working with a committee of volunteers and USF Institutional Advancement team members to create an exciting experience with engaging activities for attendees. The USF Jazz Band will kick off the evening at 6:30 p.m. followed by the main hour-long program beginning at 7 p.m. This year’s program will feature a special message from the University President, a student scholarship testimonial, silent and live auctions featuring wine baskets, travel experiences, golf packages and much more.

Because of its new virtual platform, Ann Randich and Corey Carbery are anticipating increased participation from members of the USF community who have been unable to participate in previous in-person Caritas events. 

“The exciting thing about this year’s Caritas event is that we will be able to reach alumni virtually from all over the United States. We are hoping that people who couldn’t attend a Caritas event in the past will consider purchasing tickets or even hosting a watch party,” said Ann Randich. “How magnificent would it be to see watch parties in Florida, California, Arizona and other states where USF alumni live?”

“Everything this year is exciting and unique!  The University is working hard to provide an engaging virtual event and everyone should participate,” Corey Carbery added. “These scholarship dollars are so valuable for USF students. Caritas offers the perfect opportunity to participate in a live event and hear directly from the University’s President, Dr. Arvid Johnson, whose message will resonate with everyone.”

There are many ways to support this year’s event.  Tickets to attend the event (virtually) cost $100 each and give attendees exclusive online access to the Caritas Scholarship Ball. Purchasing a ticket also allows participants to bid on silent auction and live auction items. The first 100 event tickets sold will receive two (2) USF champagne flutes. Raffle tickets (one for $50 and three for $100) are also available for purchase. For $1,000, attendees may also host a Watch Party for up to 10 people.

There is also a variety of sponsorship packages available for purchase. Sponsorship package costs range from $1,000 to $50,000 and include a variety of unique recognition opportunities.

Last year, the University of St. Francis provided over $23 million in institutional financial aid for more than 1,200 students, many of whom are first-generation college students. These scholarships make a difference for many students who may not be able to attend and obtain a college degree. Scholarships made possible through Caritas and the many supporters of USF create life-changing opportunities that affect virtually all undergraduate students. In 2018-2019, approximately 96% of full-time, undergraduate students enrolled at USF received financial assistance, which illustrates the importance of scholarship availability.

“So many young people dream of going to college to set themselves on a path to success.  However, going to college can put financial stress on families, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. We need even greater participation this year,” said Corey Carbery.

Ann Randich added that supporting this event can mean the difference between students being able to continue their education and having to postpone it indefinitely.

“Many families have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We need to ensure that our USF students can continue to attend school and finish their degrees of choice. The money raised by this event, will assist students who otherwise might have to put their education on hold because of family financial circumstances beyond their control,” she said.

Please visit for more ticket and sponsorship details, or call Kelly Larson at 815-740-3610 with any other event questions.

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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 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

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

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