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2013 - 2014 ISSUE 2

A Day in the Life

Tracing the tracks of a USF commuter and resident during a typical day at USF

Fighting Saints

Court and field reports from the USF Athletic Department

Diane Nilan ‘73

Alumna gives love and a voice to those who go without

A Message From the President

Learning to Lead and Love in the Real World It’s great to welcome you, once again, to the newest issue of University of St. Francis Magazine. This publication provides us with a critically important connection to you—our alumni, friends, parents, employees, students and other supporters (in short, our USF family)—and I hope you enjoy reading it. This is an exciting time for the University of St. Francis as we begin the implementation of the University’s 2014-19 strategic plan—“Preparing for Our Second Century: Learning to Lead and Love in the Real World.” Our Board of Trustees approved this plan in April. While more details will be shared in future issues, I thought you’d be interested to know the plan’s five top-level objectives: Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. President

1 Build upon our Catholic heritage and Franciscan tradition. We will build a values-oriented institutional culture that intentionally creates learning communities, allowing our graduates to become leaders who contribute back to USF and their local communities.

2 Enhance USF’s reputation and brand awareness. We aspire to be a leading private, Midwestern university with

OUR MISSION As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion, and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership.

excellent student educational outcomes, inspired by and infused with our Catholic heritage and Franciscan tradition.

3 Increase the quality of our academic and co-curricular programs. We want USF to become a “first choice” academic institution for a larger number of potential students and future Saints.

4 Strengthen the financial capacity and long-term sustainability of USF. We will continue to work to make strategic investments, cultivate major grants and donors, and become more effective stewards of our resources.

5 Cultivate an environment that attracts, develops, and retains faculty, staff and administrators who perform at the top of their professions. We desire to employ a team of educators and staff members who embrace USF’s mission and values, and who will demand nothing short of excellence from USF students both inside and outside of the classroom.

While certainly aspirational, and not without challenges, the goals by which we’ll measure USF’s progress against these objectives are supported by focused, department-level operating plans. These plans are certainly achievable and are supported by strategies that have been introduced to and embraced by the campus community. As a result, the University is well-positioned to become the leading Catholic, Franciscan university we know it can—and will—be. I look forward to updating you on our progress. As evidence of the positive impact that USF is already making, this magazine features many examples of students and alumni who are accomplishing great things as they contribute to the world through service and leadership. Even better, the stories in this issue are but a sampling of what we know about the impact that YOU are making in the world. I encourage you to keep providing us with updates about how you are living the USF mission! I continue to feel incredibly blessed to serve as your president, and promise to keep working hard to earn the trust that you have placed in me. Peace and all good,

Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. President

Table of Contents Feature Stories


University of St. Francis Magazine is published twice each academic year for members of the USF community. Feedback is welcomed and can be sent to Julie Futterer ‘93, Director of Marketing Services: / (815) 740-3826

A Day in the Life

Tracing the tracks of a USF commuter and resident student during a typical day on campus

CO N T E N T Bonnie Covelli Julie Futterer Katie Goron Emily Havener David Hilbert Michelle Madura Christine Nicholson Nancy Pohlman


Tracie Terlep

2014 Commencements

Jill Yott Other USF employees, students and friends

Featuring addresses by the Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings ‘87 and Craig Herkert ‘81

I M AG E R Y Central Valley Studio, Inc. Don Bersano Julie Futterer Matt Grotto Dave Hilbert Amy Krynicki John Patsch Mike Planeta Other USF employees, students and friends DESIGN

USF Success Campus News

Staying Connected 6

The Colleges Arts & Sciences Business & Health Administration Education Leach College of Nursing

Jeff Hall Design

13 16 18 20

Alumni News Parents’ Corner

25 29

Giving Back Donor News


Calendar of Events Upcoming Events and Activities


PRINTING Adventure Marketing Solutions University of St. Francis 500 Wilcox St. Joliet, IL 60435 (800) 735-7500

The Fighting Saints USF Athletics


COVER PHOTO: USF student Jeremy Grachan’s future is so bright, he’s got to wear shades!

University of St. Francis Magazine



Life of a Saint... KORI BECK: Commuter

8:30 a.m.

Since her drive to USF is about a half hour each way, Kori usually leaves around 8 a.m. to get to campus a little early for her morning class. Sometimes Kori is able to commute with other Saints who live in her community, which is nice when the weather is disagreeable, but Kori usually gets to school and stows her belongings in the commuter lounge, especially designed for students who need a home base during the day if they don’t live on campus.

9:00 a.m.

Not like other classes on the list, Kori signed up for a “Serial Killers” topics class in Social & Criminal Justice. Her instructor is an expert in the law enforcement field and the class is popular—therefore, pretty full. Kori signed up as an elective to complete her major, though the choices were difficult. She was debating between a few interesting courses, but this one was just way too compelling to pass up.


4:00 p.m.

Her last chance to get homework done before heading home, Kori stops in the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library. (Technically, Wi-Fi is available across campus with more than 500 terminals and mobile devices available to students, so she can study anywhere on campus!) The library boasts over 100 online databases, accessible anywhere in the world.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

2:30 p.m.

As part of USF’s mission and value of service, USF offers opportunities all year long for students and employees to serve others. Today, Kori is discussing serve abroad options with Director of University Ministry, Joe Wysocki. Kori has several destinations in mind, but it’s important that she weighs all her options and chooses the opportunity that’s the best fit—intellectually, physically and spiritually.

noon There are several dining options on campus, including the traditional Terrace Cafe in Tower Hall and the more modern-vibed Three Oaks Bistro in the Motherhouse. Even newer, Bernie’s Pub caters to after-school and evening snacking, studying and root beer drinking. For those that want to venture off campus, Joliet is home to many great restaurants and establishments including Thayer Brothers, located just a few blocks away. The restaurant is run by the lovely Ann Thayer, who is like a “mom” to everyone who visits and enjoys her home-cooked meals—especially USF’s international students.


10:00 a.m.

Science is Jeremy’s thing. He has classes, studies, and works in the chemistry lab. The sciences are becoming more and more popular at USF and administrators are currently discussing building a science building on campus to support the expansion. In addition to the chemistry lab, biology students have the opportunity to study anatomy and physiology using a human cadaver as a “textbook.”

9:50 a.m.

Jeremy joins more than 400 students who live in USF’s three residence halls. Marian Hall houses mostly underclassmen, while Tower Hall and the Motherhouse house juniors and seniors. Jeremy has a roommate and has made lots of friends on his floor. Since it’s just a quick trip across Taylor Street to get to his 10 a.m. class, he can usually sleep in, which is one of the great benefits of living in the residence halls.

11:15 a.m.

Involved and active on campus, both Kori and Jeremy are members of the Student Government Association and find themselves in meetings together quite often. The SGA oversees all the student clubs and activities, with guidance from the Office of Student Development.

4:00 . .

3:15 p.m. 12:00

noon The USF Quad is the perfect place for Jeremy to study, relax, meditate, commiserate and... play catch! (As well as throw a huge snowball fight in winter.) Still home to the peaceful Grotto, the Quad also boasts a beautiful paved walkway between buildings, a quarter-mile walking/running path, a patio, a pavilion with picnic tables, a sand volleyball court and now, two honey-bearing bee hives.

Jeremy finds a brief time-out in the St. Joseph Chapel to be just what he needs during a busy day. USF embraces its Catholic, Franciscan tradition yet always strives to be a spiritual resource for students of all faiths. Many students on campus get involved as peer ministers and have the opportunity to grow in spirit through faith-inspired activities including retreats, bible studies, speakers and more. As always, daytime Mass is held through the school year with all from the community being invited to attend.

p m Jeremy enjoys a game of pool in Abbey Lounge before dinner. Each of the residence halls has a game room and other community spaces on each floor to make “hanging out” a breeze. Students can also take advantage of all Joliet has to offer such as Joliet Park District’s Inwood Athletic Club, Rialto Square Theater, Gallery 7, the Chicagoland Speedway, Splash Station Waterpark, the movie theaters at Louis Joliet Mall and more. Adventurous students can easily hop a Metra train and get to Chicago in just over an hour.

University of St. Francis Magazine



2014 Graduates! The University of St. Francis was pleased to welcome alumni speakers, Rev. Dr. Judy D. Cummings ‘87 and Craig R. Herkert ‘81, to the Joliet commencement ceremonies on May 3. The Albuquerque commencement was April 26.

Graduate Princess Clemente addresses the crowd while trustee Bob Baron looks on.

“Truly successful people know what to do with the luck that they come across. They recognize it, they embrace it, they build on it. You’re lucky... you’re lucky to be entering the workforce that is more diverse, more global, more educated and more challenging than in any time in history.” — Craig R. Herkert ’81

Rick Lorenc, long-time faculty member.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

Students anxiously await their “tickets to the world”—their diplomas!

Angel Johnson shares her USF experiences.

The Reverend Dr. Judy D. Cummings ’87


r. Cummings is Senior Pastor of the historic New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nashville, Tenn., and is the first woman pastor in the church’s 154year existence. She is a highly and widely acclaimed preacher, teacher, revivalist, retreat, and conference speaker. Under her visionary leadership, New Covenant has grown in spirit and in numbers. Additionally, Dr. Cummings serves as adjunct professor of the Masters of Divinity program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to her pastorship at New Covenant, Dr. Cummings served for eight years at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville as the Minister of Christian Education and then as the Executive Minister. She earned degrees from Tennessee State University School of Nursing and the University of St. Francis before obtaining a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and then a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching and Church Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. Her dissertation has contributed exponentially to the study of the role and function of clergywomen in the Church, particularly in the Black Church.

An advocate for justice, Dr. Cummings serves on various community boards and organizations. She is President of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a charter member of the National Council of Negro Women Middle Tennessee Section, board member of Renewal House, board member of Operation Andrew Group, and a member of the 2012-2013 Leadership Nashville Class. She is the immediate past director of the Nashville Chapter of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry and the immediate past president of Women in Numbers. She served for 12 years as a commissioner with the Metropolitan Planning Commission. For her work and contributions to the community, Dr. Cummings has received numerous awards and recognitions including being nominated for the prestigious 2011 Athena Award and the 2011 Societas Docta, Inc. Nefertiti Award.

Craig R. Herkert ’81


or the past two years alumnus Craig Herkert, a supermarket and discount retail expert, has worked as a consultant providing insights to companies worldwide including supermarkets and grocery stores; specialty, ethnic, fresh and independent grocers; grocery wholesalers; discount stores and more.

Masters of Health Administration graduates with Dr. Mari Valle.

“You and I have been privileged to obtain these degrees in higher education. We are now called to pay it back by fighting... advocating... on behalf of those who will never have the blessed opportunity to sit where you now sit today.”— Dr. Judy Cummings ’87 Herkert gained his expertise by working for some of the world’s largest retailers over the course of nearly four decades. He got his start in the industry as a teenager, bagging groceries at a Jewel-Osco store in Chicago. For 23 years he stayed with the company, which was eventually acquired by Albertsons, Inc., and built a successful career that took him from store operations to a number of executive roles across merchandising, marketing and procurement. In 2000, Herkert began a nineyear tenure with Walmart in its international division. His role as COO and Executive Vice President gave him the responsibility of managing operations, marketing and merchandising at all Walmart stores, clubs and restaurants outside the U.S. He grew sales and grew his success, and soon became President and CEO Americas in the international division, growing sales from $24B to $52B over the course of five years through both acquisitions and organic growth. He also introduced the discount supermarket format

in all of Walmart’s Latin American markets. In 2009, Herkert accepted the position of President and CEO of SUPERVALU, where he recruited a new leadership team, remerchandised stores, divested non-core assets, paid down debt and lowered operating costs, consolidated brands, empowered workers and ultimately grew the company’s business. This position took Herkert’s career fullcircle, since SUPERVALU had acquired key retail properties of Albertsons, Inc., including Jewel-Osco, where Herkert got his start. Herkert holds a BBA in Marketing from University of St. Francis and an MBA from Northern Illinois University. His past and current board memberships include the Consumer Goods Forum, Food Marketing Institute, Minnesota Business Partnership, Skylark Opera, SUPERVALU and The Business Council. In 2011 Herkert was presented with USF’s “Presidential Alumnus of the Year Award” for achieving outstanding professional success.

University of St. Francis Magazine


USF Success

Outdoor Leadership

Course Pushes Students to Extremes Canoeing. Pitching a tent. Cooking over a tiny camp stove. Navigating through unfamiliar wilderness. Using muscles you didn’t know you had. Swatting black flies and mosquitoes. All steps to becoming a stronger servant leader and a successful college grad? You bet!

Front Row: Co-instructor Syd Sklar, Sean Burke and Miranda Mayer. Back Row: Co-instructor Steve Volkening, Karen Ward, Kacie Jankowski, Skyler Ficht, Elise English and Stacy Velhuizen.


even students can attest. They recently participated in USF’s “Outdoor Leadership Course,” delivered annually by the university’s Recreation, Sport & Tourism faculty. The group traveled to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in far northeast Minnesota—the largest protected wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, adjacent to the Canada border. Students who participated in this week-long wilderness course and canoe expedition not only enhanced their outdoor living skills, but also forged lasting friendships, developed new servant leadership skills, built character, experienced pure nature


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

and gained general education credit. They traveled 35 miles over land and water, completed 18 portages, transported gear over more than three miles of portage trails, and conducted a conservation service project in which they improved a trail for the U.S. Forest Service and other recreation users of the Boundary Waters. Said Syd Sklar, associate professor and course instructor, “This course has the potential to be life changing. When we unplug from civilization and go into the wilderness, students learn things from nature and peers they can’t possibly learn in the classroom. Practicing effective leadership,

teamwork, and how to cope with physically and mentally challenging situations are all essential elements of the course.” In addition to the academic elements of the course, students also contributed to research conducted by Sklar. The research aims to evaluate how students effectively learn and apply servant leadership principles through an outdoor leadership course. Sklar plans to use the data to inform best practices of outdoor leadership education through presentations and publications. Students also learn to “rough it.” While participating in the expedition, students slept outdoors, experienced

long and physically demanding days, portaged canoe and gear between lakes, set up their own camps and prepared their own meals. Amazingly, no experience was necessary. Upon arrival, students were taught various outdoor living skills including how to paddle canoes (which is not as easy as it seems), prepare meals, and navigate vast lakes, set up a tent and live in the wilderness. They would even hold class in the backcountry, including lessons in situational leadership, map and compass use and risk management. Most of the students on the trip had little or no previous outdoor experience. Don’t forget that rolled up with the sleeping bags were pens and paper. Since this is a for-credit course, homework was required. Before the trip, students read a packet of course materials, wrote papers on environmental awareness and leadership theory, and prepared lesson plans for teaching their peers in the field. They also established goals for development of their leadership skills. During their travels they kept field journals, and they delivered two educational lessons on locally relevant environmental topics of their choice. Finally, they were required to write a posttrip reflection paper to integrate their readings with the course experience. Said student Miranda Mayer of her experience in the wilderness, “This trip has the potential to stretch your limits and show you what you are physically and emotionally capable of.”

Diversity Grows Through International Studies


e often think of USF as being home to many students from the Chicagoland area, but did you know that USF has a growing international

and the Friendship Family program pair international students with other students or families to give them the opportunity to connect more personally with others,

culture? This year, University of St. Francis welcomed 14 new students to campus from Bolivia, Brazil, China, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. They joined other already-enrolled international students from Argentina, Austria, Ecuador, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and Serbia. Visiting students are mainly studying business and computer science, said Angie Maffeo, director of the English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP) program and acting director of the International Programs Office. Jiaxi Hou, an MBA student from Beijing, China, said he likes being in the United States and is especially enjoying his USF experience. "I like the faculty at University of St. Francis. They are dedicated and passionate about teaching,” he said. “Most importantly, faculty members care about different cultures and are willing to teach their students in a global perspective." Many international students have to work on their English language skills before beginning a degree program at USF. To facilitate that kind of learning, the full-time ELAP training program was developed at USF to prepare non-native English speakers with intensive English training before starting their studies. Most students come in with intermediate skills and will need two semesters (about eight months) in the program, said Maffeo. Other programs like Culture Connect

develop new friendships, and to enhance their global awareness.

University of St. Francis welcomed 14 new students to campus from Bolivia, Brazil, China, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The “international factor” goes both ways, while many Saints leave the Joliet campus to study abroad. According to Maureen Stephan, assistant director of the International Programs Office, USF currently has exchange partnerships with Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil; Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Universidad de San Francisco Xavier in Sucre, Bolivia; Universidad Catolica de Avila in Avila, Spain; L'Ecole de Management de Normandie in Normandy, France; Medical University Graz in Graz, Austria; Kristianstad University in Kristianstad, Sweden and Vietnam Maritime University in Hai Phong City, Vietnam. There are also faculty-led cultural and research experiences planned each year in faraway places including Europe, China, Costa Rica, South America and South Africa. USF recently pledged to partner with the Institute of International

Front Row: Tonghui Wang, Fei Peng Jiang and Zhe “Mark” Ma. All are from China except for Hanna (Brazil). Back Row: Pengyu “Ada” Lu, Han “Stephanie” Ling, Hanna Louyse Ribeiro e Souza and Kesi “Max” Ma.

Education (IIE) in its “Generation Study Abroad” initiative, with hopes of doubling the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. USF’s International Programs Office has committed to increasing the number of undergraduate students who study abroad to 10% over the next five years. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow overall participation so that the annual total of students reported will reach 600,000 by 2020. Generation Study Abroad was launched because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low, according to IIE. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students

study abroad at some point in their academic career. IIE and its partners feel that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.

“At USF, global awareness is important and we believe that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education,” said Stephan.

University of St. Francis Magazine


USF Success

Did YOU Bernie Lean?


student team affectionately known as “the Bernie Lean Team” worked hard to organize and promote their exciting March 30 Guinness World Record attempt, trying to gather the largest number of people doing a hip-hop dance to the song “Bernie Lean.” After a valiant attempt, Brandon Collofello, Katie Hayes, Allison Rhodes and Chelsea Rimington just couldn’t convince 1,000 people (Guinness’ mandatory number to set the record) to come to Joliet’s Memorial Stadium to dance the afternoon away. However, they did get 300 people, and they did raise more


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

than $2,000 for Mercy Ships Medical Missions and the Illinois Special Olympics, which was a feat to be even more proud of. The stadium was pulsing with fun music and attendees did hula hoop contests and other activities while waiting for people to gather in the stands of the stadium. When it was time to get serious, the crowd lined up and proceeded one-by-one onto the football field in order to be officially counted by alumni volunteers and other helpers from the school community. Many people connected to the University and local residents of all ages participated.

There was a brief instruction and practice time, then the song blared from the stadium speakers. It was quite a sight for bystanders to see 300 people on the football field, wobbling from side to side and back and forth in unison—modeling the fun dance made popular by rap artists ATM & IMD. There was lots of laughing and giggling, and lots of new acquaintances were made. Said one USF student who was pleasantly surprised by all the support, “I can’t believe how many teachers and employees came out here today—even Arvid!”

The Bernie Lean Team enjoyed the day and were proud of their efforts. Said Hayes, “The event was absolutely amazing! Even though we did not end up setting the world record it was still very successful in raising money for two great causes. We really enjoyed seeing everyone having fun with the dance—the young kids, especially, got into it and just had a blast. The best part was being able to interact with everyone that came out and to see the support we had from the community was wonderful.”

USF Purchases Iconic Guardian Angel Home


ll Joliet area residents are likely very familiar with the Guardian Angel Home, a large building that sits atop a hill like a castle at the corner of Plainfield Road and Theodore Street in Joliet. The facility, built by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in 1925 and currently home to Guardian

administrators in order to re-develop dorm rooms on the main campus, and expanding the Leach College of Nursing (LCON) facilities. The new space will include four simulation labs and more classrooms to meet the needs of USF’s in-demand nursing program. LCON, which has been recognized nationally for its out-

Angel Community Services (GACS), has given the Sisters a place to help and house orphaned, abused or troubled children for nearly 90 years. Because the home’s mission has always been to serve and assist young people, it seems fitting that the University of St. Francis has purchased the building and will occupy the space starting in the late fall and early winter. Major plans for the building include creating more office space for University staff and

standing online programs, has seen great growth in enrollment over the past few years. In part, this is due to the creation of new partnerships with area community colleges through the RN to BSN “fast track” program. Expansion will continue to be essential in order to serve the growing number of USF students who are becoming nurses, so the University was happy the Sisters decided to keep the Guardian Angel building in the Franciscan family.”

Fox Estate—the ORIGINAL Guardian Angel Home, 1898–1926.

$25,000 Awarded for Undergrad Research


s part of USF’s initiative to increase experiential learning and implement retention/completion best practices, USF Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

and undergraduate students at the Joliet campus to collaborate on summer research projects. This summer marks a first-time participation by the College of Education.

then ranked by the Deans. Each of the below named students was funded with $2,500 by the Provost’s office. During the coming academic year, they must present their results

(SURE) program provides the opportunity for full-time faculty

Student/faculty teams submitted proposals this spring, which were

at a professional conference or symposium.

• Students Beth Svoboda and Ketura Taylor with Professor Srimani Chakravarthi, in Education, will research “Perceptions of the Individualized Education Process (IEP) by culturally and linguistically diverse families” • Student Tanya Arias with Professor Julie Victa, in Political Science, will research “Increase of Hispanic voter turnout.” • Student Ashley Sichak and Professor Megan Powell, in Mathematics, will research “Devin Facial Tumor Disease: Mathematical modeling of disease spread.” • Students Jeremy Grachan and Maria Quevedo with Professor Erik Essick, in Biology, will research “Effects of respiratory muscle resistance training on acid base balance.” • Student Matthew Peacock with Professor Susan Renner, in Physics, will research “Minimalist shoes and risk of injury.” • Student Jacqueline Mann and Professor Brian Moskalik, in Biology, will research “Population differences in vibratory display in the Dimorphic Jumping Spider (Maevia inclemens)” • Student Patricia Masterson and Professor Brian Moskalik, in Biology, will research “Behavioral characterization of seminal biochemical in the Brush Legged Wolf Spider.” • Student Thomas Kodron and Professor Jackie Wittke-Thompson, in Biology, will research “Characterization of phnCDEJK Mutants in Thiomicrospira cruno¬gena for Phosphate Utilization.”

2014 MERIT Scholar Named Cristal Munguia has been selected as the next MERIT (Multicultural Education Recruitment in Teaching) Scholar at University of St. Francis. Munguia currently attends Joliet Central High School and will study elementary education. More on Munguia’s USF experience will come in the October issue of this magazine.

University of St. Francis Magazine


USF Success

1% Day Empowers Students and Employees to Give 100%

“I started wondering what a difference the university (as a whole) could make if, instead of beautifying our own backyard, we tried to make a difference in someone else’s back yard? Instead of 1% being about us, let’s make it about others who could use our help.” — Vicki Rooney


Day brought the Saints to Washington, Ill. for a day of service. The people of Washington, whose lives were devastated by a powerful tornado in November, have been struggling to clean up their city and their lives. University of St. Francis employee Vicki Rooney got this USF tradition started again after 1% Day had been on hiatus for a number of years. “Back when I started here, the university had a day in the spring where we abandoned our offices, dressed in T-shirts, jeans and shorts and beautified the campus—spreading mulch, planting flowers, etc.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

It was called 1% Day,” explained Rooney in a letter to President Arvid Johnson. “In recent years, 1% Days have become obsolete or have been reduced to individual department days. I started wondering what a difference the university (as a whole) could make if, instead of beautifying our own backyard, we tried to make a difference in someone else’s back yard? Instead of 1% being about us, let’s make it about others who could use our help.” When Rooney heard that the USF baseball team had done service work in Washington, and that the residents and families there were still in major

need of assistance, she knew she had to get USF there to help. Rooney started working to gather the troops and to organize their tasks. Most people cleaned up debris. However, Rooney’s husband, Jeff, tagged along and brought his front loader, so their team was assigned bigger clean-up tasks due the equipment they had. “All the houses we were at were completely leveled, with plywood covering their foundations,” she said. All in all, 52 USF employees and 78 students volunteered that day. “I hoped and believe we could make an impact, and we did,” said Rooney.

Above: Employee 1% Day volunteers take a break for a photo. Standing: Angie Maffeo, Maureen Stephan, Anna Perry, Meg Honiotes, Mollie Rockafellow and Michelle Madura. Kneeling: Missie Rolinitis, Danielle Emola, Amy Brodeur and Kim Beck. Large photo: Members of the USF Admissions, Marketing & Enrollment Services team and Coach Samantha Quigley work diligently to clean up a plot of land torn apart by the tornado.

University Ministry Offers Opportunities for Service, Leadership and Fun ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK Fourteen USF students, including four from China and one from Brazil, participated in the “Alternative Spring Break” trip to New Orleans, La. during the first week in March. Students performed a variety of work, from helping to transform an abandoned auto parts shop into an after-school center to working with abused horses. The group also happened to be in town for Mardi Gras and was able to take in some of the sites and sounds of that popular New Orleans festival. TRANSFORMATION AND UNITY RETREAT In late March, University Ministry hosted its first TAU (Transformation and Unity) Retreat for 12 student participants. They were led by assistant director Laura Lagreid in community building and faith formation, with some time for laser tag too. The retreat, modeled after the popular Kairos high school retreat, was a great success. FRANCISCAN IDOL

TUESDAYS ON TAP University Ministry rounded out its successful “Tuesdays on Tap” program with a visit from Fr. Dennis Paul for a “Stump the Priest” night. The monthly program brought in guest speakers to talk about different theological topics in an informal atmosphere. Other topics this year included a talk about the paranormal during Halloween, deal-

and administrators served breakfast every Thursday morning at the local homeless shelter. Over 150 students, faculty, staff and administrators served breakfast at Daybreak throughout the school year. MISSION TRIP: BOLIVIA Finally, as this magazine is reaching homes, seven students from the

On April Fool’s day, University Ministry hosted its first-ever “Franciscan Idol.” The event featured students and employees lip-syncing their favorite songs, including the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right” by the ministry staff, which “really brought down the house” according to Director Joe Wysocki. Continued Wysocki, “Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler [Vice President for Mission Integration] was a crowdpleaser. University Ministry hopes to repeat the event next fall, but no word yet on what song Sr. Imler will be performing.”

ing with stress in college and dating. The series, organized by Peer Minister Theresa Versetto, will continue next year under new leadership. BREAKFAST AT DAYBREAK University Ministry continued to lead groups of students and employees in serving breakfast at Daybreak this semester. For the second year the University Ministry department led by Peer Minister Corbin Orr, in conjunction with SGA, brought students each Friday during the school year to serve breakfast at Daybreak. Following the students’ lead this year, faculty, staff

University of St Francis will be arriving back from the Diocese of Joliet’s mission trip to Bolivia. The trip, now in its 18th year, brings college students to the city of Sucre to work in orphanages, daycares, hospitals and a facility for individuals with disabilities.

University Ministry team members, students and friends got into the spirit of “Franciscan Idol,” hosted on campus by University Ministry.

For more information about these and other faith initiatives, contact Director of University Ministry, Joe Wysocki, at or (815) 740-2274.

USF Students and Alums March for Life


his spring, USF theology instructor Dr. Dan Hauser was dropping off his daughter at the Diocese of Joliet’s Blanchette Catholic Center so she could participate in the diocesan trip to the 2014 “March for Life” in Washington, D.C. When he walked in, he was surprised to find a number of USF graduates present including Jeremy Hylka ‘00, Jason Novak ‘08, Melissa (Versetto) Novak ‘08 and Chris Traub ‘10. Hylka, a religion teacher at Joliet Catholic Academy, was there with a group of 65 students and adults from his school and his parish. “Being pro-life, to me, means doing everything we possibly can to be the voice for the voiceless,” he said. “We, as Catholics, have been called especially to bring the Gospel of Life to everyone we meet.” Also marching were USF ProLife Club students Ashley Alekna, Stephanie Castillo, Brandon Collofello, Frank Kalisik, Joselyn Mena, Corbin Orr, Kelly Stock, Theresa Versetto and Matt Wheeler. Said Collofello of the experience, “There were half a million people there—it was so inspirational. There were women holding signs that said ‘my mother was raped’ or ‘I regret my decision’ and I thought, wow­—how courageous and how brave.” Hauser, who was moved by USF’s involvement, said, “We often hear of the success of our students in other areas of life, but these people are special. They serve the Church and her mission to spread the Gospel and the culture of life. They work to build the faith of the young. [Which often requires mission trips to Missouri or Oklahoma and eating a lot of pizza, he kidded.] They are minimally paid, yet always joyful.”

University of St. Francis Magazine


USF Success

An interview with Lexi Southall ’13

How to Turn an Internship into a Job


ver the past year, USF’s Career Success Center has expanded its staff, services and campus office location. It is now fully staffed by a team with more than 30 years of comprehensive and diverse workforce development experience. This exciting expansion has allowed the office to become a “one-stop shop,” providing life-long access of career services including career counseling and advising, outreach and programming, career fairs and networking opportunities, online resources and on-campus recruitment activities. Students have the opportunity to utilize online databases, reserve one-on-one appointments for individualized career advice with staff members, and conduct career-related research. Access to a computer lab within the office provides direct services like online job databases with full time and internship positions posted exclusively for USF students and alumni, self-help tools including career assessments and mock interviews, in-person and online career advising, and integrated social networking web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

After USF’s recent Saints Recruiting Saints Career Fair, which involved 57 employers (including many alumni and their companies) and 156 job seekers and gave students the opportunity to network with employer and alumni representatives, it seemed fitting to talk with Lexi Southall ‘13, Regional Manager on The Productivity Team at Caterpillar in Joliet. Southall graduated from USF last December, and as a result of her Caterpillar internship, was able to secure full-time employment there, obtain a promotion, and is now in the position to hire other interns.


How did your USF experience prepare you for the workforce?

A At USF I was a member of Duns Scotus, Student Business Association, Delta Mu Delta, Delta Epsilon Sigma, and USF’s softball team. All of these activities and organizations allowed me to build relationships, work on communication and learn time management skills.


I secured several internships during my time at USF through networking and continuously updating/improving my resume and LinkedIn account.

Q Briefly describe your internship experience and how it lead to a full time position.

A Both of my internship

A My advice for current students

experiences while at USF were helpful in making connections and learning new things. A connection made in my first internship led to my second internship, and a connection at that internship led to a full-time position.

who have secured an internship is to show to your supervisor/manager through your actions that you are willing to show up early, stay late, eager to learn, committed, and one of the hardest working people they have ever met.

Q What has been your biggest

Q How does it feel to be in the

accomplishment and challenge?

position to recruit/hire other USF students as interns?

A My biggest accomplishment and challenge during my time at USF was handling 18 credit hours, a part-time job, and softball during my career while still managing to graduate early.

Q What strategies did you use to

Q What advice do you have

secure your internship?

for current students?

Our President at Work

A I am honored to be able to recruit interns out of USF. I am confident the students from USF have a well-rounded education, and I have experienced firsthand the family-like atmosphere the College of Business possesses, and the dedication the professors have in furthering their students.

One would think that President Arvid Johnson goes home and crashes into bed at night after his busy days on campus at USF. But in fact, Arvid has been working hard in his spare time to maintain his research interests in strategy and operations management. Since joining USF last June, he has published a pedagogical article entitled “No Ex-Queue-Ses: Understanding Queue Formation in the Graduate Operations Management Classroom” in the International Journal of Education Research and authored a chapter entitled “Do the Principles of Responsible Management Education Matter?: One School’s Perspective” in Fr. Oliver Williams’ book Sustainable Development: The UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN Global Compact, and the Common Good published by the University of Notre Dame Press.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

College of Arts & Sciences


University of St. Francis in Albuquerque:

Physician Assistant Program Class of 2015 Committed to Health Care and Community Service By student Emily Havener, President of the USF P.A. Program Student Society


he University of St. Francis Physician Assistant Program in Albuquerque, N.M. has a unique commitment to service. As future medical providers, we have a special interest in promoting and contributing to organizations that have a health care component. In addition, we understand the importance of being good role models for our patients and community. Although P.A. school is a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, we find it extremely important to take time to give back to the community. It is our view that being a P.A. comes with a sense of social responsibility. With this in mind, we were happy to serve our community and respectable organizations that promote health and wellness. The Class of 2015 was able to share our knowledge and directly benefit the community by assisting a local P.A. in performing free sports physicals for high school students. Each USF student was assigned to a high school student and was able to perform a full sports physical with supervision by a practicing P.A. It was an informative and fun experience, and we were excited put our newly learned physical exam skills to the test and provide an important service to the local community. We also learned that there is more to health care than examining and treating patients. The mission of USF’s program is to provide care for the underserved, so we targeted an important public health issue in our own community: hunger. Alongside the

Class of 2014, we held a successful food drive that contributed 850 items to the Roadrunner Food Bank, which has been serving the Albuquerque community since 1980. The food bank depends on volunteers for many of its operations, so the Class of 2015 also spent time on-site sorting and organizing donations. The Class of 2015 values fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, which we actively model in our community.

With this in mind, we raised money for and participated in several active events including The Susan G. Komen Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K, the UNM Fit for Fun 5K & Health Fair, the Ellen Reavis Race for Autism 5K, the Dirty Dash 5K for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and the Glow Run for Ronald McDonald House Charities. To pass on our commitment to community service, we collaborated with the Class of 2016 to collect

and donate teddy bears to the UNM Children’s Hospital Carrie Tingley Outpatient Clinic. This clinic serves children with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and cystic fibrosis. In total, we collected 125 bears and stuffed animals and delivered them to the clinic. They will certainly brighten the day of any child who requires frequent treatment for chronic disease.

University of St. Francis Magazine


College of Arts & Sciences


Social Work Students Embrace Experiential Learning BACHELORS OF SOCIAL WORK (BSW) STUDENTS BSW program students have been extremely busy! This spring, nine students were inducted into Phi Alpha National Honor Society. An additional 10 students traveled to Louisville, Kentucky in order to attend the Baccalaureate Program Directors annual conference, which gave students a unique, hands-on opportunity to network with students and faculty from across the country and to become fully integrated into the professional realm of social work.

A PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD The Social Work Club’s “A Place to Lay Your Head” candlelight bowling charity event in late March was more

New members of USF’s Phi Alpha National Chapter Honor Society for social work students pose after their induction ceremony. than a fundraising event to raise awareness for the homeless families at Joliet West High School (JWHS), indicated club member Christine Nicholson. “The event highlighted the deepest fear in people who live paycheck to paycheck, people who have jobs and families that do not earn enough money, and people who have a sudden, chronic or terminal illness—all factors that could render a family homeless,” she said.


Bee-lieve It or Not

The event started as a group project assigned by USF Professor Dr. Allison Tan to Katherine Rick, Daniel Tanjic, Diego Herrera and Gina Young, who decided to focus on homeless teens and families. The students along with countless volunteers and sponsors helped to organize the bowling event, which yielded over $4,800 to set up a fund to pay for hotel vouchers for homeless families.


SPRINGFIELD ADVOCACY DAY Thirty-one students participated in a day trip to Springfield in Illinois to visit the capital on Advocacy Day. The event allowed students to network with social workers from across the state and meet with their legislator regarding important social justice issues.

The USF Sustainability Committee met regularly all year, discussing important topics related to sustainability efforts on campus such as saving energy and water, and starting a recycling center. But their latest idea has the whole campus abuzz: BEES are coming to USF! Will County beekeepers will be maintaining two hives at the north side of the Quad near the maintenance buildings. They will keep any honey produced, but USF will be able to use the hives for education and research. The hives will be out of the way of commonly traveled areas, but will be accessible to biology students and other classes.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

Political Science major David Saavedra spent the semester in Rome, interning as a political strategist with the marketing firm ALO & Partners. • Pre-law major Justin Krolik has started a new club, “Turning Point USA,” which is a university-wide forum for discussing topical world and national events beyond the classroom. This spring, the club hosted a “Conversation Hour” to discuss the political turmoil in Ukraine and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. • Political Science and Pre-Law student Tevin Hopkins received an internship with the State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago, to begin this summer. • History major Ulises Ornelas has been awarded a paid, ten-week summer internship sponsored by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) in Washington D.C. As part of HACU’s national internship program, selected students from across the country serve internships at federal agencies in the Washington area.






Student Engagement Through Experiential Learning

Ulises Ornelas

For more information about the College of Arts & Sciences, call (800) 735-7500 or visit

Gabe Jaskowiak (aka: Gabriel Reid)

USF Student Achieves a Musician’s Dream


oming from a family of musicians, it’s no wonder University of St. Francis student Gabe Jaskowiak is pursuing music in college.

re-wrote tracks until I had enough material for an album.” Jaskowiak, who describes his music as acoustic and indie rock with a Dave Matthews Band feel, worked

expertise, which was really valuable.” Jaskowiak enjoys producing music, but he enjoys performing it more. While he plays local gigs such as coffee shops and bars, he hopes he

Jaskowiak is a junior in the Digital Audio Recording Arts (DARA) program. He recently accomplished something many musicians only dream of — he released his debut album, In the Morning, which he independently wrote, recorded, produced, and mixed in the DARA recording studio. “The album was a labor of love that I started while I was still in high school,” said Jaskowiak, who goes by the stage name of Gabriel Reid. “During the last few years, I wrote and

with Chicago-area musicians to produce his album, including singersongwriter Natalie Ivnik on vocals, drummer/keyboardist/composer Larry Ortega on drums, and internationally renowned harmonica player Joe Filisko. “The professional recording studio that USF makes available to students in the DARA program made it easy to produce this album,” said Jaskowiak. “It’s accessible and well-equipped, and in addition, the recording faculty provided their

will be able to perform for a living. “Learning the music productionside of things has made me a better songwriter and live performer because I look at things from a different perspective,” he said. “I have enjoyed my six semesters at USF, and have been exposed to a great community of musicians. I can’t wait to see where my final year at USF will lead me.” Jaskowiak’s album is available on iTunes, CD Baby, and It can also be downloaded from his web site,

Art & Design Showcases Student Work at Gallery and Through Digital Magazine To showcase the work of students, “The COMP Magazine” was developed in Professor Michael “Chester” Costello’s Seminar and Portfolio Development courses. The COMP is a student-run, digital art and design magazine created by USF students. The digital magazine was designed to connect the USF community with the work of students, alumni, faculty and staff, with contributions being accepted from all students with an interest in art and design. Submissions may cover cultural, dance, literary, music, theater, and visual art interests. The COMP’s primary architect was Egzon Shaqiri and the site will be run by student Emily Johnson next year. To check it out, visit In other Art & Design news, USF celebrated the work of artistic graduates with a Senior Thesis show at USF’s Rialto City Center Gallery, located on 25 E. Van Buren St. in downtown Joliet. The seniors’ work was on display from late April through May 23. The exhibition featured work by the following artists: Jeffrey Brown, Amanda Cichoracki, Jessica Cuevas, Evan Griffin, Peter Hernandez, Carlos Mendoza, Jesus Reyes and Egzon Shaqiri.

Art & Design

University of St. Francis Magazine


College of Business & Health Administration


COBHA Clubs Give Students Experiential Learning Opportunities in Business


Financial Research and Education through Experience (FREE), moderated by faculty advisor Frank Wyrostek, is dedicated to providing USF students and the community learning opportunities about personal financial matters

affairs; and experimenting with simulations like the stock market game or cash flow games, to compete within the club and eventually with other universities, and to test their knowledge and grow in their understanding of money affairs.

supplement classroom experiences. Workshops, seminars, lectures, panel discussions and service programs are just a few of the activities offered. SBA also organizes field trips, speakers and events, such as a March bowling event that raised $1,800 for charity

through research and experiential learning activities. The group’s core guiding principles are placing education at the center of all activities, benefitting from the diversity of members by working as a team to achieve goals and committing themselves to a results-oriented culture. Members of FREE add to what they learn in the classroom by becoming involved in engaging, interactive field visits with alumni and other professionals in business to learn more about money matters; becoming involved in outreach to local high schools to help spread the word about how to best manage money

The Acceleration Club for Entrepreneurs (ACE), moderated by faculty advisor Steve Morrissette, helps members create businesses of their own by fostering collaboration in the creation of business and marketing plans, budgets and more. The club has invited professionals such as R.J.A. D’Orazio, CEO of D’Orazio Capital Management, Inc., to campus to inspire and motivate budding entrepreneurs. The Student Business Association (SBA), moderated by faculty advisor Rich Vaughan, provides learning opportunities and awareness of the business world that

(co-sponsored by SBA, FREE and Rich Vaughan’s class). Computer Club/IEEE, moderated by faculty advisor Ruth Weldon, provides additional opportunities for students to present their work and experiences from internships. Speakers from various industries also talk about topics of interest to our Computer Science students. By the way, IEEE (say I–triple E) stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and it is a highly regarded organization in the industry, setting standards for such computer components as wired and wireless network access.

Staying On Course: SBA Networks at Golf Outing The Student Business Association (SBA) golf network set an attendance record of 28 participants at its late-April golf outing at Inwood golf course in Joliet. Attendees included outstanding alums Mark Ahern ’11, John Goolsby ‘08, Kaylee Shell ‘11, Kyla Smith ’11, Dan Younker ‘07, Dave Younker ’05 and more, joining current and future SBA officers and members.

USF Attends NAFTANEXT Summit in Chicago Several COBHA students and

A group of COBHA students was recently inducted into the Delta Mu Delta national honor society. The Delta Kappa Chapter at USF recognizes outstanding achievement in business administration. Pictured left to right are: Dr. Bruce Hartman, Michael Blaszczyk, Max Lyday, Anne-Christine Tompkins, Mario Pistilli, Katie Thayer, Hermann Schneider, Ashley Howard, Kenneth Mason, Crystal Patino, Skyler Ficht and Haley Ambrosch.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

faculty members attended the NAFTANEXT Summit in Chicago through its Academic Partnership Program, providing students with a fantastic opportunity to network with professionals in the logistics industry. The summit “gathered together industry and government leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities created by increased trade as well as our freight mobility, energy and sustainability future as a trading continent” according to the NAFTANEXT website.

For more information about the College of Business & Health Administration, call (800) 735-7500 or visit


with McDonald’s Global HR Manager and COBHA Grad: Laura Ellis ’07

Q: Why did you choose USF for your post-secondary degree? A: I chose USF for a few reasons – they offered a recognized M.S. in Training & Development program. It was local (I was living in Plainfield, Ill. at the time) and it offered many of the classes online. Being a professional in the corporate learning and development space, I was starting to see more and more companies adopt distance learning practices. Before I could begin developing and recommending these solutions to my professional peers, I wanted to experience distance learning more myself but also wanted the comfort of that traditional university experience nearby should I need to go to campus for any reason. I earned my Master’s degree in Training & Development and graduated in 2007.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of USF? A: I liked having the balance of a very autonomous learning experience and an intimate small campus setting. I liked being able to engage with my fellow classmates across the United States but also enjoyed being able to drive to the campus and feel connected to my second college experience.

Q: What, specifically, about your graduate education prepared you for your career? A: My graduate experience at USF enhanced my career by giving me the opportunity to increase my knowledge in Training and Development while expanding my network of colleagues around the country. Keeping a system of like-minded people in your field is very important as you grow within your career. You never know who you will connect with in the future or who might know someone that you know. Having skill and knowledge is absolutely important to your career but there is a lot of truth to the statement “It’s who you know, not always what you know.”

Q: Is there a certain faculty member who was a mentor to you? A: Bonnie Covelli, School of Professional Studies Director. I did my final project work with her on campus and she is certainly an example of someone I have kept in my network. We don’t talk often but we’ve maintained a connection throughout the years in our professional lives.

Q: What is your current job position? What are some of your responsibilities? A: My current title is Global HR Manager for McDonald’s Corporation in Oak Brook, Ill. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I really feel like my current job is THE job I have worked so hard for over the course of my 15-year career! I am responsible for the Human Resources learning and development curriculum for McDonald’s on a global level. I determine the learning and development needs of our current and future HR professionals in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, then work to design and facilitate these learning and development solutions. Laura and her husband, Bryan, live in Lockport, Ill. with their two sons, Jude and Evan. The Ellis family loves to travel and be outdoors. They are looking forward to a trip to the Bahamas later this summer.

Where Are COBHA Grads Headed? Samantha Bond accepted a position as a customer service representative at Damco. She connected with this global logistics company at COBHA’s “CareerFest.” Julia Borel-Donohue accepted a position with Deloitte as a full time Auditor. She connected with Deloitte through COBHA’s fall ISCPA Interview Day. Katrina Dudzinska accepted a position with Mahoney Environment as a HR Assistant. This offer was extended as a result of her internship with them. Jake Duffy accepted a position as Trust Administrator at BNY Mellon. Kyle Schomer accepted a position as a Commercial Portfolio Analyst with Ally Financial. Keith Schomig accepted a position with Legacy LLP in Chicago as a HR Coordinator/ Recruiting. He connected with Legacy at CareerFest. Jonathan Sobkowiak accepted a position with Travelers Insurance as a Claims Representative. He connected with his company at CareerFest. Janet Speckman accepted a position with Novo Surgical, Inc. in Naperville as an Operations, Quality & Procurement Manager. Andrea Villar was accepted into the Management Training program at Menards.

Dean Clott appointed to IDOT Advisory Council COBHA Dean Christopher Clott has been appointed to the IDOT Illinois State Freight Advisory Council to help the State develop a strong freight strategy, ensuring Illinois’ continued prominence as a freight hub for the Midwest and the nation. According to an IDOT press release, “...41 members with extensive experience and expertise in the multimodal movement of freight have been chosen to serve on the new Illinois State Freight Advisory Council. The council, representing both the private and public sectors across the various modes of transportation, will advise IDOT on the best policies and practices for improving freight transportation statewide.”

University of St. Francis Magazine


College of Education

COE COE Doctoral Program News Karen Steindorf, principal of Northwest Elementary School in the LaSalle School District, has been named the recipient of a $2,500 grant from the James and Dorothy Moon Scholarship. Karen had the highest score of all applicants with 29/30 in all categories. Karen’s dissertation topic is “An Examination of How Educators Can Identify and Collaborate to Remove Barriers to Change in Order to Better Support the Implementation of the PERA Evaluation Mandate.”

Audrey Everts, left, works with students at a JPDSP partner school, Farragut Elementary.

Joliet Professional Development School Partnership



he Joliet Professional Development School Partnership (JPDSP) is a dynamic and evolving commitment between COE and four Joliet District 86 schools—A.O. Marshall Elementary, Farragut Elementary, Isaac Singleton Elementary and

in their respective school communities by participating in events that enhance their understanding of their students, and working to create connections with faculty and staff members at their school. These professional relationships are often the first step to employment at the

their teacher candidates to apply their content knowledge of best teaching practice with students in the schools. “Math Boxes,” “Science on the Go” and “Cultural Treasure Boxes,” which all involve focused lesson planning and delivery, are just a few of the ongoing activities

Dirksen Junior High. The partnership supports initiatives that improve both K-8 students’ and USF pre-service teachers’ learning experiences. JPDSP events include opportunities for pre-service teachers to plan and deliver curriculum-aligned lessons at the school and for students from that school to visit the USF campus for similar learning opportunities with exposure to the college experience. Candidates who apply and are accepted to complete their field experiences at a partner school are considered to be “JDPSP Fellows.” They are afforded a rich opportunity to become more firmly embedded

school or in the district. Said Audrey Everts, a field experience teacher candidate in the program, “The partnership between USF and Farragut Elementary has taught me how important it is to understand who your students are, especially with the variety of learners, cultures, and social classes that attend the school. I feel as though the partnership has made me a more effective, engaging teacher as I have gone through my field experiences.” COE faculty members are also involved with the JPDSP schools. Elementary methods instructors, in particular, develop syllabi that allow

that the faculty at USF and District 86 partner schools have come to rely on to benefit their students’ learning. “The USF community plans in such detail to ensure all children are engaged and celebrated by inspiring their minds and spirits,” stated Amberley Maierhofer, second grade teacher at Farragut Elementary, of the partnership. “The ideas and projects presented by the educational community at USF constantly display authentic opportunities to bridge student success and understanding.”

A Year of Service • 2013-2014

Michael Merrit was recently named principal of Brentwood Elementary School in Community Consolidated School District 59, serving Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village and Mount Prospect. Mike has served as assistant principal of Aux Sable Middle School in Plainfield and principal of Stevenson Intermediate School in Wilmington. He recently served as director of the Three Rivers Region of the Illinois Principals Association. His dissertation topic is “The Other Side of the Grading Scale: Implementation of a 60-Point Grading Scale with the Purpose of More Closely Indicating Standardized Assessment Results.” Pete Sullivan was recently named superintendent of the Lockport Elementary School District 92. Pete has served as assistant superintendent for the Lockport Township High School District 205 and principal of the Lisle High School District. During his career, he also served as an assistant principal, a dean of students and a teacher. Pete’s dissertation topic is “Identifying Variables Leading to Membership in the Illinois Principals Association.”

For more information about the College of Education, call (800) 735-7500 or visit

Social, Service and Professional Development Through Education Alumni Network


he College of Education Alumni Network (EAN) has been doing a little bit of everything lately: service projects, social gatherings and professional development opportunities. With service always being at the forefront of what EAN does, residents of Sunny Hill Nursing Home in Joliet were treated to a Valentine’s Day Party in February. Both alums and COE members were present to visit and play bingo with the residents as well as to deliver Valentines, handmade by area children from church/ school groups including Cathedral of St. Raymond and First Presbyterian Church of Joliet. As spring approached, EAN was eager to have a little social time, so an informal gathering was held at the end of a March work day at Jameson’s Pub. EAN has two business meetings per year, and the spring meeting was led by EAN outgoing president Eric Schmitt and president-elect Suzanne Kerfin. Afterwards, COE Alumna of the Year for 2013, Rita

EAN member and College of Education’s 2013 Alumna of the Year, Rita Guzman, gives a high five to another “Rita”—a Sunny Hill resident who enjoyed the Valentine’s Party thrown by EAN. Guzman, presented on the topic of “Developing Language Targets Using the Common Core.” In addition to EAN members, current COE students preparing to graduate were also invited to attend this engaging and highly topical presentation.

EAN’s leadership team and some members of the College of Ed plan to meet this summer to make plans for the upcoming academic year, to discuss ways to continue to grow membership to this vibrant and worthwhile alumni group.

USF Alums Recognized as Great Area Teachers More than a third of the 20 teachers recognized at the 2014 Joliet Area Great Teachers Banquet, hosted by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, are graduates of USF’s College of Education. USF alums recognized at the banquet were Therese Dobry ’05 from Troy Hofer (M.Ed. in Elementary Education), Elizabeth Duesing ’04 from Troy Craughwell (M.S. in Teaching and Learning; Differentiated Instruction), Scott Larson ’01 from Troy William B. Orenic School (M.Ed. in Elementary Education), Amberley (Callahan) Maierhofer ’06 from Farragut Elementary (B.A. in Elementary Education), Peter Nackovic ’09 from Joliet West (B.A. in Secondary Education – Social Studies), Aimee Schertz ’10 from Cathedral of St. Raymond (B.A. in Elementary Education), and Myra Timms ‘12 from Cunningham School (M.S. in Teaching and Learning; Special Education).

Amberley Maierhofer

Assessment to Improve Learning The edTPA, administered as a pilot study last year, is a performance-based assessment that provides direct evidence of a teacher candidate’s ability to plan standards-based instruction, adapt plans for students based on their specific needs, implement and assess evidence-based instruction, develop academic language, evaluate student learning and work to improve student outcomes. It assesses teacher candidates’ effect on student learning by requiring them to document student learning and reflect on the effectiveness and adaptability of strategies for diverse learners. Additional instructional modules and content have been added into pre-requisite courses, and the program continues to align its curriculum and field experiences with the edTPA structure and concepts. In particular, at USF, the Elementary Education program has developed a field-based project in which candidates conduct an adapted version of the edTPA during their Intermediate Field Experience Block.

COE’s Online Teaching & Learning Program Ranked Best Among Illinois Private Schools In its recently-released “Best Online Programs” listing, the COE’s Teaching & Learning program was recognized as the best among Illinois private schools. A highlight included USF being ranked fifth nationally (of 195 schools) in the “Student Engagement Category,” which includes criteria such as national accreditation, best practices, graduation and retention rates and class size.

University of St. Francis Magazine


Leach College of Nursing


Nursing Student Goes To “New Heights” for Loved One Affected by Lung Disease


hy would someone who’s deathly afraid of heights rappel 27 stories down the side of a Chicago hotel? Amanda Buechel will tell you... it’s for a good cause. Beuchel, of Joliet, participated in Skyline Plunge! Chicago in May. Hosted by Respiratory Health Association, Skyline Plunge! Chicago is the city’s only urban rappel adven-

ture. More than 80 people rappelled down the Wit Hotel to raise awareness and funds for local lung disease research and programs. They’re also doing it for the thrill of a lifetime. Thrilling heights aren’t typically what Amanda seeks, but she signed up for Skyline Plunge! Chicago in honor of her paternal grandmother, Andrea, who has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

COPD is a lung disease commonly associated with emphysema or chronic bronchitis or a combination of both. “My grandmother is already so proud of me for facing my fears in her name,” Amanda said. “She’s always described her young self as a ‘spitfire,’ and now I guess I’m following in her footsteps.” Amanda said her grandmother has struggled with COPD for as long as she can remember, but she’s seen it get worse in recent years. Andrea has taken her grandchildren on special birthday outings since they were kids. Last year on Amanda’s 21st birthday, Andrea took her to Las Vegas. Spending several days together made it evident just how much COPD affects Andrea’s dayto-day life. “We could hardly walk around the Vegas strip because it was so hard for her to catch her breath,” Amanda said. Amanda rappeled for her grandmother, but also to help put a stop

to others experiencing what her family did. As an LCON student, Amanda knows how important it is to educate the public about preventable diseases — something that’s at the core of Respiratory Health Association’s mission. “I’ve gotten donations from people I hardly know because they tell me they’ve been affected by lung cancer, asthma, COPD or another lung disease,” Amanda said. “I want to support an association that brings these topics to light because I’m very passionate about preventing chronic diseases.” In other news, Beuchel was awarded a $2,500 Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing Future Scholarship by a committee composed of faculty and students appointed by the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association. She was honored during NSNA’s 62nd Annual Convention Opening Session and Awards Ceremony in April in Nashville, Tenn.

Left: Amanda Buechel gets ready to “take the plunge” during her fundraising rappel. Above: Amanda with her grandmother, Andrea, who has COPD.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

For more information about the Leach College of Nursing, call (800) 735-7500 or visit

Dr. Prince Named Associate Dean of Nursing LCON is delighted to announce that Dr. Lola Prince has agreed to assume the duties of Associate Dean of Graduate Nursing Programs, effective May 1. Dr. Kay Ferrario has been mentoring Dr. Prince as her replacement throughout the spring semester. Ferrario will continue as a full-time professor in nursing.

LCON Highlights ALUMNA NURSE SHOWS “GEM-LIKE” QUALITIES Cecilia Pezdek ’96 was noted in magazine as a finalist for the 2014 Nursing Excellence GEM awards. Pezdek is an R.N. at Advocate Hospital. DR. DEENA NARDI PUBLISHED THROUGH TASK FORCE WORK The combined taskforce of the Expert Panel on Global Health and Nursing and the Transcultural Nursing Society’s “Guidelines for implementing culturally competent nursing care” has just been published in the Journal of Transcultural Nursing., 25 (109), 109121. DOI: 10.1177/1043659614520998. As a member of the combined task force, Dr. Deena Nardi worked on this project for seven years. This is the first time that the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has endorsed guidelines for culturally competent nursing care for international use.

STUDENT NURSING ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES Michelle Siears, president; Kaylene Hackman, secretary and Amy Powell, publications officer, along with Kate Weigel, faculty advisor, attended the Student Nurses Association of Illinois (SNAI) Leadership Conference in March at Loyola University Chicago. Hackman will also be representing USF’s student nursing association as a member of the Board of Directors of SNAI. In addition, Weigel and Siears along with Amanda Buechel, vice president; John Kasper, SGA representative and Michael Susner, bylaws officer, attended the National Student Nurses Association 62nd Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn. in April. In their spare time, the members of the SNA Board of Directors like to give back by doing service, including serving breakfast at Daybreak Shelter in Joliet. (See photo below. )

LCON Throwback Cheryl Brubaker, a faculty member in Albuquerque’s Family Nurse Practitioner program, is celebrating Albuquerque’s ten-year anniversary! Brubaker was a member of the first graduating class at that campus in 2004, and is now teaching in the program. Brubaker (far right) is pictured with her few classmates on graduation day in 2004, and even dug up her old student ID for kicks.

From left to right: SNA members Amanda Buechel, Amy Powell, Kaylene Hackman, Kelley Peterson and John Kasper served together at Joliet’s Daybreak Shelter this past spring.

University of St. Francis Magazine


The Fighting Saints


Jake Butler Selected by the Detroit Tigers in the Major League Draft!


ed by Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, senior Jake Butler, and co-Player of the Year, senior center fielder David Kuhne, the Saints captured the CCAC regular-season baseball championship and earned their fourth trip to the NAIA Opening Round in the past five years. St. Francis got off to a slow start, losing 12 of its first 19 games. The Saints then won their first five conference contests and went on to post a 22-5 mark in CCAC regular-season play to share first-place with Judson and gain the league’s automatic NAIA postseason berth by virtue of the conference’s tie-breaking procedures. Traveling to suburban Atlanta for the NAIA Opening Round, the Saints edged Westmont 2-1


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

in their first game, before upsetting No. 6-ranked Georgia Gwinnett 3-2. A 7-0 loss to Southeastern and an 11-8 setback against Georgia Gwinnett eliminated the Saints from the tournament. A 29th-round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers, Butler posted a 10-2 record with a 2.02 earned run average before being tabbed CCAC Pitcher of the Year. He finished his career atop the USF career victories (33) and strikeouts (325) charts. Kuhne, who shared the CCAC Player of the Year award with Judson’s Josh Raymond, batted .409 and led USF in 10 offensive categories. Head coach Brian Michalak, who completed his third season at the helm of the Saints’ baseball program with a record of 109-63, was recognized by his peers as the CCAC Coach of the Year.


All-Saints Honors Gonnering All-American & Academic All-American



or the second straight year, junior women’s basketball player Katie Gonnering earned both All-America and Academic All-America accolades in recognition of her work on the court and in the classroom. Following a season in which she ranked among the NAIA statistical leaders in offensive rebounding (3rd, 4.7), scoring (7th, 20.9), field goal percentage (11th, .553) and total rebounding (14th, 10.1), Gonnering was selected to the NAIA All-America Second Team and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association honorable mention list. She had previously been voted to the All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team as the league’s second-leading scorer and third-most prolific rebounder. A nursing major carrying a 3.90 grade point average, she became one of only three players in the NAIA this year to earn selection to both the WBCA All-America and Capital One Academic All-America teams.

Kuhne Named Academic All-American


or the second time in as many years, senior center fielder David Kuhne was named to the Capital One Academic All-America College Division Baseball Team. Kuhne, who was a second-team Academic All-America pick a year ago, garnered first-team accolades following a 2014 campaign in which he earned All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team and CCAC Gold Glove recognition. In 56 games, the center fielder batted .409 with three home runs and 29 RBIs. In addition to leading the Saints in batting, he topped the club in on-base percentage (.512), slugging (.586), runs (59), doubles (20), stolen bases (19) and hit-by-pitch (.23). A finance major with a 3.80 cumulative grade point average, Kuhne helped lead St. Francis (38-22) to the CCAC regular-season championship and a berth in the NAIA Opening Round.

Saints Gain Academic Accolades


t. Francis produced 55 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and 105 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic selections in 2013-14. The NAIA Scholar-Athlete program recognizes excellence in the classroom by studentathletes who are juniors or above in academic standing with a 3.50 or higher cumulative grade point average. Students must have attended their current institution for two full years as a non-transfer or one full year as a transfer. To be nominated for Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic Teams, student-athletes must have been enrolled at their respective CCAC schools for a minimum of one academic year, have completed at least 30 semester hours and carry a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25.

University of St. Francis Magazine


The Fighting Saints

USF Nets Nine Track & Field All-Americans


ix Saints combined to earn nine All-America certificates at the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. On the men’s side, senior Dylan Reyes turned in a pair of national runner-up performances, placing second in both the indoor 5,000-

Blaszczyk as an indoor and outdoor All-American. After finishing fifth in the shot put at the NAIA indoor championships, she improved to third place at the national outdoor meet. Junior LaChrissa Safforld joined Rimington on the indoor shot put awards stand with a seventh-place showing, while sophomore Brooke

meter run and outdoor 10,000-meter run. Fellow senior distance runner Mike Blaszczyk claimed All-America honors in both events as well, placing eighth in the indoor 5K and sixth in the outdoor 10K. Senior Chelsea Rimington joined her male counterparts Reyes and

Johnson claimed All-America recognition with an eighth-place finish in the mile run. On the final day of the outdoor championships, sophomore Daryll Rodriguez posted a seventhplace performance in the 400-meter hurdles.

Clockwise from Top: Mike Blaszczyk and Dylan Reyes compete in the NAIA Indoor Championship and Chelsea Rimington tosses the shot at an outdoor event.

Pat Sullivan

“ATTITUDE”: USF Coach Discusses His Book on Leadership


ocal sports celebrity and longtime Saints basketball coach Pat Sullivan recently discussed his newly published book, “Attitude – The Cornerstone of Leadership,” at USF. The event, sponsored by the USF Alumni Association, was well attended by current and former athletes, students, employees and friends. Sullivan, who has taught and coached thousands of students, presents his work as a “Practical Guide for Leaders.” He asserts that “being


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

a leader is all about attitude” and expounds on the acronym ATTITUDE, with “A” for attitude itself, followed by teamwork, toughness, intelligence, thank you, you (“U”), determination and effort. He believes these things are all you need in order to lead people— not by words, but by the inspiring way in which you conduct yourself and “show up” every day ready to listen, learn and grow. Sullivan was named Coach of the Year at the conference and state levels on 12 occasions and Coach of the Tournament in the National Catholic Basketball Tournament in 1986. The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he also received the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Buzzy O’Connor Award for lifetime contributions to Illinois basketball.

President Arvid Johnson with Scott Pekol ‘99

Pat Sullivan Golf Outing The 2014 Pat Sullivan Golf Outing, which supports the University of St. Francis Athletic Department, was a success thanks to 143 golfers who participated in the June 6 event. The outing at Inwood Golf Course, managed by Brian Legan ‘01, raised more than $45,000 for USF’s athletic endeavors. Major gifts from Bill ’82 and Trish (Banks ’83) Bellah of Compass Chemical International LLC and Mike Ruth ’82 and Tim Ruth ’81 of Northern Illinois Steel Supply Co. plus support from other donors and golfers will enable USF to expand the fitness center and complete a branding initiative for both on- and off-campus athletic facilities.

Staying Connected: Alumni News

Diane Nilan ‘73

Traveler Provides a Voice to Help Homeless Children


his week you might spot her at her home base in Lisle, Ill., but next week, Diane Nilan might be hundreds of miles away in Pennsylvania. The following week, she might pop up somewhere on the Gulf Coast. This University of St. Francis graduate has been traveling the country since 2005 in her RV, logging hundreds of thousands of miles, but her travel has purpose: to give voice and visibility to homeless children. “After spending my entire career helping the homeless, I decided in 2005 to take it to a different level,” said Nilan. Her career included establishing the PADS shelter in Joliet, Ill., serving as director of the PADS program in Aurora, Ill., as well as being an advocate for laws so homeless children could attend school. She recognized homelessness, especially among children, was an issue that commanded more attention. In July 2005, she founded Hear Us, a non-profit organization to give voice and visibility to homeless children. Several months later, she sold her house, car, and most of her possessions and purchased an RV, which would become her home and

the headquarters of Hear Us. “Never did I imagine that I would live in an RV,” said Nilan. “It is an effective mode of transportation that allows me to explore the back roads of America and tell the stories of the homeless children. Sadly, there are so many stories to tell.” Courtesy of Nilan’s graphic artist friend, her RV is covered with pictures of homeless children. While Nilan admits it can be uncomfortable to look at the RV, she knows the images send an important message and help to raise awareness. Nilan’s RV only tells part of the story. Through her travels, she has produced several documentaries to call attention and to tell the stories of families with children who do not have a home. Hearing the heart-wrenching stories never get any easier.

“There are so many children who are homeless, and families and children have trusted me to tell their stories,” said Nilan. “There are millions of babies, kids, teens, adults living on the streets.” Nilan credits USF for the quality education she earned, but admits she didn’t know she was getting that quality, while she was getting it. It was when she took risks in helping others, that she realized the strength of her education. “USF polished that part of my being,” said Nilan. “The professors encourage thinking and analysis and how to challenges the powers as be. That is what I have been doing ever since I graduated.” For more information about Nilan’s journey, visit her website, or follow her journey on Facebook.

A LU M N I A S S O C I AT I O N B O A R D O F D I R E C TO R S President Karen Ciarlette ‘94, ‘97 President-Elect Shawn Walsh ‘00 Vice President for Alumni Outreach Caryn Jakielski ‘03, ‘06 Vice President for Programs Caroline Portlock ‘02, ‘04 Vice President for Student Services Judy Bulat ‘72 Secretary Wihelmine Vidmar ‘68 Representative of the Sisters of St. Francis Sr. Lois Prebil, OSF ‘61 Administrators from USF’s Alumni & Parent Relations Office Aubrey Knight ‘04, ‘07 Donna Eakle ‘09, ‘13 GENERAL BOARD MEMBERS Luise Baldin ‘58 Matt Bisek ‘10 Patricia Bracken ‘73, ‘86, ‘94 Janet Corcoran ‘82, ‘09 Elmer Eddy ‘80 Jacqueline Edmonson ‘63, ‘88, ‘94 Laura Eggert ‘09, ‘13 Joseph Ferrallo ‘85, ‘06, ‘07 Vita Gambino ‘97 H. Richard Hagen, J.D., ‘90 Linda Kilroy ‘72 Eric Lawhead ‘07 Lynley Louzensky ‘10 Frances Naal Sczepaniak ‘58 Janet Novotny ‘67 L. Scott Pekol ‘99 Candice Quinerly ‘10 Alan Randolph ‘07 Corey Richardson ‘09 Susan Rogina ‘94, ‘99 S TAY I N TO U C H Send news and class notes to or call (877) 811-ALUM.

Diane Nilan, founder of Hear Us, travels the country producing documentaries to draw attention to the plight of homeless children around the nation.

To read about what other alumni and old friends have been doing, visit success-stories

University of St. Francis Magazine


Staying Connected: Alumni News

Roniece Weaver ‘89

Making a Healthy Practice of Nutrition Alumna Roniece Weaver recognized a need in central Florida and decided to do something about it. Weaver, who earned her M.S. in Health Administration from USF by going to school at night while balancing her responsibilities as a mom of young children, got together with two other registered dieticians and formed the nutrition practice, Hebni Nutrition Consultants (HNC). The mission of HNC is to educate high-risk, culturally diverse populations about nutrition strategies to prevent dietrelated diseases. In their early beginnings, Weaver and her partners developed intervention programs and educational tools such as the “Soul Food Pyramid” and “Sisters: Take Charge of Your Health”, which addressed those who are at high risk for poor health outcomes. “To raise awareness, we started off by attending health fairs, but realized if we were going to move the needle, we needed to do something more,” said Weaver. In 2006, Weaver and her partners bought a building in an at-risk community, gutted it, and remodeled it to establish HNC’s headquarters as well as a state-of-the-art cooking school. Weaver and her partners realized no matter how strong their educational materials and how popular their cooking classes were, a challenge for many families was how to get fresh food. “There are so many food deserts in central Florida, where access to fresh food isn’t available,” said Weaver. “We decided to do something about one area by adopting a small grocery store and giving it a face lift.” With the cooperation of the owner, HNC cleaned up the store by putting fresh items at the front and the unhealthy, convenience foods


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

in the back. Thanks to a donation from Orlando City Soccer, the store was retrofitted with new freezers and refrigerators so more fresh items would be available. Weaver said the community noticed the changes in their local store.

“There are so many food deserts in central Florida, where access to fresh food isn’t available,” said Weaver. “We decided to do something about one area by adopting a small grocery store and giving it a face lift.” “During a community education session, one of the neighbors mentioned the positive changes at the store,” she said. “After I told them I had a hand in it, they let me how much they appreciated me following through on my word to help their community. Their acknowledgment is so rewarding.” Weaver is in the process of creating a mobile farmers market with a donated bus to bring fresh food to the communities where there is a food dessert. The mobile farmers market will include fresh fruits and veggies as well as a juice bar where people can make their own smoothies by powering a bike, game show-like contests to educate people about food and nutrition, and so much more. “I am so excited about this project, and it is happening because of everyone coming together. We

Weaver, together with two other registered dieticians, formed Hebni Nutrition Consultants (HNC), which educates diverse populations about nutrition strategies to prevent diet related diseases. HNC also helps to bring fresh and healthy foods to under-served communities.

have the support of the mayor, his constituents, and the local hospital,” said Weaver. Weaver cites her USF education as key in being successful. “I remember one of the fundamentals of my statistics class to use data to change behavior,” said Weaver. “I’ve applied that principle when I needed to put on my lobbying hat to get everyone together for this exciting new project that will help fulfill a need.” In addition to her successes at HNC, she is a consulting dietician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture,

the author of many cookbooks for the American Diabetes Association, and she working on the first cookbook for the American Cancer Society for African-Americans. She is also the co-hosts of popular cooking show in Florida. “I am blessed, and I didn’t know that I had a drive in me to accomplish all I have, and I am not done yet,” said Weaver. “I believe you need to give back to be successful, and you will get repaid 10,000 times over for your generosity.”

Brendan and Jessica Walsh ‘05

Making Waves

Videographers Fight for the Great Lakes


lumni videographers Brendan ‘05 and Jessica (Saraga ‘05) Walsh met as high school students in Plainfield, Ill. They both chose to attend USF and became Mass Communication majors, learning all the tricks of their trade in USF’s program. After graduating, they decided to stick together for the long haul. They not only got married, but also started a company together: Great Lakes Media. The Walshes have been giving back to USF by producing promo videos for years, bringing the “Saints experience” to life on-screen. Now, they’re working on an important project of their own. The Walshes have been working on a documentary titled “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes.”

The piece, which explores the effects of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and the efforts under way to control and prevent them, is being narrated and co-produced by legendary newsman and environmentalist Bill Kurtis along with writing, direction and production work by the Walshes. In an effort to gain votes for a grant they were trying to obtain, Brendan and Jessica shared some of their story with the USF community. They decided on the topic of invasive species in Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes “not only because of the fact that invasives cost billions of dollars a year to control, or that they’ve completely reshaped the ecosystem of the Lakes from top to bottom, but because we feel that it is an area

where, once educated on the topic, one person could actually make a real difference,” they wrote. “We want to do our part in the fight against invasive species by educating the public about one of the biggest problems currently facing the Great Lakes and informing them about what they can do to both stop invasives from spreading and to stop new invasive species from getting in.” They found out in early April that they were named one of the winners of BoatUS Foundation’s Grassroots Grants, finishing in the top three and receiving funding to continue making their documentary. Discover more about their project here:

University of St. Francis Magazine


Staying Connected: Alumni

Shawn Walsh ‘00

Will County Regional Superintendent Stays Connected to USF


s Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools, Shawn Walsh holds education to the highest standards. When it came time to choose a school to pursue his doctor of education, he chose the University of St. Francis. However, he was no stranger to USF, having earned his bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration in Secondary Education from USF in 2000. “As any solid degree should do, my USF experience prepared me to formulate my thoughts and put ideas onto paper and eventually into action,” said Walsh.

After graduating with his B.A., Walsh remained connected to USF, bringing his three children to football games and other university-sponsored events. When a professor asked him to join the alumni board seven years ago, he jumped at the chance and recently became president-elect. He said he experiences the same flexibility and availability from the faculty now, as a doctoral student, as when he was an undergraduate. “I enjoy the close community feeling at USF and the relationships I have developed with the faculty,” said Walsh.

In his role as Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools, Walsh oversees the Will County Regional Office of Education and acts the official liaison between the State Board of Education and the 29 school districts in Will County, carrying out the advice of the state superintendent of education. In addition, he supervises several special programs including truancy prevention, maintaining official GED transcripts, life safety inspections of school buildings, bus driver training and continuing education for teachers and administrators.

“The doctor of education program directly relates to my position as superintendent and earning this degree will further enhance my knowledge,” said Walsh. Before being appointed to superintendent, Walsh served as assistant regional superintendent for a little over five years. Prior to that, he taught at two Joliet middle schools and served an academic advisor.

Frances Gale ‘40

Fond Memories of Nursing Studies


t 95-years-old, Frances Gale looks back at her life with fond memories. From reminiscing about her days as a student at St. Joseph School of Nursing (now Leach College of Nursing at USF) to her career as a nurse in the Joliet area, Gale has lots of stories to tell. Among her favorite stories are those related to her education at St. Joseph School of Nursing and the Franciscan Sisters who taught her. “The sisters treated us really good,” said Gale “They taught us how to be good nurses and take care of others.” After she completed her coursework, she started working for St. Joseph Hospital in 1940. She liked being a nurse where she studied, but everyone knew that in order to make the “big bucks,” one needed to move to the city and work at Mercy Hospital. “I made $75 a month working five days a week, for eight hours a


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

day,” said Gale. “I really thought I was something the first time I went to the city where I made all that money.” Gale liked working in the city, but her mother fell ill, and she needed to return home. She worked for private home clients as well as back at St. Joe’s and Silver Cross Hospital. “If they called, I went to work,” said Gale. “I made a good living. God blessed me, and I was able to provide for my family.” Her family would later include her husband and her daughter. She also helped out various families members when they needed it. She worked for nearly 40 years before retiring, and after one month of retirement, the hospital called her back to duty... this time in the form of a volunteer. “I used to take seniors’ blood pressure or serve as a Eucharistic minister,” said Gale. “The patients never knew I was a nurse, and I didn’t tell them either. Sometimes people

Frances Gale with her daughter, Virginia.

just needed a shoulder to cry on, and I was there.” She volunteered every Monday or as needed until recently. She says she moves a little slower now, and while she can still walk and she has a sharp mind, “it’s time to take a break.”

Gale is still active in her church and with USF’s alumni association. She continues to attend USF’s annual events for alumni as frequently as she can.

PARENTS’ CORNER Sam & Cindy Panayotovich Leading the “Parent Pack”


am and Cindy Panayotovich have always led by example. As their sons grew up, they made it a point to volunteer at school functions and assist with fundraisers because it was a hallmark of their Christian values. As college loomed ahead for their youngest, Adam, Cindy and Sam hoped they could find a way to become a part of the USF community as well. “Within minutes of our initial visit to the University of St. Francis, Adam felt right at home as we watched teachers address students on the

was in the right place,” the Panayotovichs recalled. The Panayotovichs interest in and commitment to the University of St Francis has helped foster a sense of community among Saints near and far. This spring, Johnson and Block asked the Panayotovichs to organize a reception for the men’s and women’s baseball teams and their families who were all participating in spring tournaments in Orlando, Fla. Several friends from the Sunshine State were invited and the event was a great success. The Panayotovichs reside in Palos Park, Illinois,

quad by name. The feeling of community was immediate,” says Cindy. It turns out Adam wasn’t the only one who felt at home. Sam and Cindy connected with Regina Block, Chief Advancement Officer, and discovered their talents for networking and fundraising could be put to great use. After talking to Block about their interests, both Sam and Cindy have since become involved with the Caritas Scholarship Ball. “Giving back and finding a way to provide this education for those who seek it out is rewarding,” continued Cindy. “Adam has received an excellent education and these values have helped continue to shape him into an upstanding young man— that’s why we are glad to help whenever we can.” “Upon meeting new USF President Arvid Johnson we instantly knew he was going to do all of the right things for the university and that his heart

a southwest suburb of Chicago. Their oldest son, Sam is a sportscaster for WGN radio in Chicago and a Columbia College graduate. As a Dean’s List student, son Adam is a three time All-Conference CCAC pitcher for the Fighting Saints baseball team and is slated to graduate in 2015 from USF.

Want to Attend a Big Italian Wedding?


arents and alumni, dig out your dress shoes and find your fedora... grab your gown and strap on your stilettos! Donna Giardino has run out of excuses. She has finally said “yes” to Rocco Romatelli after 15 years of his asking, and YOU’RE being invited to the wedding in USF’s San Damiano Hall on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. Please attend the Parents’ Networksponsored “Donna & Rocco’s Big Fat Italian Wedding,” an interactive comedy that will get you laughing! $50 per person includes the show and dinner. Limited tickets are available; contact the Alumni & Parent Relations office at (877) 811-ALUM to RSVP.

Alumni Events Reunite Friends and Help Students Make New Connections


he Alumni & Parent Relations Office continued to host numerous successful events for alumni this spring, giving them the opportunity to reunite with old friends and make new ones. Events like the Career Networking Progressive Dinner (attendees at right), hosted in partnership with the Student Alumni Mentoring Program; the Nursing Alumni Reunion Brunch; and the family favorite, “Breakfast with the Bunny” and Easter egg hunt, gave lots of reasons for alumni and their families to get back to campus for fun and networking. Summer is here and fall events are being planned, so be sure to check the calendar of events on the inner back cover of this publication to reserve dates for coming home—particularly, Homecoming/ Reunion Weekend in September!

University of St. Francis Magazine


Giving Back: Donor News

Caritas Scholarship Ball Nets Over $291,000

Several Caritas guests vied for unique auction items, including a trip to Tuscany, Italy.

The auctioneer got guests excited by venturing into the crowd to encourage bidding.

“The success of the Caritas Scholarship Ball depends on the commitment of many individuals and businesses, who believe, as we do, that our students have amazing potential to contribute to bettering our world through service and leadership” — Arvid Johnson


aritas 2014 nets largest amount in history for student scholarships. The 2014 Caritas Scholarship Ball for USF was the most successful in the event’s 57-year-history according to USF President Arvid Johnson. More than $291,000 was raised for student scholarships. We are so grateful and moved that our community cares so much about quality higher education. This unprecedented support is confirmation that our area leaders recognize the value that our graduates bring to the workplace and their communities,” added Johnson, who was host to the event with his wife, Anne. The late-January ball, with more than 350 guests, was chaired by Mike and Kathy LaRocco. Mike retired from USF after serving for 34 years as a business professor and then dean. He was named a professor emeritus upon his


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

retirement. Kathy is a USF alumna who taught in Chicago Catholic Schools. “We are dedicated to Catholic education, and so excited, pleased and grateful to see how appreciated the University of St. Francis is in our greater community—by sponsors, alumni and so many other friends to USF,” said LaRocco, who has also worked for years to raise funds for student scholarships. About 98 percent of USF students receive some form of financial assistance, according to Johnson, who added that the university provides more than $16 million annually in institutional funds to assist students. Also, about 68 percent of this year’s freshman class is comprised of students who are the first in their families to attend college, added Johnson. “Our students greatly appreciate their scholarships, which for many of them may mean the difference between attending college or not.”

The event was supported by Wintrust Commercial Banking, Joliet Bank and Trust as the gold-level sponsor. “We are a community-based bank and impressed by the sense of community that surrounds the University of St. Francis. We’re excited to share the university’s goal in making higher education attainable through financial assistance to students,” said Paul Slade, chairman and CEO of Old Plank Trail Community Bank. Longtime supporters of USF and founders of the Caritas event, Dorothy and the late LaVerne Brown provided a silver-level sponsorship. Support was also received from Barnes & Noble Booksellers, BMO Harris Bank, Burla Construction, Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal and Joliet Slammers Baseball. Additional support was provided by many other companies and individuals.

The 2014 Caritas event featured a live auction of one-of-a-kind experiences, including a game of H-O-R-S-E with Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade; a day as a Joliet Slammers player; a golf package with play at nine of the most prestigious courses in the area; and a Chicago Bulls basketball suite with an appearance by a special Bulls guest. A paddle raise to provide direct scholarship funds was supported at leadership levels by Dorothy and the late LaVerne Brown; Board of Trustees member Joseph Mallof and his wife, Virginia; Caritas Committee members Terry and Sue D’Arcy; Board of Trustees member Diane Habiger and her husband, Bill; new Board of Trustees members Brian Giegerich and his wife, Sally, Mike Turk and his wife, Gigi, and Tom Vana and his wife, Michele; along with members of the President’s Executive Council and President Arvid

DAY OF GIVING: Will you support the USF Annual Fund on October 2, 2014?


Jim McAllister and Dr. Jesse Park spent time with LCON Dean Carol Wilson. Johnson and his wife, Anne. For the second year, the Caritas Scholarship Ball was held at the historic Patrick Haley Mansion, which provided an elegant winter setting and “fantastic gourmet cuisine and wonderful service,” said Mrs. LaRocco. “We are grateful to a wonderful Caritas Committee and to our cochairs, Diane and Bill Habiger, who worked so hard to make the silent and live auctions exciting and to bring the expected elegance to this beautiful winter wonderland event,” said Mrs. LaRocco. Along with the LaRoccos of Chicago and the Habigers of Joliet, the Caritas Scholarship Ball Committee includes Duffy & Rachel Blackburn of Joliet; Cesar & Rose Cardenas of Joliet; Scott & Debra Crowther of Shorewood; Terry & Sue D’Arcy of Shorewood; Ani Johnson of Chicago; Jim & Maryellen Klang of Wheaton; Pat & Lora McGuire of Joliet; Mike Mikuska of Joliet; Sam & Cindy Panayotovich of Palos Park; Jesse & Phavinee Park of Burr Ridge; Tyler & Stephanie Qualio

ach year, USF asks for annual fund support from alumni, parents, friends and even students. We’ve decided to kick off the 2014-15 academic year a little differently by asking everyone to consider giving on the same day! We know it’s a “different” kind of idea, but it has been done by other schools, and it works, and we like it because it will be another great opportunity for the university community to come together in support of the Saints. Just mark October 2 on your calendar as USF’s “Day of Giving” and plan to make your annual gift on that day if you are able to. (By the way, we chose that date because it occurs during USF’s Feast of St. Francis week and the campus community will be participating in a myriad of events throughout that week.) As a reminder, you’ll get a direct mail piece in late August and we’ll also be promoting heavily through social media. Watch for the announcements and please share the news. There will be more opportunities to give through the year, of course, but our goal is to get as many donors to give as we can on that special date. So mark it down. Don’t forget it. October 2, 2014. Your gift will be the key to USF’s success!

Alumna’s Strong Connection to USF Helps Future Students


After the auction, guests flooded the dance floor.

of Shorewood; Steve & Ann Randich of Joliet; Jay & Willie Vidmar of Plainfield; and Denise Winfrey of Joliet.

emembering that the then-College of St. Francis helped to make education affordable for her, Cecilia (Trizna ‘59) Vargo has chosen to help others with the dream of becoming a college graduate. Vargo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish then worked as a high school counselor. She wanted to inspire students to understand that both high school and college diplomas were within reach and also very necessary for their futures. Vargo established a scholarship to memorialize her parents, Joseph (former Will County sheriff ) and Cecilia Trizna, and Vargo’s late husband, Nandor. The scholarship is offered to assist students who have a parent who is a teacher or in law enforcement and/or who is seeking a degree in education. A past Alumni Association board member, Vargo has maintained a strong connection to her alma mater, and has also chosen to remember USF in her will and thus is a member of the Three Oaks Legacy Society. The “Three Oaks” tree at the University of St. Francis dates to 1875 when it was planted by the institution’s founders and sponsors, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. So many Saints remember meeting families, studying or sitting just to reflect under the tree’s strong branches. The tree is a symbol of the strength of those who came before and that strength— of Three Oaks and its legacy—is an inspiration for the future. The University of St. Francis named the Three Oaks Legacy Society for those who remember the institution in their estates or other planned gifts. To learn more about how you can leave a legacy at the University of St. Francis that will positively affect the lives of future generations of students, visit or call (815) 740-5065.

University of St. Francis Magazine


Giving Back: Donor News

Alumni Make Giving a Tradition


hane ‘97 and Shawn ‘97 Green are twin brothers who, along with Shane’s wife Kerri (Rochowicz ‘97) Green, are alumni who lead by example. Shane and Shawn were basketball players, mentored by Coach Pat Sullivan. According to Shane, CEO

management consulting firm focused on Microsoft Solutions–SharePoint, ECM, Business Intelligence, Unified Communications, Dynamics CRM, and System Center 2012. Kerri played softball for USF and her leadership on and off the field helped prepare her for a career in

at Homer Companies in Lockport, Ill., Sullivan taught them more than the skill of the game. He also modeled the importance of giving back. Shawn agrees and feels he learned more than “just basketball” from Sullivan. Shawn began his career at MediChem Life Sciences, which was connected to USF through the owner’s father, Tom Flavin— a USF board member at the time. From MediChem, Shawn moved on to the Tribune Company to eventually become IT Director. He now works for Concurrency, a

education. She spent one year serving as Science Department chairperson and six years as a biology teacher at Lockport High School in District 205 before becoming an assistant principal at the East campus and then, in 2011, became principal at the Central campus. She has coached tennis, basketball, volleyball and softball. USF Society members since 2010, Shane and Kerri and Shawn and his wife, Erin, all lead by example, sharing the Franciscan values imbued in a USF education. They give back with

Left: Shane and Kerri with their daughters, Lainey and Malley. Right: Shawn and Erin with daughter, Avery. their time, talents and treasure in the true essence of Saints Francis and Clare, the university’s patrons. The Green families still attend USF basketball and football games, and now bring their children. Shane and Kerri have two daughters, Lainey and Malley. Shawn and Erin have a daughter, Avery.

“The University of St Francis is an institution that we cherish as a family,” said Shane. “The teachers and coaches prepared and inspired us to be successful in our personal and professional lives. We are proud to be Fighting Saints and grateful that we have an opportunity to give back to an institution of excellence.”

DONATION: $100 (No more than 1,000 donations will be accepted.) PRIZE: Two United Club 2014 Chicago Bears Season Tickets: Section 205, Row 7, Seats 1 & 2* *Includes preseason and regular season games only.

Call Regina Block, 815-740-5065, Dave Laketa, 815-740-3842, or visit for ticket information.


Donation supports the Candice Rosen Scholarship Fund at the University of St. Francis. Prize donated by the Rosen Family. Winner of raffle is subject to loss of prize without compensation if anyone using the tickets violates the Chicago Bears’ Fan Code of Conduct, which is at the discretion of Chicago Bears Management. *Prize does not include playoff games. Winner will be given the right of first refusal to purchase playoff tickets at cost.


A Year of Service • 2013-2014

2014 Calendar of Events

BE ON THE LOOKOUT for exciting announcements to be made soon regarding CELEBRATING A PILGRIM PEOPLE: VOICES OF VATICAN II, featuring works of artist/reporter FRANKLIN MCMAHON, coming this fall to the USF Art Gallery in Joliet!

While changes are unlikely, please reference the USF website prior to attendance for updated event details. We look forward to seeing you!

August 5 FRESHMAN SNEAK PEEK – a visit day for undergrad prospects 29 Saints Twilight Invitational 5K September 6 Wrigley Field Tour & Cubby Bear Lunch 15 Celebrating a Pilgrim People: The Voices of Vatican II art exhibit begins (September 15-October 12)

18 Bishop Joseph L. Imech Women in the Church Lecture Series featuring speaker Phyllis Zagano 19 Homecoming/Reunion Weekend 2014 (September 19-21) 20 Business Alumni Network (BAN) Meeting Education Alumni Network (EAN) Meeting 24 OPEN HOUSE – for adult degree completion, transfer and graduate prospects 27 Education Alumni Network presents “Make & Take” 29 Feast of St. Francis Week Begins (September 29-October 3) Voices of Vatican II Event

October 2 USF’s Inaugural “Day of Giving” 3 Feast of St. Francis Week Closes

November 1 FRESHMAN VISIT DAY – a traditional visit day for undergrad prospects 6 Education Alumni Network presents “Dealing With Difficult Parents” 7 Parent & Alumni Event – Donna & Rocco’s Big Fat Italian Wedding

8 10 13

14 15 20 22

Music at Moser – Ars Antigua Business Alumni Network (BAN) Meetings BERNIE DAY – a shorter visit day for undergrad prospects Nursing Alumni Network Pizza Party Music at Moser – FALL PLAY (TBA) Music at Moser – FALL PLAY (TBA) NURSING VISIT DAY – for undergrad and transfer prospects Music at Moser – FALL PLAY (TBA) Ladies’ Night Out – Facials After Five Alumni Service Day at Northern Illinois Food Bank Music at Moser – Candlelight Cabaret

December 4 10th Annual Alumni Holiday Celebration – “Cheers to Seniors” 5 Music at Moser – Christmas at the Motherhouse 6 Breakfast with Santa

Music at Moser – Ritmos Unidos

4 Feast of St. Francis 12 Vatican II Art Exhibit Ends 13 BERNIE DAY – a shorter visit day for undergrad prospects 17 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Spooktacular 18 Bloody Mary & Chicago Brunch Tour

Music at Moser – Joliet Symphony Orchestra Music at Moser – Christmas at the Motherhouse 7 Christmas Caroling at Sunny Hill Nursing Home, Sponsored by the Business Alumni Network Music at Moser – Joliet Symphony Orchestra 13 A USF Alumni Christmas – A Christmas Carol

Saturday Info Sessions are brief Saturday campus visits which include a short tour. Space is limited to three per family. RSVP: (815) 740-2270 JULY 12, 19 and 26

SEPTEMBER 6, 13, 20 & 27

OCTOBER 4, 11 & 18



For details or to register for alumni events: (877) 811-ALUM | | For athletics information or game schedules: (815) 740-3464 | For information about all other university events and activities: (800) 735-7500 |

University of St. Francis Magazine


C H A N G E SERV ICE REQ U E S T E D Please help us in our efforts to reduce waste. If this is an old or incorrect address for the intended recipient or you no longer wish to receive University of St. Francis Magazine, or if you would like to receive this publication electronically, please call (815) 740-5052 for a database adjustment.

University of St. Francis Magazine  

2013-2014, Issue 2 of the official magazine of the University of St. Francis in Joliet.