Engaging Mind & Spirit 2019-20 Issue 3

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2019-2020 | ISSUE 3


TOGETHER, WE ARE SAINTS STRONG! Dear Members of the USF Family, Welcome to the latest issue of Engaging Mind & Spirit magazine! This publication is one way the University of St. Francis strives to remain connected to you—our alumni, our friends, our parents, our employees and our supporters—in short, our USF family. We hope that this issue finds you safe and healthy—even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to begin by thanking our “frontline COVID-19 heroes”—many of whom are USF alumni and friends—serving in nursing, health care, education and other essential professions. We are grateful for the various ways that they are making real our mission to prepare women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. Thanks to their example, we remain confident that we will make it through this challenging time and come out stronger than ever before. Together, we are “Saints Strong!” On March 16, USF moved its spring classes to an online format and most employees began working from home in accordance with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “stay at home” order. We are proud of how smoothly and quickly our faculty members and students adapted to online learning, but thankfully, it was not new for us. USF has been a leader in distance education since the 1970s (thanks to the creativity of President Emeritus Dr. John Orr, profiled in this issue) and we’ve offered fully-accredited online degrees for over 20 years (thanks to the vision of President Emeritus Dr. James Doppke, also profiled). Our existing online teaching and learning infrastructure was robust and able to continue to deliver high-quality learning outcomes to our students from day one. While we plan to resume in-person courses and on-campus life this fall, we will proceed in consultation and coordination with state and local health officials. Our primary focus remains on continuing to offer our students a world-class educational experience, rooted in Franciscan values, in a safe, healthy environment and as “a welcoming community of learners.” Together, we are “Saints Strong!” This is not the centennial year for which any of us wished or prepared, but we have a lot to celebrate. This magazine shares many of our points of pride. In particular, we hope that you enjoy the beautiful center spread on the newly-dedicated Centennial Collage that tells USF’s story. Start in the lower left corner and work your way up to see USF’s history unfold. Next time you're on campus, please stop by the first floor of Tower Hall to check it out in person— it’s located immediately behind the grand staircase, across from the display dedicated in honor of “Our Sisters'” 150th anniversary in 2015. We look forward to seeing you back on campus as soon as possible, because… Together, we are “Saints Strong!” Throughout its first 100 years, USF has maintained its focus on offering a Catholic, comprehensive educational experience—rooted in the liberal arts and challenged by our Franciscan values and charism— to each and every student. This focus… this commitment… is as strong, alive and well today as it’s been at any other time in our history! So pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy this latest update about what’s happening at your USF. And, as always, please know that I continue to consider myself incredibly blessed to serve as your president and promise to continue to work hard to earn the trust that you have placed in me. Together, we are “Saints Strong!” Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. University of St. Francis President


Engaging Mind & Spirit is published three times each academic year by USF’s Institutional Advancement and Marketing Services offices. Feedback is welcomed and can be sent to Julie Futterer ’93, ’18, director of marketing services and magazine editor, at 815-740-3826 or jfutterer@stfrancis.edu.

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2 10 16 19 20 26 30 2 » USF History Part 2

20 » Celebrating Creativity

8 » USF Presidents 1969-2013

22 » USF News

10 » Sustainability

26 » Approaching COVID

14 » St. Francis Secrets

28 » Alumni News

16 » Centennial Collage

30 » Giving Back

To join in our efforts to reduce waste, contact Penny Basso at 815-740-3748 or pbasso@stfrancis.edu if this magazine includes an incorrect address for the intended recipient, if you prefer to receive it electronically, or if you would like to be removed from the mailing list. CONTENT Chuck Buetel Jessica Conte Dave DiLorenzo Julie Futterer Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF Lorene Kennard - USF Archives Kristin Short David Veenstra Other USF employees, alumni, students & friends IMAGERY Don Bersano - Bersano Photography Cherry Hill Studios Jessica Conte Julie Futterer Matt Grotto - Grotto Media Inc. Lorene Kennard - USF Archives Nicole Salow Other USF employees, alumni, students & friends DESIGN Nicole Salow PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION St. Croix Press, Inc. | stcroixpress.com

19 » All in the Family

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 peace-making. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership.

University of St. Francis 500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, Illinois 60435 800-735-7500 | stfrancis.edu


Moving Forward THROUGH UNCERTAIN TIMES Joliet's university prevails through the Great Depression and World War II by David Veenstra, USF Associate Professor of History

HISTORICAL TIMELINE 1938 | Sr. Aniceta Guyette, OSF was named the second president of CSF. 1938 | Accreditation recognition was received from the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. 1943 | B.A. degrees in Spanish and Science were approved. The Cadet Nurse Training program was instituted to prepare nurses to meet the needs imposed by World War II. 1944 | Art was announced as a major and a cooperative program began with extension classes from DePaul and Loyola universities. 1945 | An all female, student-run radio station, WCSF, began in 1945. Broadcasts were prepared by students and aired on Joliet’s local station, WJOL. 1946 | Temporary off-campus student housing was acquired, located in three homes on Bridge Street: Marian Hall, Angela Hall and the Sehring Mansion. These added to the housing options in the south wing of the Motherhouse. 1953 | Sr. Elvira Bredel, OSF was named the college’s third president. The School of Nursing was also accredited by the National League for Nursing. 1955 | An expanded residence wing was added to Tower Hall. 1956 | St. Francis Academy discontinued operation in Tower Hall when new facilities were built on Larkin Avenue in Joliet. 1957 | The first Caritas fundraiser gala was hosted. 1959 | St. Albert Hall became the third building on campus. 1962 | Sr. Anita Marie Jochem, OSF was named the college’s fourth president and the last president from the congregation. Upon being advised by ACCU, the college officially incorporated as its own institution, separate from the congregation. 1965 | The Sisters marked a century of progress in education in the evolution of the College of St Francis. 1966 | Marian Hall, the first “stand alone” residence hall on campus, was built. 1968 | The new library opened with books that were moved from the college wing of the Motherhouse. 1969 | Dr. Francis Kerins was appointed as the college’s fifth (and first lay) president. 1970 | Merger talks began with Lewis University, but the agreement was soon dissolved. In 1970, a B.S. Health Arts program also began. 1971 | The college became coeducational. 1972 | Men’s intercollegiate athletics were established, with Elmer Bell as the first full-time athletic director. Teams were called “The Falcons.” 1972 | The first off-campus degree programs began. 1974 | Dr. John C. Orr was named the college’s sixth president. To be continued with our history in the next issue of Engaging Mind & Spirit! To see the entire timeline, visit stfrancis.edu/centennial


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Just a decade after its founding in 1920, the newly designated College of St. Francis confronted unexpected national crises, beginning with the Great Depression, forcing the college to adapt and transform—sometimes radically. Facing these crises, the foundations set earlier by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate—providing Catholic liberal arts education for women and partnering with the Joliet community—grounded the college with the principles and flexibility that allowed it to persist, diversify, and grow. Having expanded to a four-year curriculum in 1930, CSF entered the Depression with high ambitions. Few expected the economic downturn to last, and for the first couple of years following the stock market crash, the “The Interlude" student newspaper. But by mid-decade, this had changed. Across the country, roughly one-third of the workforce had lost jobs. Venerable local employers such as the Joliet Iron & Steel Works had shut down. Letters to the registrar began mirroring the economic condition. “I am very much embarrassed financially at the present,” one student wrote. Another said regretfully, “My father lost his position and I do not think I shall be able to continue my studies.” The college opened an alumni office in 1933. Two years later, they held their first scholarship drive to assist students with tuition. CSF also began offering “service scholarships,” allowing students to reduce costs by working for the From The Interlude, circa March-April, 1943: Dr. Frank P. Wenberg, chairman of the history department, and Mary Wuller, International Relations Club president, compare views on current events.

college, echoing the ideals expressed in New Deal programs enacted at the time. According to legend, one family traded an heirloom rug to reduce tuition for their daughter. Unlike most colleges during the Depression, where enrollment fluctuated widely, attendance at CSF increased steadily each year. The enrollment growth hinged in large part on its character, and the networks and partnerships the sisters cultivated. St. Francis Academy, which continued to share the same grounds as the college, provided the college with a steady stream of recruits, as did the regional parochial schools which were staffed primarily by CSF graduates. In 1939, CSF began offering late afternoon courses for teachers and adults. Course affiliations with St Joseph School of Nursing also expanded. Businesses worked closely with the college as well, including a local company that contracted to conduct experiments of laundry detergents at the college’s bacteriology lab. Still, times were tough. Sister Claudia Zeller, OSF, dean of the college from 1953-1969, later recalled of the era: “There was frugality in places where you can be frugal without destroying anything.” While the college was able to open new tennis courts and remodel the science “wing” with new labs, major building project plans were shelved. Faculty, most of whom were members of the congregation, received little or no salaries. They conducted studies locally and shared their research during Friday afternoon roundtables. Students also focused their research locally, often emphasizing Catholic social teachings in their activities. For instance, Dr. Frank Weberg and his students conducted a study of juvenile delinquency in the community, culminating in recommendations to the county planning association for the construction of new playgrounds. In 1938, CSF inaugurated its second president, Sister Aniceta Guyette, OSF. Though the Depression continued, the college’s attention turned increasingly to turmoil in Europe and Asia and the possibility of another world war. Just a few weeks before Pearl Harbor, Sister Aniceta articulated the college’s values in face of these fears: “True education is in itself a national defense . . . [along with] the strength of our own people and the effectiveness of our institutions.”

Description on the back of the photograph: "A letter a day keeps the blues away—from the boys in the service" is the opinion of girls at the College of St. Francis, Joliet, whose "Writing Sixty-ninth" brings responses from the fighting fronts and from the training fields. "You'd be surprised how much the letters help keep the boys happy and raring to go" writes a soldier from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, while a sailor in San Diego writes, "Mail time is as popular as chow time around here."

World War II proved transformative for both Joliet and the college. Joliet’s population grew dramatically both in numbers and diversity as manufacturing expanded into war materiel including many jobs at the Joliet Arsenal. Students and faculty experienced shortages, cramped quarters, and family changes. Roughly half of the college saw a family member serve in the war. But unlike many other colleges, CSF did not lose students or professors to the draft. The students were all women, and many of the faculty were sisters; only two lay faculty went off to war. With resources in facilities and people, the college engaged the home front fight actively. Immediately after the war broke out, the college applied for and received assignment as a Civil Defense Shelter—one of six in Joliet. A flag flew outside of Tower Hall denoting the designation. They also expanded their relationship with the Red Cross, establishing a new unit in 1943. Most of the students volunteered making surgical bandages, eventually turning out more than 1,000 dressings a day. Faculty led first-aid classes. Many students also enrolled jointly with St. Joseph School of Nursing in the Cadet Nurse

Training program—an accelerated curriculum that qualified nearly a quarter of a million nurses nationally. Joliet officials used the college to hold civil defense courses, and on a couple of occasions, students in mathematics and accounting helped the city tabulate wartime gas and food ration cards. Students also planted victory gardens, held blood drives, and even formed a letter-writing troop—“The Writing Sixty-Ninth.” But the most dynamic events on campus were the College War Bond drives. At one point, students raised enough money to purchase the equivalent of six jeeps. The college also launched the Joliet Children’s Center, which provided childcare for children whose mothers had taken employment because of the war. Shortages caused by the war impacted student life. One young woman commented about sacrificing stockings, pretty clothes, and candy. A faculty member recalled that students seemed to miss men the most: “It nearly killed the girls to have to date high school boys.” Still, opportunities expanded for students. A special course was offered to train women as organists, which had previously been largely men’s

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


Harpist Sr. Charles Zieverink taught, composed and wrote instruction books for teachers and students.

domain. The number of student clubs expanded—a priority of Sister Aniceta, OSF— including student government, sodality, the Theta Chi Sigma sorority, the Women’s Athletic Association, and a variety of honor societies. In 1945, a scholarship program brought the first international students to CSF, enabling women from China, Korea, Vietnam, and several Central American countries to attend CSF. New bachelor’s degrees were also offered in Science, Spanish and Art. And CSF began education in radio with a student-run radio

station. Broadcasts were prepared by students then aired on Joliet’s local radio station—an arrangement that lasted until a Mass Communication Department was created in 1976, leading to the licensing of WCSF. Following World War II, higher education in the U.S. flourished. The GI Bill, which provided veterans with free schooling, caused enrollments across the country to soar. Men were put on waiting lists, and women’s colleges grew rapidly. The rising birth rate of the baby boom created demand for more teachers and nurses. And fears over the Cold War caused the federal government to increase funding for the sciences and foreign languages. At CSF, years of making do—with cramped living quarters, insufficient laboratories, and library passages darkened by books stacked to the ceiling—gave way to expansion. Sister Elvira Bredel, OSF, who had been the CSF librarian, became the college’s third president in 1953. That year, a new wing was added to the Motherhouse to provide residences for young women entering the congregation. In 1955, Tower Hall was expanded along Taylor Street with new dorm rooms. Soon thereafter, St. Francis Academy vacated the building, providing additional room. With more federal funds available, along with rising enrollment, the college made new forays into technology and learning. In 1953, the college began teaching medical technology courses. They also developed a cooperative

Restrictions on building materials begun during World War II remained for several years after the war ended, causing the Sisters to look elsewhere for student housing. In 1946, the college purchased three homes on Bridge Street, including the Sehring Castle, to provide increased student housing.


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television education program with WTTW and expanded adult courses into the evenings and Saturdays. Perhaps most impressive was the foreign language lab, which housed 29 booths, complete with microphones and headsets that allowed students to tune into channels transmitting in French, German, Spanish and Latin. Despite the renovations and expansion, space for classrooms and laboratories remained at a premium. Longtime chemistry professor Sister Joan M. Preising, OSF made it her mission to provide a building for science and math. She had begun teaching in 1924 while CSF was still called “New College” before returning in 1940 after receiving her doctorate. To raise money for the building, she donated the proceeds from her autobiographical novel, “All the Days of My Life,” using the pen name of Sister Mary Jeremy. These monies, along with grants and proceeds from the first Caritas Ball held in 1958, funded St. Albert Hall, which opened to students in 1960. The integration of the congregation and the community exemplified by Caritas, which has been held annually since, had long been a hallmark of CSF. These efforts expanded in 1962 when, shortly after Sister Anita Marie Jochem, OSF became the college's fourth president, the college incorporated as its own institution separate from the congregation. This change, which the Sisters supported unanimously, created a new board of trustees that included lay members, and gave the college broader legal and financial resources along with greater access to federal and state grants. Monies made available through the Great Society programs during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency helped fund the construction of Marian Hall in 1966 with nearly 250 dorm rooms and a separate library building in 1968. College enrollment of the baby boom generation continued to climb. Students attended at higher rates, remained in college longer, and they demanded more course choices. To help accommodate these changes, in 1965, CSF reached an agreement for a course exchange program with Lewis College (later renamed Lewis University)—a predominantly men’s Catholic college in nearby Romeoville. A student planning to join the Peace Corps was the first to utilize the arrangement, enrolling in a history course at

Upper Left: Marian Hall under construction. Lower Left: Civil Rights Day was held at the College of St. Francis on June 24, 1964. Right: Students enjoy the dorm experience in the new Marian Hall.

CSF. Talks about further cooperation between the two institutions quickly expanded, culminating with both deciding to pursue a merger. Amidst these, in 1969, CSF appointed Dr. Francis Kerins as the fifth president and first lay leader of the college. The purpose of the merger was “reducing [course] duplication at the two campuses, and thereby freeing faculty members to build stronger and broader department offerings.” Classes at the new “Lewis-St. Francis of Illinois” began in the fall of 1970. Yellow school buses moved students over the six miles between the two campuses. On pleasant days, and with enough time between classes, students walked. Both the women and men embraced coeducation. Combining the two groups offered greater class choices and opportunities for engagement. Some students chose new majors. Many also engaged deeply in national issues. They held teach-ins and organized events over civil rights and the war in Vietnam. Still, the two colleges, while operating together, remained separate institutions. Disputes over the details of the corporate merger, including choosing a president, the name, and several other questions, ultimately led to the

dissolution of the agreement in 1971. At the conclusion of the academic year, students had to choose which institution they would continue with. For CSF, the temporary merger was transformative—afterward, the college remained coeducational. Having recently completed the Marian Residence Hall and the new library, the college had enough space for men, and for the next several years it expanded and converted as a coeducational institution. Dress codes ended. Sports expanded from intramural to intercollegiate contest, and a full-time athletic director, Elmer Bell, was hired in 1972. The changes CSF underwent during the 1970s came with high costs, however. At the same time, the nation and higher education endured a period of protracted turmoil. Unemployment rates across the country rose along with inflation rates. And college enrollments decreased as the baby boom generation exited the education system. In 1974, the college named a new president, Dr. John C. Orr, who was tasked with seeing CSF through the crisis. Over the next few years, the college made several difficult decisions,

including ending the tenure system for faculty. But it also inaugurated a number of new degree programs, and in 1980, launched a master’s program in health service administration—the first graduate degree offered to students outside the congregation. Having weathered crises from the Depression and World War II through the malaise of the 1960s and 70s, by the 1980s the College of St. Francis was poised for expansion and development into the next century. The principles and flexibility provided by the Sisters facilitated the college’s growth and change from a women’s college, focused primarily on training teachers, to a coeducational liberal arts institution, offering numerous majors and minors and having a persistent presence in the Joliet community.

The University of St. Francis story will continue being told in all three issues of Engaging Mind & Spirit in the centennial year. We look forward to continuing to share our rich history with you!

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020



Dr. Francis Kerins

Dr. John Orr



In the fall of 1969, Dr. Francis Kerins became the first lay

Dr. John C. Orr was named the College of St. Francis’ sixth

president of the College of St. Francis. Kerins was involved

president in 1974. He came to the school when it was still

with the National Catholic Educational Association and the

recovering from the de-merger with Lewis and was trying to

American Association for Higher Education to improve the

find its footing. During his tenure, the school grew rapidly

education of College of St. Francis students. He was also a

with new students and new athletic programs. In addition, a

part of the Council for the Advancement of Small Colleges,

number of new degree programs and a master's program in

which hosted workshops to improve the education of

health service administration—the first graduate degree

students and faculty members. The College of St. Francis

offered to students outside the congregation—were

became coeducational dring Dr. Kerins' tenure.

established during his presidency. Dr. Orr held the position for the longest of any president to date, spending 21 years serving and leading the College of St. Francis community.


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Dr. James Doppke

Dr. Michael Vinciguerra



Dr. James A. Doppke became the university’s president in

Dr. Michael Vinciguerra became the university’s eighth

1995. He first joined the college in 1989 as academic dean

president in 2002. During his tenure, a 15-year campus

and executive vice president. The first online classes were

master plan was approved, resulting in the acquisition of

offered in 1997 during his USF tenure. The following year,

properties from the founding congregation, properties

the college’s status changed from college to university.

surrounding campus, and major renovations in the Marian

Between 1999 and 2000, the university received a 10-year

Hall dormitories and the Motherhouse. The Art & Design

accreditation from North Central Association of Colleges

facilities moved to downtown Joliet, and the Physician

and Schools, and in 2000, a regional center was opened in

Assistant Studies program was developed in New Mexico to

Albuquerque, New Mexico under the University of

serve the underserved populations there. During

St. Francis name.

Vinciguerra’s term, USF’s first doctoral programs were introduced: the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.). Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


SUSTAIN As the University of St. Francis celebrates its centennial in 2020, Earth Day celebrates its 50th anniversary. The holiday was established by Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, after he witnessed the devastating effects of a Santa Barbara, California oil spill. Nelson leveraged the anti-war protests’ energy with the public’s increasing awareness of environmental pollution. April 22 was chosen as the official date for Earth Day, and 20 million Americans took part in activities to honor it. As a Catholic, Franciscan university that cares for creation, USF has become increasingly invested in sustainable efforts. Beginning in the 1980s, individual efforts were led by passionate employees across the university. Larry Burich from the buildings and maintenance department helped USF change all lighting from fluorescent to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights. Much of what Burich accomplished was by showing the savings that result from being sustainable. He also worked with science professor Dr. Bill Bromer to place the first recycling bins on campus. Additionally, science professor Dr. Salim Diab received a grant to work with several students to install permeable brick pavers in the Motherhouse parking lot after finding success in an experiment installing a small section of brick on Taylor Street to stop runoff rainwater. Diab was also responsible for organizing paper recycling. He and Bromer hired student workers to empty the bins into the Waste Management recycling receptacles. In 1995, the greenhouse on the Quad was constructed, and Bromer helped with the site location, design, and equipment. The greenhouse provides a space for students and faculty to conduct experiments for classes and research projects. Around 2009, sustainability on campus began to really take shape. Then-USF president,


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Dr. Michael Vinciguerra, was very passionate about sustainability and signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. He directed his assistant, Barbara Ingold, to focus on sustainability efforts, and she formally assembled and led the Sustainability Committee. In 2017, with other Franciscan colleges and universities, USF’s ninth president, Dr. Arvid C. Johnson, signed a statement of support and a public commitment to work collaboratively “through all the means available to and appropriate for our colleges and universities as institutions of higher learning, to study, promote, and act on the ideals and vision of integral ecology laid out by Pope Francis.” He also signed the Catholic Climate Covenant which commits to care for creation and utilizing the energy of young students. Today, Janine (Lukowski) Hicks '73, '98 works as USF’s dedicated sustainability coordinator, managing the team of volunteer employees on the Sustainability Committee. “I believe my predecessors all contributed pieces of the sustainability program that we have now. Recycling was started then, and some energy savings were completed,” she said.

Recent sustainability projects included adding two bee and butterfly gardens, two beehives (there will soon be a third), a community garden, and new initiatives in food services such as the farmer’s market in the Terrace Café. “We have had a ComEd assessment and we’ve prioritized projects. We reviewed and changed our trash and recycling contracts to save a considerable amount of money and we continue to work with South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC) to get the best rates on our electricity rates. The SMHEC Sustainability Committee has worked very hard to help the community become more sustainable. We held a Green Town two years ago that brought 300 people together to learn and leverage contacts. We have created the Will County Regional Sustainability Network (WCRSN) to work on projects with the community, which also shows them that USF is a community partner in sustainability. We have totally revised our website with resources on many topics. We also continue to ask our students and employees to commit to working on sustainability here at USF,” Hicks said. This year, Bromer and his students were using the greenhouse to grow prairie plants for the

For several years now, the university has been planting native plants and flowers on campus that attract bees and butterflies.

NABILITY Charlotte Codo Prairie, a beautiful habitat that was gifted to the university by the Codo family. The plants will be transplanted into the garden behind the prairie’s barns and used to produce seeds for future prairie restorations there. Bromer hopes to plant and grow 15-18 prairie species in the seed bed gardens this summer. Hicks is confident that USF will only increase its sustainability efforts.

“I believe that environmental sustainability will continue to grow and our faculty will become more involved in this topic and how it applies to their major. I would like to see the university have the opportunity to install solar on campus and have students learn about the subject. I also hope to see more students conducting research at the Codo Farm, and hope to see more opportunities for presentations and field trips at the prairie,” she said.

Q & A with Dr. Bill Bromer Professor of Biology and Environmental Science This Q&A features Dr. Bill Bromer, retiring this year after 28 years of dedicated service as a USF science professor. Dr. Bromer is/was the epitome of sustainability at USF and the entire community has benefited and been enriched by his wisdom. Dr. Bromer, we celebrate and congratulate you on your retirement!

How did you become passionate about environmental sustainability? In grade school, I enjoyed walking through the woods behind our house with my friends and really began to appreciate the wonders of nature as we tried to catch fish, crayfish, frogs, bugs and birds. As I was growing up, I realized how much people had done to ruin nature. While I was in high school, the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire. This was also close to the time when many of our environmental laws were enacted— Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Environmental Protection Act and Endangered Species Act.

How have you incorporated environmental sustainability within the courses you teach? I try to have at least one field trip in my classes where I take students outside and try to let them

see the beauty and wonder of nature. It is really important for people to have a sense of place and to experience walking through the woods, avoiding poison ivy, measuring trees, counting invasive species and collecting crayfish and stream insects. I include assignments where students calculate their carbon footprint or estimate how many trees it would take to capture all the carbon dioxide they release each year by driving their cars. I also include readings or whole books on environmental topics like Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac,” or John McPhee's “Control of Nature.” We also include discussions of Global Climate Disruption, local water use, pesticides, and alternative energy.

What seems to excite students most about environmental sustainability? I think most of them enjoy field trips and when they realize that they can make a difference.

When did you notice a cultural shift towards environmental sustainability? Our culture has been changing gradually but I think the largest shift has occurred in the last 10-15 years. There was real interest in

environmental issues in the early 1970s, but since then, it has oscillated between no interest, some interest if it saves money, and very interested because of a concern for the future. The more recent consistent interest stems from our concern for future generations and that is what sustainability is about. More people are taking the long-term view and looking beyond short-term profits and realize that we need to take care of our resources now or they won’t be there for our children and grandchildren.

What environmental sustainability effort/ accomplishment are you most proud of? Even though the [LaVerne & Dorothy] Brown Science Hall has not been certified, it was designed and built to meet LEED Gold standards.

What do you think is in store for the future of environmental sustainability here at USF? I am heartened by how many students are interested and participate in sustainability initiatives and that tells me that we are on the right track. If we let students take leadership roles, then we will see even bigger changes in the near future.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


THEN& We love how USF's friendships and traditions of excellence

N&NOW have remained steady and strong through the passing years!

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


ST. FRANCIS SECRETS If you’ve been a student at the University of St. Francis, you’ve likely heard tall tales about some of the "secret spaces" that are tucked away on USF’s campuses. THE BELL TOWER One space that has piqued some interest over the years is the iconic castle-like crown of Tower Hall: the “bell tower.” It overlooks the entire historic Cathedral Area—giving those who visit a bird’s eye view of the surrounding community. The door is always kept locked as a safety precaution because of its steep stairwell, but many students have passed, drawn to it, wondering “What’s UP there?” (It's basically a square, stone room with tall, gothic windows—currently providing storage space.) Sr. Dolores Zemont, OSF, president of the Joliet Franciscans, was CSF's campus minister for 18 years and has fond memories of the tower. She recalls hosting a beautiful candle-lit prayer service there one Halloween to celebrate All Saints and All Souls days. She said the group "felt the spirit" that night—but in a profound and peaceful way. “The students said they felt like they were close to Heaven. It was such a memorable night,” she said.

THE OLD TOWER HALL CHAPEL Sr. Dolores also spent a lot of time the Tower Hall chapel, which was located on the third floor. “Over time, students got to thinking that the ghosts of the deceased Sisters who had taught at St. Francis were ‘residing’ in the chapel. Sometimes they would even be afraid to walk past it at night,” she said with a giggle. “One evening we were in there rehearsing for a live Stations of the Cross event for Lent, and two large, male athletes were acting as the centurians. All of a sudden, they stormed towards me, ran right out of the chapel, and wouldn’t come back because they thought they heard strange noises coming from the Sacristy. It was so funny, I laughed myself sick!”

THE MOTHERHOUSE ELEVATOR SHAFT Sr. Sue Bruno, OSF, a USF trustee, mentioned another off-the-beaten-path space in the Motherhouse that has some ghostly legend tied to it: an unused elevator shaft. Back in the early days of the congregation, when the Sisters lived in the Motherhouse, there was an infirmary and a morgue in the building in case one of the Sisters fell ill or passed away. The elevator took Sisters from the main floors of the building down to the basement morgue. As one would expect, some imaginative stories have been conjured up by students and employees alike about the long-abandoned shaft.


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THE TUNNELS Next, there are the tunnels. Yes, they do exist, but they are generally not passageways made for walking. Mainly built for utility purposes, the tunnels contain pipes and computer cables. “There was a student crew that worked over three summers, I think, running network cable all over campus,” said USF's Mark Snodgrass. Basketball player Eric Futterer ’98 was a crewmember with brothers Mike Mravle ’98 and Tony Mravle ’95, and they were charged with pulling cables through the tunnels. Futterer was sent in first, and his height caused him to keep breaking lightbulbs with his head as he crawled along. (Though according to Futterer, “It was only three—just for the record!”) Snodgrass laughed, adding that Tony kept yelling about how dark it was getting. There’s also a tunnel at the St. Clare Campus. Sr. Sue lived at Guardian Angel for 14 years when the Sisters owned the building, and she knew the tunnel well because when wintertime came and the Sisters’ longtime maintenance employee Al Scheuber could not get to work, Sr. Sue would check the boiler and run the snow plow. She could get to the equipment without ever being exposed to the elements. Scheuber, who now works for the university and still manages the buildings at St. Clare Campus, paid the favor forward. “Back when a residential program for troubled boys was located in the Guardian Angel building, someone donated 20 bicycles for Christmas. The staff didn’t want the boys to see them until Christmas morning, so we kept them in the annex building and rode them through the tunnel to Guardian Angel on Christmas Eve. That’s probably the most fun I had going through that tunnel… and the fastest trip! And yes, I had to keep my head down!”


CENTENNIAL COLLAGE The Centennial Collage is a visual history of the university, representing 100 years of higher education. Now you can be reminded of that history with this special pull-out poster— hang or frame the collage proudly! The art piece was created to commemorate the university’s centennial in 2020, and was dedicated on June 4, 2020. It now has a prominent, permanent home in Tower Hall at main campus. The university community is grateful for and committed to the founding vision of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and those who carry on their legacy of providing academic programs that engage mind and spirit. Through the Sisters, the university continues to offer all students an education rooted in the Catholic, Franciscan values of respect, integrity, compassion and service. Mindful of our vibrant, intellectual, creative and welcoming community of learners and our richly diverse faculty, staff, student and alumni populations, the University of St. Francis is poised for a strong future to continue its mission of preparing students to contribute to the world through service and leadership.

Created by Lawrence M. Romorini © 2020 One of A Kind, Inc. Art Studio oneofakindinc.com Size: 26” x 46” x 5”

63. First-ever Doctor of Nursing Practice

CENTENNIAL COLLAGE 1. In the beginning…

5. Mother Alfred Moes, OSF

4. The New College announcement booklet

3. Assisi College pennant

67. Saint Francis statue

66. Convocation

65. Duns Scotus logo

64. Schola Cantorum

graduating class

6. Tower Hall

68. 50th annual Caritas Scholarship

2. CSF newspaper ad

7. Mother M. Thomasine Frye, OSF

Ball program 69. Black tie

(1st president) 8. First issue of The Interlude

70. Painter’s palette

71. Framed Photo of Sr. Margaret Duffy, OSF

9. Inaugural commencement for Assisi Junior College

14. Chemistry lab

13. Sisters’ commencement

12. St. Joseph Nursing School banner

11. St. Francis nursing pin

76. New Mexico, home to USF’s Albuquerque Campus

75. Grand opening of the Center for Art & Design

74. Runner pin

73. Logo golf ball

72. Bolivia photo

and others

15. Photo of class in session

77. 2012 NAIA National Men’s Cross

10. Nursing Mass

16. Graduating Class of 1940

78. San Damiano cross

Country Champions 18. “We’re Growing” announcement

79. Homecoming tailgate photo

17. Music teachers (Sisters)

19. Music note

80. “A Spiritual Banquet” artwork by Sr. Kay

81. Convocation photo

Francis Berger, OSF

20. 12 congregations 21. St. Albert Hall 22. Sr. Joan Presing, OSF book

27. Sr. M. Elvira Bredel, OSF (3rd president)

26. Teacher training program

25. Photo of library

24. Sr. Aniceta Guyette, OSF (2nd president)

23. Bishop McNamara & Sisters

88. Online learning at USF

87. Employee alumni photo

86. Military veterans’ seal

85. Alumni Association pin

84. Alumni Board of Directors photo

83. Dr. Arvid C. Johnson (9th president)

82. Residence Education photo

28. Nursing hat

89. Old USF logo

signing with students

29. Seraphic Institute certificate


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Celebrating Our Centennial in 2019–2020


Š One Of A Kind, Inc. Art Studio (oneofakindinc.com) | Created by Lawrence M. Romorini for the USF centennial.

Through the Decades: Another compilation of images and items, displayed by decade, has been installed on the main floor of the Motherhouse, in the hallway leading into Donovan Hall. Stop by and check it out! 35. Sr. Charles, OSF and a student playing harp

34. Dr. Francis Kerins (5th president)

33. Women’s volleyball team

32. Photo of students on Marian Hall steps

31. College of St. Francis in the Chicago Tribune

30. Former Tower Hall chapel

95. Herald News article on dual credit

94. Bernie Saint Bernard

93. Plaster Center at St. Bonaventure Campus

92. Brown Science Hall groundbreaking

91. Sisters’ seal

90. Gold shovel

38. Marian Hall groundbreaking photo

37. Theta Chi Sigma cap

98. Globe

97. Engaging Mind & Spirit magazine

96. LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Science Hall

teaching course

39. Sr. Anita Maria Jochem, OSF (4th president)

99. Student Alumni Mentoring

36. Treble clef

40. St. Joseph School of Nursing

44. College of St. Francis pennant

43. Marian Hall

42. Women’s basketball at the Joliet Armory

41. Dick Butkus at Brown & Gold

104. City of Joliet logo

103. Creche at dusk

102. Orientation lanyard

101. Guardian Angel Hall at St. Clare Campus

100. Three Oaks tree

(SAM) Program photo

45. Dr. John C. Orr (6th president)

105. Orientation lanyard

newspaper article

46. Sr. Beatrice Schiller, OSF

54. Gordie Gillespie bobblehead

53. Sr. Mary Vincent Kirk, OSF article

52. WCSF staff

51. Radio microphone

50. Baseball mitt

49. Cheerleaders at the Joliet Armory

48. First-ever CSF football team

113. University seal

112. College of Education logo

111. Leach College of Nursing logo

110. 50th commencement class

109. 2020 commencement tassel

108. Dr. Arvid Johnson commencement selfie

107. Blessing of the Hands ceremony

106. Orientation lanyard (student ID holder)

(San Damiano cross medal)

55. CSF to USF banner drop

114. College Business & Health

47. Recreation Center

56. 1993 NAIA national baseball champions

60. Moser Performing Arts Center

59. USF Encounter newspaper

58. Four core university values

118. A Visual History description

117. Mission statement

116. USF centennial logo

115. College of Arts & Sciences logo

Administration logo

61. Dr. Michael Vinceguerra (8th president)

119. Current USF logo

57. Dr. James Doppke (7th president)

62. Motherhouse

ALL IN THE It is frequently cited by students, faculty, staff and alumni that St. Francis is “like a big family.” We know that’s more than just a warm and fuzzy feeling. In previous issues of this magazine, we’ve published stories of two- and three-generational families, and during the centennial year, we felt it fitting to put another spotlight on some of these Saints! By Chuck Beutel, USF Vice President Emeritus

THE WEIS FAMILY Current students and twins, John and Nolan Weis, are no strangers to the University of St. Francis. Their father, mother, uncle and several aunts were all St. Francis students, too. John and Nolan just completed their freshman year—John is is an Actuarial Science major and Nolan is pursuing an Accounting degree. After the class day, they enjoy playing golf with the St. Francis golf team. It would be an understatement to say that family connections to St. Francis played some role in their decision to attend. Andy Weis ’90 is John and Nolan’s father. He majored in Marketing and minored in Management. He chose St. Francis because he enjoyed the family atmosphere and because the school had a strong reputation as a baseball powerhouse. Andy was coached by legendary coaches Gordie Gillespie and Tony Delgado. The decision to play baseball at St. Francis enabled Andy to be part of St. Francis baseball history as a member of the team that took 2nd place in the 1989 Baseball World Series and finished in 3rd place in 1990. Those years also produced some lasting relationships, the best of which was meeting his future wife, Donna Guderyahn ’91, to whom he has been married for 28 years. Donna had come to St. Francis to study to become a high school mathematics teacher. She was interested in playing college tennis, too, so she was thrilled when Coach Chris Smith called her and invited her to try out for the team. She toured the campus and was also impressed by the school’s friendly atmosphere. “The campus allowed me to have the full college experience being away from home, while being not too far away,” said Donna. “The education program provided many opportunities to observe and student teach in a variety of local grade and high schools, so commutes were extremely reasonable and allowed us time to study and play sports.” John and Nolan also had the influence of uncle Nick Weis ’91 and aunts Stephanie (Weis) O’Donoghue ’93, Lynn (Guderyahn) Carpenter ’93, Melissa (Weis) Crisci ’03, ‘06 and Tricia (Riedy) Weis ’08.


Junior Aaron Michalak was similarly influenced by a wide number of family members who had studied at St. Francis. Aaron just finished his junior year as an Industrial/Organizational Psychology major. His brother, Patrick, graduated in 2019 after majoring in Special Education and competing in baseball. Aaron’s younger brother, Sean, is looking forward to joining the new class of freshmen this fall and hopes to major in Mathematics. Patrick, Aaron and Sean come from a long line of family members who attended St. Francis. Their father, Brian ’83 and mother, Sharon, also attended, in addition to other relatives including uncles Pat Quigley ’81, Tim Quigley ’86, Don Strle ’80 and aunts Rachael Favero ’82 and Chris (Quigley) Strle ’83. Brian majored in History and recalls one of his first days as a freshman. He was nervous but amazed when he walked into one of his first classes of the day and his professor, Sr. Rose Marie Surwilo, OSF, knew almost everyone by name already. Another memorable moment came one day while he walked to class and was stopped and greeted by then-president, Dr. John Orr. Brian also recalls when he first met some of his lifelong friends such as Tom Baumgartner ’83, who would become a baseball teammate for the next four years, and rooming on road trips with Kurt Miller ’85. Brian also remembers some great advice given by his baseball coach, Gordie Gillespie: “Don’t come to St. Francis for the baseball, come here for the great education you will receive and for the degree!” Luckily, some athletes like Brian and others mentioned in this story got the degree AND were able to experience an exciting athletics career— making memories of a lifetime.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2019–2020



CELEBRATING These stunning pieces competed in a juried art exhibit that was held virtually by the USF Art Gallery at the end of the year. Students did not have to be Art & Design majors to participate!







» 11





» 13


» 15


Janelle Marie Suriaga

Hannah Knight

E. Porter

Majors: Biochemistry and Biology 1 Saturday Afternoon, acrylic on canvas, 2020

Major: Nursing

Major: Art & Design

6 I’m so board, photography, 2020

» 11 Broccoli, photography, 2020

7 MOOve Over

12 Nieces, photography, 2020


Diana Ortega Major: Secondary Education, History 2 Little Rebel, 2020 3 Under the Tracks, photography, 2020 Emily Torres

Lindsay Mohrmann

Liliana Gomez

Major: Recreation and sport management, minor in therapeutic recreation

Major: Art

8 Dinner Time, acrylic on canvas, outlined in sharpie, 2020

Major: Graphic Design

» 4 Intertwined, photography, 2020 5 Bloom, photography, 2020

Danielle Koska Major: Radiography 9 Chicago Buildings, photography, 2019 10 Cubed, photography, 2019

» 13 Untitled 1, photography, 2020 14 Untitled 3, photography, 2020 Rosita Ponce  Major: Nursing

» 15 Fabric and Flowers, acrylic paint on canvas, 2018  16 Spanish Windowsill, oil pastel on paper, 2018


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» Class of 2020 Art & Design majors

ROCKY DEL REAL » Senior Art & Design Major

NIKKA GONZALES » Senior Art & Design Major

“As a graphic designer, I am interested in all types of design work. To display my

“In an effort to display my passion for design, illustration and print making, I

passion for design, I decided to create a Chicago-based clothing brand called

created illustrations of my professors, and I screen printed them onto T-shirts.

RAD. Growing up a huge soccer fan, I was always interested in what the

Are used the subject as a way to memorialize the time and memories I spent in

professionals were wearing both on and off the field. While this initial release

college. The illustrations display an anaglyph effect that maintains the aspect of

focuses solely on street where, RAD will look to expand its horizons and create

design in the shirt. The T-shirts display playful humor from its subjects being

stylish clothing designed to be worn before, during, and after the game.”

depicted as characters as well as its concept of being displayed in the same space as the original three-dimensional subject in person.”

Rocky Del Real, Red Long Sleeve Logo, 2020

Nikka Gonzales, 3-D Paul preview, screen print on t-shirt, 2020

AUSTIN HINES » Senior Art & Design Major

LAUREN TUIDER » Senior Art & Design Major

“My creative work consists of eight large-scale paintings depicting figures

“As a capstone project for my graphic design education, I have created a

screaming. The individual paintings themselves combine two concepts. One is

sample of two wedding stationery packages. These packages have been been

that they're large and unruly and in your face. The second is that each depiction

expanded into three different color variations to display customization options

has its own kind of discomforting aura around it. I have always been interested

for clients. Package one’s design was aimed towards general weddings,

in making work that can express various reactions, and painting with more

following modern wedding styles such as floral graphics. Package two’s design

aggressive strokes can build up more expression. Those expressions that are

was aimed towards destination weddings, incorporating travel themes.”

built up by the paint help form into what the viewer can observe as being somebody screaming.”

Austin Hines, Sour Gummies, 39x60", acrylic on canvas, 2019

Lauren Tuider, Floral Wedding Package: Alexander and Samantha, pink color variation, 2020

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020



COLLEGE ACCESS FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST USF Announces Will County Access Initiative Scholarship As the University of St. Francis continues to celebrate its history throughout 2020, Joliet’s only four-year university is also working to lay the foundation for its next 100 years. One way the university hopes to accomplish this is through the establishment of the new Will County Access Initiative, which is a full-tuition scholarship that will benefit academically talented commuter students from underserved populations who dream of earning a college degree. It is important to note that all students who meet the established qualifications will receive the scholarship. “The Will County Access Initiative is a mission-inspired approach to offering a high-quality, private university education to students who may have never realized that this option was open to them. This will create additional opportunities for local students to earn their college degrees without the worry of incurring student loan debt,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. “This initiative has been authorized by our board of trustees as a result of the continued, spectacular success of Caritas 2020 and in affirmation of our mission—especially in light of our Centennial celebration. A USF degree has meaningful, lifetime value and prepares students to meet the challenges and potential of an


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uncertain future. Higher education helps people learn more and earn more, helps students build skills and knowledge that launches and sustains careers, and supports the communities in which those students live and work,” Johnson added. Financial support made available in the form of initiatives such as the Will County Access Initiative play an important role for USF students. Each year, over half of USF’s incoming freshman class is comprised of first-generation college students, which means that these students are the first in their family to attend college. Over the past ten years, an average of 58% of incoming freshmen have been first-generation college students. Responding to this need is important to the university’s sponsors. “The Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate are proud and excited that our sponsored ministry, the University of St. Francis, has identified this important way to celebrate its centennial and continue our mission,” said Sr. Dolores Zemont, OSF, president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. “Our congregation has always been committed to respond to the needs of those we serve, and this is a perfect example of that commitment. We are very grateful to USF for this and for all that they do to carry out the mission of our congregation."

USF trustee Cheryl McCarthy, Ed.D., sees the university’s new initiative as a fitting way to celebrate the centennial. “This scholarship opportunity is a perfect way to celebrate the centennial. As a first generation graduate, I know how many barriers one must go through to attain a degree. The scholarship will provide the opportunity to develop our future leaders and put them in a position to serve their communities. It will also provide hope for talented and motivated students who cannot fathom how they could ever afford the opportunity of attending the University of St. Francis,” she said. The Will County Access Initiative scholarship will help to raise the awareness of area high school students, reminding them of the high-quality, higher education opportunities that USF offers. Even if a student does not qualify for the Will County Access Initiative sscholarship, the University of St. Francis provides over $20 million in institutional aid to its students each year through academic, athletic, and needbased scholarships, which makes earning a USF degree possible. USF is currently accepting applications for the Will County Access Initiative scholarship. Visit stfrancis.edu/apply to apply for enrollment, and then visit stfrancis.edu/access for more information.

JOLIET CHAMBER HONORS USF WITH 2019 EDUCATION AWARD The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosts its Annual Dinner and Celebration of Success event which honors area businesses, organizations and individuals for their contributions to the Joliet area. USF was one of this year's honorees and was presented with the chamber’s 2019 Education Award. “The University of St. Francis thanks the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry for this award, which comes during our centennial year," said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., after accepting the award on the university’s behalf. "USF has been a proud partner of the Joliet region and the communities we have served for 100 years. We look forward to continuing that in our second century as Joliet’s Catholic and Franciscan university. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but what we are particularly proud of are the over 25,000 USF alumni who live in Illinois—many in Will County and many in Joliet. They make incredible contributions to the community because we have prepared them to contribute to the world through service and leadership."

SCHMITT SCHOLAR PROJECT LEADS TO OPENING OF SENSORY ROOM USF students have a new option for relieving stress thanks to USF's Schmitt Scholars, who recently opened a sensory room on the main campus. The room, located on the third floor of the LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Library, offers students and employees a calming place to unwind and refocus through activities that appeal to the five senses—sight, touch, taste, sound and smell. The Schmitt Scholars program, made possible by the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation, was founded to develop students into socially responsible leaders who take what they learn out into the world after they graduate. Schmitt Scholar Morayma Barron '20, who helped with the project, added, “We recognize that students are often stressed and feel tired. We also recognize that students are facing many challenges and overwhelming situations that don’t allow them to focus. This space is meant to stimulate a person’s senses and help them be more mindful of the now.”

T. SEAN DIESEL, DOM, PA-C NAMED DIRECTOR OF USF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM In September, the College of Business and Health Administration welcomed USF's recently re-accredited Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program into its program lineup, and also welcomed Sean Diesel as the program's new director. The PA program is located at USF's Albuquerque campus. Diesel is a 2009 graduate of the USF PA program and has built an impressive resume including extensive work in the fields of family medicine, emergency medicine, integrative medicine, and healthcare administration. His credentials include certification by the National Certification Commission of Physician Assistants and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He has been involved with state and local societies, as well as the American Herbalists Guild. He has completed numerous hours of continuing education in integrative and functional medicine, and is currently completing certification through the Institute for Functional Medicine. Diesel strongly believes in the intrinsic healing power of the human body, and practices medicine in the model of personalized care with equal attention to mind, body and spirit. He realized early in his medical training that we must strive to identify the root causes of disease, and not focus solely on the symptoms of an illness.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


USF NEWS FIVE USF ONLINE PROGRAMS RECOGNIZED BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT U.S. News & World Report released its 2020 Best Online Programs and USF is proud to announce that five of its online programs were recognized in the publication including: » Online Bachelor’s Programs top 16% nationally (third highest ranked private program in Illinois) » Online Graduate Education Program top 19% nationally (top-ranked private program in Illinois) » Online Graduate Business Program (excluding MBA) top 34% nationally (top-ranked private program in Illinois) » Online MBA Program top 44% nationally (top-ranked private program in Illinois) » Online Nursing Program top 45% nationally (4th highest ranked private program in Illinois) The variety and availability of quality online education program options continues to increase from year to year as more and more colleges and universities across the U.S. expand their academic offerings, but USF continues to stand out among its peers. “With more competition, and more schools trying to provide online programs, USF quality continues to rise and our ranking shows that,” said Eric Wignall, USF vice president of admissions, enrollment services and marketing. Visit usnews.com/education/online-education for more information on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Online Programs rankings.


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CRIMINAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE STUDENTS HELP MAKE THE HOLIDAYS SPECIAL FOR FAMILIES This winter, students in USF's Criminal and Social Justice program had a unique opportunity to bridge academic coursework with practical application while making a difference for the families of some of Will County’s incarcerated. The result of the opportunity provided Christmas gifts for area children who have a parent that's currently participating in Will County’s Problem-Solving Courts. In mid-October, USF assistant professor Stacy Dewald, Ph.D., and her students partnered with Diana Murillo, social worker for the Will County Problem-Solving Courts, and Julie Sterr-McCabe, Will County ProblemSolving Court coordinator, to facilitate The Reading Project, which engaged participants in Will County’s four problem-solving courts (drug court, mental health court, veteran’s count and Adult Redeploy Illinois). Incarcerated participants were able to select a children’s book to read to their child(ren) as USF students videotaped them reading. The USF students burned the recordings to DVDs and then gift-wrapped the DVDs and books, which were given to the participants’ children during the holiday season. “As a teacher, I want to connect the students to their own larger professional world as a way to encourage them to network and engage with those in the criminal justice field,” said Dewald, who formerly served as an investigator in the Will County Public Defender’s Office. She added that the experience was one that not only gave back to the community, but that also reflected the Franciscan values of USF. “I enjoyed watching the students grow as they gave back to their community. One of the best parts of the project was that it supported the Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity as students humanized people that oftentimes our society views as invisible,” she said.

MIDLAND STATES BANK FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANT TO LEACH COLLEGE OF NURSING The Midland States Bank Foundation recently presented the University of St. Francis Leach College of Nursing with a $5,000 grant to support community nursing and primary care research for community health care. Dan Stevenson, Midland States Bank senior vice president of banking and Cornell Lurry, Midland States Bank regional community development relationship manager presented the grant check to the university. “As Joliet’s only four-year university, USF is proud of the support it receives from community-based organizations such as Midland States Bank and the Midland States Bank Foundation. This grant will support community nursing and primary care research for community health care, and serves as a reminder of the power of partnership. We sincerely thank the Midland States Bank Foundation for its support of our university and our students,” said USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.

“The primary output of this alliance is to develop a sustainable National Center for Reading Intervention and Research in India with a sustainable resources for reading intervention and research. The outcomes of this alliance, primarily through the National Center are to equip educational institutions and teacher training centers in India with resources and methods to teach reading to students using evidence-based practices and assess the impact of using reading interventions,” said Srimani Chakravarthi, Ph.D., USF College of Education professor. For more information about the partnership or to become a philanthropic supporter of the collaborative literacy effort, please contact Chakravarthi at schakravarthi@stfrancis.edu.

INDIA, UNITED STATES LITERACY PARTNERSHIP EYED BY USF AND FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY According to the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development’s 2018 Statistics At a Glance, as many as eight million students in India drop out of school by the time they reach eighth grade. One of the primary causes of the dropouts is the low quality of education at the primary grade level, including the absence of effective reading programs. In an effort to address improve these conditions and provide better educational opportunities for children, USF and the Florida Center for Reading Research Florida State University are entering a five-year partnership with the National Council of Education Research Training in India. The goal of the project is to establish a sustainable National Center for Reading Intervention and Research in India.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020




When the Coronavirus came to town, everything changed. “COVID” quickly became a term that even six-year-olds started using. And like every other school, business and family out there, the University of St. Francis also had to make some big adjustments, including moving in-person classes to an online format. At the University of St. Francis, online learning was already taking place in the graduate program arena, so the challenge was to get the undergraduate students, who were used to meeting face-to-face, into the online space. Thankfully, the USF Department of Academic Technology and Information Technology teams were at the ready to provide teachers with the instructions and help needed to make this kind of transition possible. Assistant professor Dr. Bonnie Covelli from the College of Business & Health Administration is proud of how her college adapted. "Our team has a long history of delivering curriculum online; however, not all courses are designed in this modality. The motion never stopped to support our students in this new reality. Not once did I hear someone say, ‘I can’t do it,’ or ‘it won’t work.’ Those who were more experienced jumped in to help others," she said. Audrey Davis in USF’s Social Work Department also felt proud of the way her colleagues helped each other and made the transition an easy one. “It's great to be part of department committed to meet the needs of our students during this time of uncertainty, she said. “The swift transition to online course delivery has been an adjustment to both faculty and students, but I'm proud to say that we are adapting well to our present ‘normal.'" Finally, some classes have been having great fun while navigating unknown territory… literally! In English professor Karen Duys’ literature class, students used Zoom to visit Google Maps together and explore the Old City of Jerusalem. Said Duys, “We used Street View to wander through the the city's souk in the footsteps of Mr. Mani, the protagonist of the Israeli novel by Yehoshua I'm teaching. We ended up on the Temple Mount and went inside the Dome of the Rock where Abraham is said to have almost sacrificed Isaac, a narrative that the novel turns every which way. Although we tend to experience what we read, it is hard to do so when you don't know the setting. We remedied that problem, soaring over the city and, each one of us with our small screen, and pushing our way through crowded passages, skipping up steps, turning down narrow lanes, passing under graceful arches, and getting deliciously lost.” Two days later, Duys enthusiastically reported in a follow-up message… “Yeah! Today we walked down the Via Dolorosa where Jesus carried the cross!” Since then, many individuals at the University of St. Francis have stepped forward in an effort to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspired by the university's value of service. Some have provided materials and equipment for front line professionals, incuding Jessica Monu, assistant professor in USF’s Recreation and Sport Management program, who recently formed a sewing group through her


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church to make masks for essential workers in a variety of settings. “Many front line professionals are working without masks. My aunt, who works in the hospice field, was one of them until I made and sent several to her," she said. Monu’s sewing group has made and donated over 500 masks to Good Samaritan Hospital, Edwards Hospital; Rezin Orthopedics; Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital; Optimal Case Management; Riverside Village and DuPage Care Center. Masks were also given to several area emergency medical technicians. While Monu's group was making masks, the Leach College of Nursing was preparing to donate real medical masks to Silver Cross Hospital, which was in need of supplies. “We learned that Silver Cross needed masks. We were able to gather and donate several N95 and R95 masks, 300 procedural masks, 200 procedural masks with face shields to help address their need,” said Jennifer Wills-Savoia, teaching instructor and clinical simulation and learning specialist at USF. Finally, other departments helped hearts and souls by offering wellness and self-care tips through the quarantine. Virtual mindfulness sessions were offered by Dr. Cindy Sloan in the College of Education, and USF's counseling and wellness staff offered weekly wellness tips with their “Living Wise & Well” blogs, posted on Fridays on social media. Faculty from the Social Work Department also put together a fun video to share ways individuals could care for themselves during these uncertain times.

Colorful fabric masks made and donated by USF faculty member Jessica Monu and her church sewing group.

Q&A: Front-line Mother/Daughter Duo » TRICIA ROGGE ’10, MOM OF MADELYN Tricia Rogge obtained her BSN from USF in December of 2010 at the age of 38. She went back to school as a promise to her father, who was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. Before he died, he made Tricia promise to finish nursing school, which she had started in the early 90s. As director of nursing at Home Quality Care in Morris, Illinois, she is responsible for the daily organization of care for patients who are discharged from hospitals or doctor's offices and are unable to care for themselves or administer needed skilled care in the home.

What your daily routine like now that COVID has come to town? When this pandemic first started there were so many patients and families that were terrified to have anyone in the home but needed health services. Our trusting staff gives an amazing level of support when it comes to concerns. The biggest part of the day-to-day change for me has been going into patient homes with all the PPE [personal protective equipment] required—it does not feel as personal while trying to coordinate care for patients when they are so worried about the pandemic. I have many conversations with staff, patients and families to reassure them that my team is doing everything possible to keep them safe—education is the key and USF has prepared me for that!

What's the most challenging thing you’ve witnessed in the pandemic? The most challenging/difficult thing I've experienced during this time has been watching people I care about (both patients, staff and families) go through the heartache of what this pandemic has caused. From the financial decline to the death of loved ones, it has been horrible to watch these very same, strong, loving people deal with such uncertainty. The unknown is a horrible thing, but personally, my faith and trust in God is what gets me through many of the stressful and anxiety-filled days.

We’re sure we don’t need to ask this, but are you proud of your daughter, who is following in your footsteps? I have always told my girls (Paige and Madelyn) that if they did what they loved, they would never work a day in their life. Madelyn and I had visited several universities that had accepted her, however, after two visits she decided on USF. She told me the decision maker was the counselor who had showed so much personal interest in her success at USF. She stated, “It wasn’t about money—I could tell he really cared about my future.” So began her journey at USF. She overcame many obstacles during the last few weeks of school with the pandemic. Knowing she graduated 10 years after me from the same program makes me proud. I am excited to watch her be pinned with my nursing pin from 10 years ago. Though the pinning ceremony was not able to happen, I will be sure to have a private pinning to complete the time-honored tradition that Florence Nightingale started in 1916. By the way, Madelyn was born on May 12—Florence Nightingale’s birthday! I believe she was born to be a nurse.

» MADELYN ROGGE ’20 Madelyn graduated in May with the 2020 centennial class, earning a BSN with a psychology minor. She screens people for COVID-19-like signs and symptoms at a nuclear power plant. Her duties include ensuring that the men and women who are permitted to come to work are of good health and have not been exposed to others who have possibly contracted the virus.

Your work life has likely done a complete turnaround since all of this started, can you explain? I have been working from 5 a.m.-5 p.m., five to six days a week, so my days consist of a long time behind an N95 mask, face shield and any other PPE you can think of. I have been approached by many who are concerned about the virus and I have answered many questions about immunology, health status, and comorbidities.

What's the most inspiring thing you've witnessed in the pandemic? I was on my way home from work one day and I stopped to get gas. While at the pump, a middle-aged man peeked around the pump and asked me, "Are you a health care worker?" Of course I replied proudly, "Yup, sure am!" He then said in the most genuine tone, "Thank you for all you are doing." His statement brought me tears, I had never been thanked for just doing my job. Of course patients of mine have thanked me and their family, but I did nothing for this man and he saw the exhaustion in my eyes and I am sure the lines from the mask on my face, and he thanked me. I have never felt so appreciated as a health care worker than I did in that moment.

Was your mom’s job influential in you deciding to come to USF? I wouldn't say it was my mom’s specific job more as it was a single story. She had told me how she performed CPR on a person on a plane and the person lived. I just thought to myself, “I want to do that, I want to be able to save a life.” With my love and passion for helping others and watching my mother cry and laugh over telling stories of her patients, there was no way I could go into any other field.

Do you feel like your USF education has prepared you well? So many professors made a lasting impact on my nursing skills and thought processes. I, like my mom, had Mario Paulino as a professor and after having him for three classes he was probably the most influential teacher I had. He taught me the basics and foundations of nursing. I will also never forget Samantha Whiteaker, who stressed compassion and advocating for our patients. Completing nursing school was the hardest thing I have ever done, and now I am studying to take my NCLEX, which is the nursing licensure exam. I know I could not have done any of it without my mom and God by my side.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020




USF’S ALUMNI & FAMILY RELATIONS OFFICE ANNOUNCES JESSICA CONTE ‘13 AS NEW ASSISTANT DIRECTOR The Alumni and Family Relations Office recently named Jessica Conte ’13 as its new assistant director. In her new role, Conte’s primary responsibilities will include assisting with creation and promotion of alumni events and programs that foster affinity and support; serving as an adviser to the Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) student group as well as assist with programs that engage current students before graduation; helping drive family association communication to keep parents connected to the university; and managing alumni social media pages and marketing efforts. “I am excited Jessica joined our team because of her extensive social media experience, high level of organization, and the creativity she brings to her new role,” said Aubrey Knight ’04, ’07, USF Director of Alumni and Family Relations. Conte worked in the marketing field for a few years prior to returning to USF in 2016 as the Marketing Services department’s marketing project manager. Conte, who formally began her new role on April 1, is now ready to transition her experiences into a new role at USF. “I am most looking forward to serving fellow alumni and helping them stay connected to USF, whether that is through Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, our Student Alumni Mentoring program, or any of the alumni office’s many other events and programs,” Conte said. Jessica Conte graduated from the University of St. Francis in 2013 with a B.A. in English and will graduate in spring 2020 with an MBA. A proud resident of Joliet, Conte loves the Cathedral Area and supporting Joliet’s local restaurants and businesses. She is married to her high school sweetheart and enjoys gardening, traveling, hosting parties, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.

Life After Graduation We want to celebrate your accomplishments and major life events in future issues of Engaging Mind & Spirit Magazine Submit news about marriages, births, adoptions, job

Several alumni and friends enjoyed the Alumni & Family Relations Office’s Virtual 5K in April, including Megan (Kearney) Drozd ’05, ’09 and her family.

THE ALUMNI & FAMILY RELATIONS OFFICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA The Alumni & Family Relations Office has been having even more fun with social media in lieu of all the events that unfortunately had to be canceled because of COVID-19. Their alumni graduation cap contest collected 320 likes, 111 comments and 203 shares. Their graduation "congratulations" video garnered over 2,500 views. "We’ve seen a huge increase in followers," says Alumni & Family Relations Director Aubrey Knight, "and because of this, we are adapting and creatively engaging our alumni on social media during this time!"


RETURNING TO LEARNING? Alumni, want to expand your career horizons with a graduate or doctoral degree, or a graduate or postmaster's certificate?


promotions and more, and you’ll be entered to win an

Convenient courses start six times a year. And, if you just

alumni swag bag!

graduated, we offer a 10% discount for those who continue straight into a graduate degree! Learn more and schedule a virtual

stfrancis.edu/alumni/update-information 28

Engaging Mind & Spirit Magazine

or phone visit with a counselor:


SAINTS SWEETHEARTS Jacelyn (Daniels ’17) and Darren ’17 Desmarais received over 600 votes and 140 shares on social media after the Alumni & Family Relations Office hosted a contest for fans to vote for their favorite “Saints Sweethearts!” The happy couple won a $25 Cooper’s Hawk gift card and a customized brick paver to be installed on the Quad walkway. The University of St. Francis currently has more than 400 happily married alumni couples who found love at USF. More on the program can be found here stfrancis.edu/alumni/sweethearts.

GIVING BACK USF RECEIVES NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES GRANT USF received the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant of $34,999 for the development of a new Pathways curriculum that will connect humanities offerings with a wide range of interdisciplinary courses for incoming freshmen. Daniel Houser, Ph.D., is the project lead for this grant, and Debra Workman, Ph.D., helped write the grant. USF is dedicated to cultivating the humanistic engagement of the great issues of the human experience and fostering growth in students’ world-views and wisdom, developing citizens who can ask informed questions and foster social justice and equality through a



deeper understanding of human histories and cultures. The goal of this planning project is to design a program that integrates the humanities into USF students’ general education requirements in a way that makes clear to the students how the humanities are relevant to their holistic education, whether they are majoring in a liberal arts or a professional discipline. Planning (and implementing) the interdisciplinary humanitiesfocused program described here will reaffirm the central importance of the humanities in the education of students here at USF and better prepare them for their future lives.

Daniel Houser, Ph.D

Debra Workman, Ph.D


Honor USF’s Centennial by Including Your Family’s Name on the Gateway The new Centennial Gateway will honor the university’s 100-year heritage, recognize USF supporters and provide a warm welcome to campus. The landscape design features a stone gateway and signage, a stone patio and seating area, and a bronze statue of Saint Francis of Assisi and a Saint Bernard. These special features will welcome current students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to campus for years to come.


Engaging Mind & Spirit Magazine

The university also believes the charm, color, and beauty of the landscaping will be a fitting remembrance of USF’s patron, who is known for his love of nature and creation. Spaces, such as this one, will be the heart of USF’s mission as a welcoming community of learners. Plans to construct this beautiful new Gateway are underway for summer 2020. USF aspires to include the names of 100 alumni and friends (in

honor of the 100-year anniversary) on the Centennial Gateway Donor wall. You can help us reach our 100 alumni and friend goal with a gift to the Centennial Gateway. For a pledge and/or gift of $5,000 (payable in one year or over up to 3 years), your name will be included on the Gateway. For more information, visit stfrancis.edu/centennial-campaign or call 815-740-3613.

CARITAS Planning for the 64th Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball in 2021 Save the date for the 64th Annual Caritas Scholarship Ball on Saturday, January 30, 2021. USF hopes to again host the event in the Pat Sullivan Center on campus. If it cannot be held in person due to pandemic restrictions, it will be held virtually. The 64th annual Caritas chairpersons are Ann ’80 and Steven Randich ’79 and Corey ’97 and Stephen Carbery. USF is delighted to have their leadership to ensure the success of this year’s event. Caritas has raised more than $2 million in scholarship support in just seven years and more than $5 million in its history. This event helps students receive scholarships who may not have been able to attend college without financial assistance. Ann and Steve Randich have attended Caritas for more than 25 years. “As one of Will County’s longest-running black tie events, it has been spectacular to reminisce about the various ways Caritas has changed and evolved. From the theme, setting, ambiance, music, auction items and everything else, each year brings a new way to highlight and provide scholarships for Joliet’s only four-year university,” said Steve.

Ann says she hopes to enjoy Caritas in person. “Reflecting on the most recent 2020 Caritas, it is hard to imagine how much our world has changed. As we all have been sheltering in place, it has really given us an opportunity to reflect on what is most important. Certainly, for both of us, USF is as important today as it was when we graduated many years ago. We know things will change, but the values and mission of the University of St. Francis will remain the same," said Ann. When the Carberys were asked why they are involved with Caritas, they responded that helping to raise money for student scholarships is their way to giving back to the University of St. Francis and the Joliet community. “We hope our prior fundraising experience and leadership skills will engage others to help support Caritas,” said Corey.

Photos from the Caritas Centennial Scholarship Gala, held on January 25, 2020.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020


GIVING BACK LAROCCO ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP REACHES $100,000 IN HONOR OF USF’S 100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY Having met at a young age, Kathy and Michael LaRocco say it was “love at first sight.” They have been married for 52 years, have a son and three grandchildren. Their love story intertwines with the story of the University of St. Francis as the university is, and has always been, a very important part of their lives. Mike served in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps. When he returned from war, he went on to earn his undergraduate and graduate degrees and then worked a couple of years in business. While working as a graduate assistant, he met Tony Zordan and they became fast friends. Mike started teaching business and coaching baseball at then-CSF in 1978. He enjoyed it so much that he contacted Tony and told him about a professor of accounting job that was open. Tony joined Mike at USF and their friendship has continued to grow through the years. Mike swiftly progressed through the academic and administrative ranks. He led in the design of the university’s first business program, as well as the Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management programs. Mike also cared about his students. If someone did not come to class, Mike would call them to see how they were. His students described him as “tough, but fair.” Zordan commented, “Mike cares deeply for each person he meets. That

comes through in every conversation.” Kathy earned her education degree at the College of St. Francis. Reflecting on her time in college, Kathy says her professors were inspiring and they taught her to never give up. She comments how her professors made a big difference in her life and how even when life has its challenges, she perseveres. When Mike retired in 2011 from USF after 33 years of dedicated service, many of his colleagues came together and started the Dr. Michael V. LaRocco Endowed Scholarship for a veteran or a student from a family of a veteran. Kathy and Mike have had much joy in meeting their scholarship recipients through the years. It makes them happy to leave a legacy to help students earn their college degrees. In honor of the university’s 100-year anniversary, Kathy and Mike made a generous donation to bring the Dr. Michael V. LaRocco Endowed scholarship up to $100,000. Kathy said, “USF and the many wonderful people we’ve met through the university have been the heart of our lives for so many years. We wanted to do something to be a part of the centennial. This will definitely be a year to be remembered—even if it didn’t all necessarily go as planned. USF is definitely a treasure to be celebrated.”

ESTATE PLANNED GIFT FROM BILL AND MARGARET BENOIT TO HELP SUPPORT FUTURE GENERATIONS OF USF STUDENTS Margaret Benoit ’69 grew up on a farm in Wilmington, Illinois and attended the College of St. Francis, where she majored in English and minored in music and education. Margaret says she loved every minute of her college experience, largely due to the friendships she made. After graduation, she became a teacher in Joliet District 86 and taught for over 30 years. Margaret met Bill, her future husband and fellow District 86 teacher, during a teachers’ bowling league. They quickly fell in love, married, had a lovely daughter, Beth, and have truly lived happily ever after. Both Margaret and Bill have stayed connected to USF through the years. Bill worked as a field experience supervisor in the College of Education after he retired from teaching and both he and Margaret return to campus often, including attending Margaret’s 50th class reunion last October. Bill and Margaret have included USF in their estate plans and are members of the Three Oaks Society.

» “We have had very meaningful connections with USF that have enriched and shaped our lives through the years. We believe that it is important to pay our blessings forward. We are grateful to support USF, and it is our hope that future graduates will exemplify and instill in others theFranciscan values that mean so much to us,” said Margaret. «

Class of 1969 graduates at their 50th Reunion.

We at USF are proud that many of our alumni and friends, like Bill and Margaret, choose to entrust their legacy to us. It is our privilege to use those gifts to support the University of St. Francis experience for future generations of students. Planned gifts allow you to leave a legacy and make a difference at the university. For more information, visit stfrancisgiftplans.org or call 815-740-3613.

Celebrating Our Centennial in 2020



500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, Illinois 60435

The University of St. Francis was founded and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Admissions event information or registration: 800-735-7500 • admissions@stfrancis.edu stfrancis.edu/visit OR /openhouse Alumni event information or registration: 877-811-ALUM • alumni@stfrancis.edu stfrancis.edu/alumni/events Athletics information or game schedules: 815-740-3464 • gofightingsaints.com Donor, community and centennial events or giving information: 815-740-3748 • stfrancis.edu/give • stfrancis.edu/centennial

For information about all other university events and activities: 800-735-7500 • stfrancis.edu

USF Art Gallery exhibitions and hours: 815-740-3787 • jmoore@stfrancis.edu