- University of St. Francis
The University of St. Francis is a
Catholic, Franciscaninstitution, serving more than 4,300 students at locations throughout the nation. USF's main campus is located at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet, Illinois. It is located about 35 miles southwest of Chicago in a residential neighborhood and serves 1,300 students.
USF is named for St. Francis of Assisi. The university was established in 1920 by the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for the education of its own members. In 1925, under the title Assisi Junior College, its doors opened to women outside the congregation. With the beginning of the fall term of 1930, a senior college curriculum was established and a new name, the College of St. Francis was adopted. In 1971, during an aborted merger with nearby
Lewis University, the college became co-educational, and the first off-campus degree programs were begun in the fall of 1972.
The University of St. Francis quickly became a leader in adult education. In 1972, the then college initiated a program for registered nurses to complete the bachelor's degree. Under the direction of Dr. Arnie Good, the program soon expanded to several Midwestern states. By 1985, the program enrolled almost 2,500 students at over 100 locations in 19 states. In 1997, the university launched its first online Internet course. Piloted by Dr. Michael LaRocco, this MBA course soon expanded to include all courses as the MBA program became completely available online.
In 1972, shortly after becoming coeducational, the college inaugurated collegiate sports. Coach Elmer Bell established a soon to be successful men's basketball program as well as a cross country team. In the fall 1976, the college landed a nationally recognized coach in the person of Gordon Gillespie. Gillespie brought with him an up and coming basketball coach named Patrick Sullivan. These two men expanded the number of collegiate sports and established the first women's programs in volleyball, basketball and softball, all under the auspices of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). USF soon became a national powerhouse eventually winning a national baseball title in 1993 under Gillespie, one of America's most successful coaches.
In 1980, a master’s program in health services administration was offered and this was followed in the early 1990s by several more graduate offerings. In 1997, the college acquired the Saint Joseph College of Nursing. This school, also founded in 1920, had at first been a diploma nursing school. In 1987, it became a baccalaureate institution that awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The Board of Trustees of the College of St. Francis voted in May 1997 to move to university status; effective January 1, 1998, the institution became the University of St. Francis.
The university today
The University of St. Francis is undergoing a period of expansion. In 2004, the university purchased the recently vacated Motherhouse from the founding congregation, and has since renovated it into a conference and meeting center as well as a new home for the College of Nursing and Allied Health. The CONAH provides students with high tech classroom space, skills lab, extensive computer support and a SIM lab for hands on critical care practice. The SIM lab, funded by a federal nursing grant, is outfitted to resemble various units in a hospital, like an emergency room, intensive care unit, and labor and delivery rooms. USF students have the rare opportunity to practice on the SIM family and prepare their skills for the real world.
In the summer of 2005, the university renovated Marian Residence Hall. The 1967 building was fitted with life-safety protection, new restrooms, upgraded windows, wireless Internet, community lounges, computer/study lounges and all new modular furniture in student rooms. The ground floor Abbey features a student commons area, juice bar, TV and game room.
Long-term plans call for further expansion of the university into the surrounding neighborhood, though great care is being taken to respect the Upper Bluff National Historic District and the Cathedral Area Preservation Association, both of which have interests in the area.
The university is well known for its academic quality. Nursing graduates consistently experience a pass rate well into the 90th percentile. Placements rates of graduates into jobs or graduate school is on average 93 percent. Teacher certification candidates are highly sought after and experience high placement rates. Many academic programs have specialized accreditation in addition to the institutions overall accreditation. The university's Mock Trial program, a nationally recognized academic competition whereby students perform as trial attorneys, is nationally ranked, having qualified for the national championship tournament in 2006 and 2007 and having won an honor for an All-American Attorney two consecutive years. The University of St. Francis team has competed against schools such as Yale and the University of Chicago with great success.
The University of St. Francis is also known for having a well-run Mass Communication department that allows students entering the program to host their own radio shows. One of the most popular radio shows between 2004 and 2007 was "Juke Box Classics", which was hosted by Jen Marentic and Lauren Madlener. The show went off the air on Friday, May 11, 2007 after a 12-hour marathon.
The current president of the University of St. Francis, Dr. Michael Vinciguerra, was appointed to office in 2002 and is the university's seventh president.
University of St. Francis has five academic areas: College of Arts and Sciences, College of BusinessCollege of Education, College of Nursing and Allied Health and College of Professional Studies
The USF Saints compete in eight men's sports and eight women's sports. Men's sports are: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track and field. Women's sports are: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, spiritline, tennis, track and field and volleyball. The Saints compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) and the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA).
On the playing field, USF has made 63 NAIA National Tournament appearances, claimed 73 District 20/CCAC national qualifying tournaments, won 60 CCAC championships and produced 79 NAIA All-Americans.
Bernie the St. Bernard is USF's mascot.
*Dr. Therese Southgate, former editor, AMA Journal
*Joseph Shankland, President/CEO, Jay Food Corporation
*Carolyn Murphy, Vice President for Operations (ret.), CNA Insurance
*Craig Herkert, executive Vice President/CEO, The Americas Wal-Mart International Division
*James P. Thompson, Senior Vice President/COO, United Parcel Services
*James R. Hamilton, Senior Vice President, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
* [http://www.stfrancis.edu/ Official website]
* [http://www.stfrancis.edu/lib/ USF Library]
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