IDHS Grant Leads to Two New CRSS Success Program Cohorts

USF College of Arts & Sciences logo

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Thanks to another grant from the , the Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) Success program at the University of St. Francis (USF) will continue to provide full tuition and wrap-around supports for students who complete its high-quality, recovery support training and supervised practical experience. 听

USF鈥檚 CRSS program, which launched in fall 2022 with an initial cohort of 19 students, will welcome two new cohorts this coming academic year (up to 20 students each in fall 2024 and spring 2025). The program trains individuals with lived experience of mental health or co-occurring mental health and substance use recovery to leverage their experience to support others facing these challenges. Tuition is free for accepted applicants through June 2025 through the support of over $1.14 million in state grant funding from the IDHS Division of Mental Health.

“Students who have successfully completed the CRSS Success Program at USF have been gainfully employed in the field of behavioral health in a variety of settings, including substance use treatment, community mental health, and other non-profit settings. Training experience both in the classroom and the field practicum prepares students to share their lived experience in a way that promotes hope and change in those they serve, advocates for diverse and marginalized populations, assists in increased access to care/treatment, and reduces stigma around mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders,” said Patricia Ferdon, MSW, LCSW, CCTP, CRSS Teaching Instructor and Internship Coordinator.

For more information on the program, including how to apply for fall registration, visit stfrancis.edu/crss or contact Marcia Van Natta, MHS, BA, CADC, CODP II, CRSS Project Director and Instructor at mvannatta@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3779. Student applications for the fall 2024 cohort are due by Friday, August 2, 2024. Applications received after this date will be added to a wait list for the spring 2025 semester.

About the CRSS Program

The CRSS program, now in its third year, is housed within the USF Psychology department along with USF鈥檚 Substance Abuse Counseling (SAC) program. The SAC program, an addiction treatment program, received full accreditation from the Illinois Certification Board (ICB) in November 2015. In 2023, USF was awarded a $125,000 subgrant through ICB鈥檚 Certified Alcohol and other Drug Counselor (CADC) Workforce Expansion Program to provide tuition and wraparound supports to students in the SAC program working towards CADC certification. USF鈥檚 CADC program is modeled after its successful CRSS Success program; both of these grants provide financial support to USF students as they work towards CRSS or CADC certification.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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Money Names USF in Best Colleges in America 2024 Ratings Report

USF's Centennial Gateway

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Each year, Money recognizes colleges and universities from across the country that successfully combine quality and affordability and recognizes them in its annual Best Colleges in America ratings report. This year鈥檚 report included over 700 four-year colleges and universities, including the University of St. Francis and 33 other Illinois-based institutions.

The methodology utilized by Money to create its Best Colleges in America 2024 ratings report examined schools according 25 factors in three weighted categories 鈥 quality of education (30% of weighting), affordability (40% of weighting), and outcomes (30% of weighting). Based on the results of that analysis, the schools are then assigned a star rating on a scale of one to five stars (five stars is the highest rating possible). USF was one of fifteen Illinois schools to earn a rating of 4.5 stars or higher in this year鈥檚 ratings report.

Money‘s analysis showcases the country’s top colleges based on graduation rates, cost of attendance, financial aid, alumni salaries and more. There isn’t one 鈥榖est鈥 college for every student, but our star ratings can help you build a list of standout schools that fit your budget,鈥 said a spokesperson for Money.

Eric Ruiz, USF Vice President of Admissions & Enrollment Services, recognizes that much attention is paid to the anticipated return on investment when examining post-secondary options.

鈥淗igh school students and parents looking at college, and adults looking at graduate school are right to be cautious about investing time and money into an educational program. A college degree can be worth millions of dollars over the course of one鈥檚 career. USF has designed degree programs that help our graduates launch truly valuable, meaningful careers,鈥 he said.

鈥淭he value of a degree from the University of St. Francis continues to climb, which demonstrates a significant return on that investment,鈥 Ruiz added.

Visit to view Money鈥檚 Best Colleges in America rankings.

For more information on USF programs, financial assistance options or to learn more about registration, visit stfrancis.edu/admissions-aid.

The University of St. Francis is consistently ranked among the best when it comes to quality education, affordability, and accessibility. Visit stfrancis.edu/nationally-ranked to view USF鈥檚 most recent national accolades.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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USF Board of Trustees Announces New Trustee Emerita and Joliet Franciscan Congregation-Appointed Trustees

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 As part of its June 14, 2024, meeting of the whole, the University of St. Francis (USF) Board of Trustees named its newest Trustee Emerita and announced two new Joliet Franciscan Congregation-Appointed Trustees.

鈥淭he Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate are pleased to appoint two new Trustees as our representatives. We are especially pleased that Sr. Margaret Guider and Dr. Anthony Zordan bring a wealth of experience in Catholic higher education to their board service. The understand the mission of both the Franciscans and USF and are poised to help shape the University to best serve our students, faculty, staff and alumni,鈥 said Sr. Jeanne Bessette, O.S.F., Ed. D., President of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Patricia Wheeler 鈥 Trustee Emerita of the University of St. Francis

Patricia Wheeler

The USF Board of Trustees voted unanimously to bestow upon Trustee Patricia Wheeler 鈥67 the distinction of Trustee Emerita of the University of St. Francis.

According to the USF Board of Trustees By-laws, 鈥淭rustee Emeritus status recognizes long-standing members of the Board of Trustees who have made a significant contribution to the University through their service. A trustee is eligible for such status at the completion of a regular term of service on the Board or at the time of resignation from the Board. Nominations for Trustee Emeritus status emanate from the Executive Committee. Trustee Emeritus members shall have the right to attend meetings of the Board of Trustees but shall not have voting powers.鈥

Patricia Wheeler has served the community for more than two decades, including as an alumni representative on the Board of Trustees, as a Representative of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and a member of the Board of Trustees. She served on the Board of Trustees as a Representative for the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for 22 years. While on the Board, she and her husband, Robert, were co-chairs of the Capital Campaign from 2005-2009.听

In June 2010, Patricia gifted the University by naming the auditorium the James and Patricia Sexton Auditorium in memory of her parents and in honor of their commitment to Catholic education.听

In August 2019, Patricia and Robert also provided USF鈥檚 College of Business and Health Administration (COBHA) with a grant from their Wheeler Family Foundation, which supports a curriculum that is more Franciscan in nature.

Joliet Franciscan Congregation-Appointed Trustees 鈥 Sr. Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F., and Dr. Anthony Zordan

The USF Board of Trustees also announced Sr. Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F., and Dr. Anthony Zordan as new Joliet Franciscan Congregation-Appointed Trustees.

guider

Sr. Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F., is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate and has been a member of the ecclesiastical faculty of the Clough School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College since 2008. Prior to that, she was a faculty member at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sr. Guider also serves as the Faculty Coordinator for Forma莽茫o Continuada. She is Professora Ordinaria of the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Boston College and was granted the Nihil Obstat in 2017. She has served as Department Chair of the Ecclesiastical Faculty and currently serves as the Acting Program Director for the Doctorate in Sacred Theology. Sr. Guider is the past president of the Association of Professors of Mission as well as the American Society of Missiology. She has served as an advisor and consultant for numerous religious institutes and missionary societies as well as a trustee and board member for a variety of Catholic institutions and organizations.

zordan

Dr. Anthony Zordan is Professor Emeritus at USF. Dr. Zordan began his professional career with Price Waterhouse (now PwC) and as controller of a tubular steel distributor. In 1983, he began teaching accounting fulltime at USF. While at USF, Dr. Zordan served three terms as chair of the Academic Assembly, two periods as interim dean of the College of Business & Health Administration and a period as interim vice-president for Academic Affairs in 2002. Dr. Zordan retired from USF in 2021.

Since 2021, Dr. Zordan has served on the board of The Women鈥檚 Centers of Greater Chicagoland. He and his wife, Nancy, live in the Beverly – Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago. They have five adult children and five grandchildren.

About the USF Board of Trustees

The University of St. Francis Board of Trustees oversees and guides USF in fulfillment of its educational mission. To learn more about the USF Board of Trustees, visit stfrancis.edu/about-us/university-leadership/board-of-trustees/.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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Alamo-Costello Earns Grant to Fund Photography Project

Michael "Chester" Alamo-Costello with his students from SUSE in China.

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Michael 鈥淐hester鈥 Alamo-Costello, MFA, professor of art and design at the University of St. Francis (USF), has received a $6,000 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs to photograph in Southwest China over the next year. The grant will cover travel and project costs while Alamo-Costello is in China.

鈥淭he plan is to photograph faculty, students and staff at Sichuan University of Science and Engineering (SUSE) in the same format as that procured at USF since 2000, while also working with individuals at SUSE on writings on their teaching philosophies and practices,鈥 Alamo-Costello said.

鈥淚 have worked with faculty and staff at USF in a similar format in recent time. Initially, I intended to create a USF portrait book. Now, my focus has shifted to contrast the photographs and writings from the two institutions to illustrate their differences and similarities. I鈥檝e discussed putting this into book form with SUSE/USF personnel in the future. There are feelings that this approach will offer a deeper understanding of education approaches in the 21st century,鈥 he added.

For a glimpse of Alamo-Costello鈥檚 work as part of this project, visit .

About the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

According to its website, the mission of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is 鈥渢o enrich Chicago鈥檚 artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. To support this overarching mission, the Cultural Grants Program鈥檚 goal is simple: to serve as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, nonprofit arts and culture organizations and creative industries thrive. Designed to reach artists, creatives, and nonprofit arts and culture organizations across Chicago, DCASE Cultural Grants provide operating funds and project support for nonprofits and project specific funding for individual artists.鈥

For more information on DCASE, visit .

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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Two USF Alumnae Earn 2024 Golden Apple Award Excellence for Teaching

Alicia Carlisle
Alyssa Milano

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Earlier this spring, the University of St. Francis (USF) announced that four alumnae had been named finalists for the 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching through the Golden Apple Foundation. The University is proud to announce that Alicia Carlisle 鈥22 (Turner Drew Language Academy in Chicago, Ill.) and Alyssa Milano 鈥11 (Central Elementary School in Plainfield, Ill.) have officially been named 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients. Carlisle and Milano are two of ten 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients.

Award recipients receive a $5,000 cash award and become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.

听鈥淭he College of Education is immensely proud to celebrate the outstanding achievement of our alumnae who have been awarded the esteemed 2024 Golden Apple Award for Teaching by the Golden Apple Foundation. Their recognition not only highlights their individual excellence but also reflects the high caliber of education provided by the University of St. Francis. We are honored to have played a part in their journey and look forward to witnessing their continued success in making a positive impact on the students and communities they serve,鈥 said John Gambro, Ed.D., Dean of the USF College of Education.

Click to read the Golden Apple Foundation鈥檚 official press release on Alicia Carlisle.

Click to read the Golden Apple Foundation鈥檚 official press release on Alyssa Milano.

USF alumnae Alicia Hays 鈥23 (Central Elementary School in Plainfield, Ill.) and Amanda McMonigal 鈥16 (Edgar Allan Poe Classical School in Chicago, Ill.) were also named finalists for the 2024 Golden Apple Award for Teaching.

About Golden Apple

According to their website, 鈥淕olden Apple鈥檚 mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is one in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage. Visit for more information.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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Mark Your Calendar for USF鈥檚 2024 Homecoming Festivities

Homcoming 2024 - Save the Date image

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 The University of St. Francis (USF) invites students, alumni, employees and friends of the university to mark their calendars for USF Homecoming 2024 festivities, which will take place during the weekend of September 27-29, 2024.

While the full agenda of events for the weekend is currently being finalized and will be announced later this summer, one event is already set 鈥 the homecoming football game. Join USF at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, as the Fighting Saints take on the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats at Busey Bank Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium (3000 Jefferson Street in Joliet). Watch stfrancis.edu/hcrw for additional events as they are finalized.

鈥淯SF is truly Joliet鈥檚 University and Homecoming is one of the most exciting times to be a Saint. Show your school pride, reconnect with alumni friends, create new memories, and cheer on our Fighting Saints! We look forward to you joining us for festivities all weekend long,鈥 said Aindrea Hogan, USF Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations.

For more information or if you are interested in hosting a reunion or event during USF Homecoming 2024, contact the Alumni & Family Relations Office at 877-811-ALUM or alumni@stfrancis.edu.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

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

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