University of St. Francis

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University of St. Francis
University of St. Francis seal.png
Motto Primo Unctio et Postea Speculatio
Motto in English Holiness First and Then Learning
Established 1920
Type Private
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic Church
(Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate)
President Arvid C. Johnson III, Ph.D.
Students 3,352
Undergraduates 1,674
Postgraduates 1,678
Location Joliet, IL, USA
Campus Main Campus: Suburban, 22 acres (8.9 ha)
Former names Assisi Junior College
College of St. Francis
Slogan Respect. Service. Integrity. Compassion.
Colors Brown and Gold
Athletics NAIACCAC
Nickname Fighting Saints
Mascot Bernie the St. Bernard
Affiliations ACCU
Website Official website

The University of St. Francis is a Catholic, Franciscan university, serving more than 3,300 students at locations throughout the United States. USF's main campus is located at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet, Illinois. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Chicago in a residential neighborhood and serves 1,300 students.


The University of St. Francis was founded 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 name Assisi Junior College, it began accepting women outside the congregation. With the start of the fall term of 1930, a senior college curriculum was formed and a new name, the College of St. Francis was adopted. In 1971, the college became co-educational, and the first off-campus degree programs were started in the fall of 1972. In 1980, a master’s program in health services administration was offered followed in the early 90’s by various other graduate offerings. In 1997, the College affiliated with Saint Joseph College of Nursing, which had been first, a diploma nursing school founded in 1920, and since 1987, a baccalaureate institution that awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The Board of Trustees of the College of St. Francis voted to move to university status and on January 1, 1998, the institution became the University of St. Francis.[1]

U of St Fran Joliet.JPG

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 of St. Francis recently underwent a period of expansion. In 2004, the university purchased the vacated Motherhouse from the founding congregation, and has since renovated it into a conference and meeting center—Solutions Resource Center—as well as a home undergraduate admissions and the Leach College of Nursing (CON). The CON 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.

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, TV and game room.

Organization and administration[edit]

The current president of the University of St. Francis, Dr. Arvid C. Johnson III, was appointed to office on June 1, 2013, and is the university's ninth president.[2] Previously, Dr. Johnson had served as dean of the Brennan School of Business at Dominican University.

Academic profile[edit]

The university is well known for its academic quality. Nursing graduates consistently experience a pass rate well into the 90th percentile.[citation needed] Placements rates of graduates into jobs or graduate school is on average 93 percent.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] University of St. Francis has four academic colleges: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Health Administration, College of Education and College of Nursing.

Student life[edit]

There are three residential halls on campus, Marian Hall, Tower Hall, and Motherhouse. Students who live on campus enjoy a variety of different activities such as dances, movie nights, theater performances, and much more. Living on campus is an excellent way for students to learn and grow. They learn the skills to become successful leaders, team workers, and build lifelong friendships. There are 3 meal plans optional for resident students, 175 Block: 175 Meals + $100 in Dining Dollars, 125 Block: 125 Meals + $200 in Dining Dollars, 19 Block: 19 meals per week in the Cafe through the entire semester. There are also three on campus restaurants and snack places, (Terrace Cafe, Three Oaks Bistro, and the Snack Shop.[3]


The Fighting Saints are the athletic teams at the University of St. Francis. Bernie the St. Bernard is USF's mascot. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) at the Division I level, competing in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, sprintline, tennis, track & field and volleyball. USF's football team competes in the Midwest League of 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.

Notable people[edit]

  • Carey Villegas, nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for visual effects work on Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°31′59″N 88°05′44″W / 41.5330°N 88.0955°W / 41.5330; -88.0955