USF’s Caritas Event Raises Over $235,000 for Student Scholarships

After two years of virtual events, the University of St. Francis (USF) hosted its 66th annual Caritas Scholarship Celebration back in the Pat Sullivan Recreation Center on its main campus in Joliet on Saturday, April 15, 2023. The event raised over $235,000 (and close to almost $3 million in the past ten years of the event) through a combination of live and silent auctions, a raffle, and other memorable activities all in support of student scholarships.

“For over 65 years, the annual Caritas Scholarship Celebration has served as the primary fundraiser for University of St. Francis scholarships. Caritas helps to make a college education possible for so many bright students – many who are the first in their family to attend college. Each year, USF provides them with over $23 million in institutional support, which makes a difference for many students who would not be able to obtain a college degree without financial assistance,” said Lisa Sampalis, USF Vice President for Advancement.

Sampalis added, though, that measuring the event’s success extends well beyond its total dollars raised.

“Beyond financial outcomes, success for Caritas includes building USF’s donor base with many first-time attendees that we hope will represent the next generation of donors for USF. Additionally, the Caritas Committee grew by fourteen new members this year, which resulted in seven tables of new attendees at the event. We continue to work as a USF community to build a Franciscan future together in our second century,” Sampalis said.

This year’s event, hosted by Anne and USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., welcomed 280 guests to campus to enjoy an evening themed as a “vintage collegiate affair” planned by a motivated Caritas Committee, which included: Tosh Anderson; Rosie and Cesar Cardenas, Michelle and Terry Cottrell; Jeanette D’Arcy; Nick D’Arcy; Sue and Terry D’Arcy; Iman Ellis-Bowen and Duane Bowen; Patty Gonzalez and Jay Barriga; Shane Green; Jen and Vic Howard; Kevin Howard; Annette Jelinek; Kaity and Jeff Kohl; Suzi and Gordon Marsh;  Frances Naal; Steph and Tyler Qualio; Ann and Steve Randich; Candice Rosen; Ann and Jeffrey Rzasa; Scott Savage; Jodi and Scott Schager; Gina and Brian Sharp; Maggie Sillar; Catherine and Michael Stowe; Wilhelmine and John Vidmar; Tracey and Dan Vogen; and Theresa Dollinger Waldron and Jon Waldron.

USF also credits the evening’s success to the generosity of this year’s sponsors, including:

St. Francis sponsor

D’Arcy Buick GMC

St. Clare sponsor

Wintrust Financial

Brown & Gold sponsors

Gloria and Ed Dollinger and Diane and Bill Habiger

Saint sponsors

Donna and John Przybyla

Sentinus Wealth Management – Stephanie and Tyler Qualio

Bernie sponsors

Barnes & Noble

Lori & Jay Bergman – First Secure Community Bank

Busey Bank

Crowther Roofing

Cheryl and Kevin McCarthy

Quest Food Management

Ann and Steve Randich

Stephanie and Daniel Streitz

Tracey and Dan Vogen

Patricia and Robert Wheeler

Friends sponsors

Marilyn and Tony Arellano

Regina and George Block

Julie and Robert Cannata

Tanisha and David Cannon

Rosie and Cesar Cardenas

Cathedral Area Preservation Association

Timothy Delrose

Cynthia and Robert Erickson


Hollywood Casino

IBEW Local 176

Patty Gonzalez and Jay Barriga

Jen and Vic Howard


Lindblad Construction

Frances Naal


Candice Rosen

Tim Wallace Landscape Supply, Inc.

Wilhelmine and Jay Vidmar

Christopher and Mary Kathleen Ward

With the 66th annual event now in the books, USF already has its sights set on laying the foundation for next year’s event.

“We are delighted to announce that Caritas will once again take place on the main campus of USF on Saturday, April 13, 2024. More details will be forthcoming this summer,” Sampalis said.

For more information on Caritas, visit