Annual USF Caritas gala raises $75,000
April 27, 2012 10:44AM
James and Judy Matuszewski (left) pose with University of St. Francis board member and alumna Marisue Grababoy and her husband, Alex. | Submitted photo
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:01AM
JOLIET — Supporters of the University of St. Francis didn’t let the previous week’s snowstorm stop them from getting to the Joliet campus for the 55th annual Caritas gala, La Dolce Vita, on Jan. 28.
La Dolce Vita gave 443 guests a perfect taste of the summery, “sweet life” in an elegant garden-themed setting. The gala netted approximately $75,000 for scholarships and aid thanks to major sponsorships from Fifth Third Bancorp, Barnes & Noble Inc., J.L. Adler Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., Hollywood Casino Joliet and USF President Michael and Grace Vinciguerra, along with donations from other generous benefactors.
Caritas has raised more than $3 million over the course of its long history
Spearheaded by chairmen Tyler and Stephanie Qualio of Shorewood, the 2012 Caritas committee worked tirelessly to secure an array of more than 90 premium auction items and a grand guest list. Committee members included Jay and Lori Bergman of Joliet, Scott and Debra Crowther Jr. of Shorewood, Richard and Christianna Hagen of New Lenox, Ed and Cheryl Jarot Jr. of Plainfield, Jason and Lexi Schladenhauffen of Shorewood, Jeff and Shannon Serr of Shorewood and Tony and Kendall Villa of Frankfort.
Stephanie Qualio, Rich Hagen and Tony and Kendall Villa are alumni of the USF.
The committee succeeded in bringing warmth to winter in the university’s Pat Sullivan Recreation Center, which was highlighted by handmade flowers, lanterns, and whimsical displays crafted by Stephanie Qualio. Live floral arrangements were designed by USF alumnus Dennis Kovar.
Vinciguerra honored Joliet’s Terry D’Arcy, who was presented with the Caritas Care Award. D’Arcy, owner of D’Arcy Motors, was recognized for his philanthropic involvement not only at the university but also in the local community.
Ten individuals were also recognized as their name was pulled from the raffle barrel for the La Dolce Vita Raffle Garden Drawing. Seven winners opened a flower-topped box to find a $100 bill, while Ron Esco of Joliet, Toni Johnson of Channahon and Jim Roolf of Joliet each opened their boxes to find a gold coin valued at approximately $1,600.
Next year’s Caritas gala is slated for Jan. 26, 2013.