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Black Tie International: Lewis University


Lewis University Announces Historic
 $30 Million Campaign
at Signum Fidei Celebration


(Left) Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, and (right) James Goodwin, Chair of the Lewis University Board of Trustees, present the annual Signum Fidei Award to William Rybak, Lewis alumnus and Chair Emeritus of the Lewis University Board of Trustees, September 12 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago.

(Left) Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, and (right) James Goodwin, Chair of the Lewis University Board of Trustees, present the annual Signum Fidei Award to William Rybak, Lewis alumnus and Chair Emeritus of the Lewis University Board of Trustees, September 12 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago.
Photo by: Ron Molk




ROMEOVILLE- Lewis University hosted its 11th annual Signum Fidei Celebration  at the historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, a perfect setting for the history-making launch of the $30 million Campaign for Lewis University: Touching Hearts and Minds.  More than
500 guests enjoyed the gala event which included a reception, silent and live auctions, raffle, elegant dinner, entertainment and the presentation of the annual Signum Fidei Award to William Rybak, Lewis alumnus and Chair Emeritus of the Lewis University Board
of Trustees.   

The Campaign for Lewis University is a $30 million initiative, the largest ever at Lewis, to provide
increased scholarship funding and expanded facilities
to enhance learning.  Nearly $20 million has already been raised toward this goal. The Campaign will expand scholarship support with new and existing endowed scholarships, annual scholarships and the new Lewis Mission Fund, designed to assist students facing economic challenges.

Two major initiatives to improve facilities are also priorities of the Campaign. Plans call for expanding the current Science Building on the Lewis campus with 12 new laboratories for its growing science program, specifically for biology, chemistry, and physics, dedicated undergraduate research spaces, and gathering places for faculty/student interaction and research. Already underway as part of the Campaign facility improvements, is a renovation to the building housing the College of Nursing program.  A new entrance, additional classrooms and a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab will allow Lewis to enroll greater numbers of students in the highly acclaimed program, the largest undergraduate university nursing program in the state.  Enrollment in the program had been capped previously, and expanded facilities were needed in order to help address the statewide nursing shortage.   

Enhancements to the widely-used Oremus Fine Arts Center are also included in Campaign plans.  The Center, which is the most visited building on the Lewis campus, will be improved with a flexible new theatre and rehearsal space, community room, art gallery and outdoor gathering and dining area.

The Campaign was announced by the current Chair of the Lewis University Board of Trustees, James Goodwin, Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President, and three current Lewis University students; Alaa- El Barqa, a sophomore physics major from Mendota, Ill., Tyler Harpster, a senior theatre major from Downers Grove, Ill. and Phylicia McCline, a senior business administration major from Romeoville, Ill. The students and Brother James launched the Campaign by switching on a multi-media presentation to the crowd just before desserts were served by Palmer House staff.

After the Campaign launch, Brother James commented, "As a University that strives to consistently focus on our students, we were pleased to have these fine student representatives involved in launching the public phase of this Campaign. Our success in The Campaign for Lewis University will allow more scholarship funds for students; building a science center for 21st century learning; enhancing our Fine Arts Center to provide more opportunities in the arts; and expanding our College of Nursing facilities, as Lewis steadily advances as a regional university of academic distinction, marked by our commitment to innovation." For more information about The Campaign for Lewis University, please contact Jonathan Yordy at (815) 836-5875 or .

More than $140,000 in net revenue was raised at
this year's Signum Fidei Celebration to provide scholarships through the  Lewis Mission Fund.   
Dick Johnson of NBC5 was the master of ceremonies for the evening.  Guests were invited to bid on an array of silent auction packages before dinner, and auctioneer Jim Miller provided both entertainment and auctioneering talent in the live auction after dinner.
The Peter Oprisko Quintet, Rhapsody Strings Trio
and pianist Brian Conley provided music throughout
the evening.

A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The 10th largest private,
not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. For more information please visit



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