Campus Ministry

Franciscan Studies Endowment


In Giving, We Receive.


The T.O.R. Endowment in Franciscan Studies and Roman Catholic Theology was established to reach out to those who share affinity with the distinct mission of the University's patron saints, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare, as well as Dorothy Day.

This endowment has been made possible through the generous support of Lou DiCerbo, CLU, ChFC, of Manhasset, New York, a graduate of the Class of 1959, Distinguished Alumnus 1997, and Hall of Fame member of GAMA International and the American College. Lou made a $1 million commitment to begin this fund.

Statue on Campus

Each year, through the Ƶ Francis Forum...

the University recognizes a male and female whose acts of charity, love and care for all of creation, along with service to the needy, exemplifies the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.
This recognition enhances the existing Assisi Award to honor those whose lives follow an example of St. Francis, St. Clare and Dorothy Day. 


Stained Glass

Support the Endowment

To learn how you may support this endowment, contact:

The Office of Advancement


or visit


Goals of Endowment


  • Promote activities that reflect the works of St. Francis, St. Clare, and Dorothy Day;
  • Attract national Franciscan and Roman Catholic scholars to campus;
  • Develop a professor-in-residence program;
  • Offer workshops for faculty, staff and students;
  • Reach out to all people of good faith who promote shared values;
  • Encourage faculty, staff and students to journey to Assisi, Italy for a guided program to further enhance their understanding of the University's mission through exposure to the roots and sources of Franciscan tradition.

Explore Past Lectures

View videos and photos from past events sponsored by the endowment. 



Journey with Dr. C. Vanessa White through the present climate of divisiveness where we are called to seek and find pathways to anti-racism in the Spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. 

Ƶ the speaker:  Dr. C. Vanessa White is Associate Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Associate Director for the ThM Degree Program at Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies. She serves as an advisor to the US Catholic Bishop’s Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry. Among her many honors, she holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ƶ Francis University.



Ƶ Francis University hosted its latest lecture in the T.O.R. Franciscan Endowment series, "An Im-perfect Storm: Catholicism and Democracy in Times of Political and Ecclesial Division" on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

In the talk Dr. Massimo Faggioli, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, at Villanova University, explored the intersection of faith and culture, including such topics as: religious freedom, identity politics and the church with porous boundaries. 

The event  was sponsored by The Franciscan Endowment in Franciscan Studies and Roman Catholic Theology, and the School of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) at Ƶ Francis University.



Fr. Paolo Benanti, an engineer and theologian,  spoke at Ƶ Francis University on Monday, April 15, 2019. 


The talk was part of the annual lecture series sponsored by the T.O.R. Endowment in Franciscan Studies and Roman Catholic Theology which was established to reach out to those who share affinity with the distinct mission of the University's patron saints, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare, as well as Dorothy Day. 



, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, SUNY Geneseo presented a talk on Nov. 14 as part of the lecture series through The Rev. Gabriel J. Zeis, T.O.R. Endowment in Franciscan Studies and Roman Catholic Theology.

Dr. Cook is a medieval historian and Franciscan scholar who taught at SUNY Geneseo and Wabash University for over thirty years. A prolific writer, he co-authored The Medieval World View: An Introduction (3rd Edition) in 2011 with Wm. Herzman. A father of three grown children, Bill now spends much of his time speaking and raising funds for the Bill Cook Foundation, which he established in 2015 to assist with the education of some of the world’s poorest children, particularly in Africa.



Fr. Dan Horan, OFM led a timely discussion at Ƶ Francis University on September 29, 2016 responding to social and cultural issues from a Franciscan perspective.


This event was sponsored by the 


Cardinal Dolan Visit 2017 

Video(s): ,

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, visited Ƶ Francis University on March 30, 2017. While on campus Cardinal Dolan celebrated Mass and attended a dinner in honor of his friends, Lou and Pat DiCerbo of Manhasset, New York. Mr. DiCerbo is a 1959 graduate of Ƶ Francis, a 1997 Distinguished Alumnus of the University, and a member of the Financial Services Management Hall of Fame.


(Cardinal Dolan Visit Highlights)
While on campus Cardinal Dolan celebrated a Mass attended by about 2000 community members followed by a dinner where Mr. and Mrs. DiCerbo were honored with the University's annual Assisi Award their dedication to service within the Catholic-Franciscan tradition. In 2013, the DiCerbos committed $1 million to create the The Rev. Gabriel J. Zeis, T.O.R. Endowment in Franciscan Studies and Roman Catholic Theology . Proceeds from the dinner will be used to enhance the endowment.