President’s Perspective Spring 2016


One of the most common pieces of advice (aside from the universal directive to change the look of the president’s office!) is to examine the administrative staff, see what makes sense for restructuring, and revitalize the leadership team.

I took that advice. And we have been fortunate to fairly quickly hire two outstanding individuals who joined our team in April. I’m delighted to introduce you to:

Vice President for Enrollment Management: Paul McGuinness

Paul McGuinness

He joins us with over 25 years of experience in enrollment and student affairs, most recently as vice chancellor at Purdue University North Central in Indiana.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Don Jones

don jones

Don joins us from the New England Conservatory, where he served as executive vice president for Institutional Advancement since 2002. His previous experience includes development work for public radio, the Rhode Island School of Design, Bentley University, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

At this writing we are working to fill three other executive positions, so watch our website at for more news as it happens. And I’m happy to add that we have 14 new faculty arriving this fall to teach psychology, actuarial science, biology, counseling & human services, accounting, management, theater, information technology, pharmacy and criminal justice.

There have been many more exciting activities and events during my first year at Roosevelt. Here are just a few highlights:

Excellent news from the Higher Learning Commission, which has reaffirmed our accreditation, noting that we met requirements on 19 of 21 core components. They praised our educational programs, general education, assessment activities, mission, student support, and integrity. They especially cite our “exemplary commitment to diversity and the advancement of the public good.” Their concerns with finance and Board of Trustee governance will be reassessed in two years and we are already working on improvements in those areas.

I’d like to thank our entire community for their hard work on this reaccreditation process, but especially Associate Provost Joe Regan for his leadership.

A new initiative has been started to make Roosevelt University a top place to work, with more flexible work policies, professional development and recognition, increased communication, and a forthcoming Center for Campus Diversity and Inclusion.

Revitalization of the Schaumburg Campus is being shaped by the work of three groups – an Academic Council, Operations Council, and Campus Advisory Council. We will celebrate the 20th anniversary of this campus in Fall 2016. Stay tuned for dates and details on our Schaumburg Campus birthday celebration!

A pilot program in undergraduate mentoring and professional development began this semester. Under the leadership of Associate Provost Megan Bernard, we intend to expand this during 2016-2017 to include opportunities for students with any major in any college.

Finally, we are planning the inaugural American Dream: A Reconsideration Conference for Sept. 11-15. It is my hope that this annual discussion of the meaning of the American Dream will sharpen our identity, engage our community and contribute to the national discourse about democracy and opportunity and the challenges before us.

And here’s one example where I am going to ignore a common piece of advice to new presidents! We are told that it is tradition to stage a large, lavish and expensive installation ceremony celebrating ourselves and our university– inviting chancellors and presidents, university representatives and public officials from around the country to process down the aisles in full academic regalia, listen to important speakers and attend a number of gala celebrations.


President Ali with Fala the Laker

Instead, it seems to me more appropriate to follow the advice of our namesake, Eleanor Roosevelt, who said in 1957 that “You get more joy out of giving . . . and should put a great deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

To that end, I will host a revival of Roosevelt’s tradition of community service, with an inaugural American Dream Service Day. On Sept. 15, I invite you to join me at the Goodman Center for a continental breakfast and then work together on behalf of food banks, schools, public parks, and other projects. We will also provide American Dream scholarships to meritorious students from each college. What could be a better celebration than that?


President Ali and Pat Harris, chair of Roosevelt University’s Board of Trustees at graduation

It is my hope that I am following the right advice, and by doing so will strengthen Roosevelt’s legacy of democracy as we continue our mission of offering educational excellence and opportunity to the next generation of students.


  1. Marilyn Nance says

    I am cautiously optimistic for the future of the University…

    An alum and retired administrator

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