President's Perspective

Fall/Winter 2018

By President Ali R. Malekzadeh, PhD

Welcome to the second annual digital edition of the Roosevelt Review. We received many positive comments following our inaugural issue and do hope that you find this new, digital platform to be a convenient format to stay informed about the many good things happening at Roosevelt University.

In September, we kicked off the fall semester with the third annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference, featuring outstanding panel discussions that reflected our overall theme of assessing the state of civil rights 50 years since 1968. Conversation focused on timely issues such as policing and prison reform, women in leadership amid the #MeToo Movement, civil rights and music, and the great American health care debate.

Eric H. Holder, Jr., former Attorney General of the United States, was featured in a keynote discussion at the Auditorium Theatre in front of a packed audience. He discussed the importance of voting rights and emphasized that “voting is one of the greatest responsibilities an American has.” He acknowledged the sacrifices of generations before us to secure this right, and condemned the efforts made by many to disproportionately suppress votes among minority populations.

Common, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy-winning actor and rapper, spoke about his nonprofit organization The Common Ground Foundation, which seeks to empower Chicago high school students from underserved communities to become future leaders. He discussed how he has personally committed his time and resources to help inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago. He spoke alongside Janet Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Mary Ellen Caron, CEO of After School Matters, about the importance of student activism, education and how we need to work together to build programs that focus on character development, financial literacy, creative arts and global leadership. Full recaps of each discussion can be found on YouTube.

Also included in this issue are stories highlighting our alumni doing incredible and meaningful work in their communities. These include Jarrett Adams, wrongly convicted for a crime he did not commit, now as a licensed attorney defending those who’ve suffered injustices at the hands of our legal system. Or Lynette Stokes, a product of the child welfare system, who earned her master’s and doctorate of education degrees at Roosevelt, and was recently named president of South Suburban College, the first woman to hold that position in the institution’s history.

I continue to be inspired by our students’ hard work; commitment to academic success; and contributions to service clubs, student organizations and our local community. I am proud of our student activism on campus and their openness to embracing our mission of social justice and inclusion. Roosevelt is shaped by their thoughts, opinions and dedication to service.

In closing, let us not forget our commitment to serve one another and uphold our mission. The core of Roosevelt’s legacy, one that you will carry forward, is that we do not discriminate based on religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, economic status, ethnicity, disability, national origin, or veteran or familial status. It is every American’s right to attain their American Dream through the pursuit of higher education.

Please do not hesitate to let me know your thoughts and ideas about Roosevelt University. You may write me at As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

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