President's Perspective

Spring/Summer 2019

By President Ali R. Malekzadeh, PhD

Dear Roosevelt Alumni and Friends,

In 1945, Roosevelt University was founded on the belief that diversity is integral to our democracy. We believed then — and now — that every American has the right to attain their American Dream through the pursuit of higher education. In April, we reaffirmed our commitment to inclusion with the launch of my “And Justice for All” podcast, which explores the relationship between education and justice through interviews with Roosevelt students and faculty. The podcast compliments our annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference, with the fourth one being held the week of Sept. 9–12, where we will welcome another host of thought-provoking speakers, panels and events.

Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends like you, new University programs are connecting students to real-world educational opportunities. Roosevelt has partnered with renowned PR agency Golin to debut the Al Golin Fellowship, which provides students from diverse backgrounds with training, networking and internship opportunities that bolster their future careers.

On May 10, Roosevelt celebrated the hard work and academic excellence of over 800 graduates at its 158th Commencement. Students included Nicole Braus, a third-generation Roosevelt graduate with a passion for urban agriculture and the Wabash Center rooftop gardens. At the College of Pharmacy hooding ceremony, student speaker Andre Mashayekhi told the story of his father, who fled the Iranian Revolution in pursuit of his own American Dream and went on to earn an accounting degree at Roosevelt.

I continue to be inspired by our alumni and their outstanding contributions from Broadway to the national stage. In this issue you’ll read about Adrienne Walker, who performed in the Lion King and Tony-nominated Kiss Me, Kate. You’ll also read about Vicki Fuller, who as chief investment officer steered the New York State Retirement Fund to over $209 billion, and in retirement returned to the Heller College of Business to mentor the next generation of leaders.

Roosevelt faculty members like Thomas Kernan, who won the prestigious Newberry Library Rudolph Ganz Long-Term Fellowship, excel as prominent leaders in their fields. I am proud to welcome new educators to the University, including Justin Shea, who joined the Heller College of Business full-time as a professor of finance. I am also pleased to announce that the Auditorium Theatre Board of Directors has elected Ann Nash as the new chairman of the Board and Thomas R. Baryl as vice-chairman. An attorney and officer with Nash Disability Law, Ann has served on the Board of Directors since 2006.

In closing, let us not forget our commitment to serve one another and embrace our mission of social justice. We each carry out the inclusive legacy of our founders in our daily lives and local communities.

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

With warm regards,

Ali R. Malekzadeh, PhD

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