Roosevelt University's Student Life Blog

Roosevelt University Then and Now

After the Board of Directors at Chicago’s YMCA College asked their president, Edward J. Sparling, to submit demographics of the student population, Sparling resigned. Several days later, so did over 60 faculty members. Sparling believed that the data collected would be used to impose quotas for students based on gender, race and religion- limiting the opportunities of higher education based on a student’s background. With the belief that no individual should be counted as part of a quota, Sparling and his colleagues founded Roosevelt University.

Here’s a few pictures of Roosevelt University then and now:

Wells Street Building:

The first building opened in 1945 and was located on Wells Street.

Auditorium Building:

By 1946, Roosevelt University had over 1,000 students and 100 professors. To keep up with the rise of admits, the Wells Street building was sold and the Auditorium Building was purchased. Before being an academic building, the Auditorium Building housed several business ventures including restaurants, a pharmacy, and a hotel.


Michigan Ave. Lobby:

The Michigan Ave. Lobby was the entrance to the Auditorium Hotel.

Ganz Hall:

The Auditorium Hotel’s banquet hall is now Ganz Hall.

O’Malley Theatre:

The Auditorium Hotel’s 7th floor recital hall was turned into a lecture hall in honor of Tarini Prasad Sinha. Sinha Hall was later remodeled into the O’Malley Theatre.

Murray-Green Library:

The Auditorium Hotel’s 10th floor  dining room, is now the Murray-Green Library.

Auditorium Theatre:

The Auditorium Theatre opened in 1889 housing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Civic Opera. Now it houses the Chicago College of Performing Arts and hosts several events, including Roosevelt University’s Commencement Ceremonies. (Congratulations class of 2019, see you here soon!) The Auditorium Theatre also offers historic tours, click here for more information.


Wabash Building:

In 1966, a model was created to begin building of the Roosevelt’s first residence Hall, the Herman Crown Center. Construction began in 1968. The Henry Crown Center was demolished in 2010 to be replaced by the Wabash Building which opened in 2012.



Interested in reading more about RU’s History? Check out these articles:

The Equality Experiment

Treasures in the Attic: The Roosevelt University Archives


The Auditorium Building at 125

Sandy • April 23, 2019

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