Building a Stronger Roosevelt

As the semester is in full swing, I wanted to thank you for your good work and update you on Building a Stronger Roosevelt.

While our overall enrollments hit targeted projections, the expected housing occupancy rate and net tuition revenues were less than anticipated, leaving a $4 million budget shortfall. As such, we will continue to tightly manage the continuation of deferred and delayed hiring that was instituted last year and have requested that all departments reduce operating budgets by 11.5%, effective immediately. These difficult decisions were taken as part of our Building a Stronger Roosevelt strategy to increase enrollments, and reduce debt and operating expenses. I want to reassure you that we remain steadfast in our goal to meet enrollment objectives and balance the budget by the year 2020.

The second annual American Dream Reconsidered Conference last month was a huge success, that earned us national press coverage and attracted more than 5,000 attendees to Roosevelt for events featuring Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, political analysts David Axelrod and Bill Kristol, and many more.

You can watch this year’s conference on Roosevelt’s YouTube channel.

I would like to thank our program co-chairs of the last two years — Stuart Warner and Lynn Weiner. I am saddened to say that Lynn is retiring this month after serving 26 years at Roosevelt and she will be greatly missed. I am pleased to announce our new program co-chairs for the 2018 American Dream Conference will be David Faris and Nancy Michaels.

Our fundraising and grant awards have been outstanding. We received $500,000 for the College of Education from alumni Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Triolo (MA, ’69), and $1 million for Chicago College of Performing Arts scholarships from an anonymous donor. Gloria Miner gave $6.3 million for scholarships, programs and capital improvements to the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

The College of Education received a $2.4 million federal grant for Dual Language Teacher Leadership Training, the Heller College of Business was given $1.04 million from the Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation to be used for the University’s Fellows Program, and $1.16 million from the McNair Scholars program to prepare low-income/first-generation students or underrepresented minorities for graduate school.

I am also proud to report that three of our faculty members have received notable recognition, including pharmacy professor Dr. Cara Brock, who was named Illinois Pharmacist of the Year, and psychology professor Dr. Steven Meyers, who received the American Psychological Association Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award. In addition, Andrew Eggert, assistant professor of opera studies, will serve as a Fulbright specialist at the Liszt Academy in Budapest this November.

Finally, as you know, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that it is his position that transgender employees and job applicants are not entitled to protection from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Roosevelt has a history of inclusion, including by adding protections for employees in advance of federal and state law. I want to assure you that the University will continue to support people of all gender identities and will continue to ban discriminatory behavior based on gender identity for our employees and job applicants, even if the Supreme Court ultimately adopts the Attorney General’s interpretation of Title VII.

As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts.