Roosevelt University president: We're in Schaumburg to stay

  • Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, second from left, addressed the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education and his school's relationship with the business community. Here he speaks with, from left: Catherine Campbell, Roosevelt associate dean of the College of Arts and Science; Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement Jennifer Tani, and state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg.

      Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, second from left, addressed the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education and his school's relationship with the business community. Here he speaks with, from left: Catherine Campbell, Roosevelt associate dean of the College of Arts and Science; Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement Jennifer Tani, and state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, addresses the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education and his school's relationship with the business community.

      Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, addresses the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education and his school's relationship with the business community. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, addresses the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education.

      Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh, addresses the Schaumburg Business Association on Tuesday about the state of higher education. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/9/2016 5:32 PM

The Roosevelt University campus is in Schaumburg to stay, university President Ali Malekzadeh said Tuesday.

Malekzadeh said Roosevelt's Schaumburg mission is to serve Northwest suburban students and businesses, and he is intent to get the word out that the 2014 decision to downsize the campus has been overturned.

 

"Every administration needs to make its decisions with the information they have at the time," Malekzadeh told members of the Schaumburg Business Association Tuesday morning.

"I'm here to tell you, as emphatically as I can, Roosevelt University is here to stay. Any questions about that? Any doubts about that?"

Malekzadeh said he's spent a lot of time with business leaders and knows how interested they are in higher education. Contrary to popular belief, he said, business owners' top concern isn't taxes but their proximity to an appropriately educated workforce.

Chicago-based Roosevelt first opened a campus in the Northwest suburbs in the mid-1970s, in part to serve the continuing education needs of suburban workers and companies moving their headquarters out of the city. The university opened its 20-acre Schaumburg campus in 1996 on the site of the former Unocal Corp. headquarters along McConnor Parkway.

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Malekzadeh said sees the Schaumburg campus offering further instruction in math, science and general business principles to a suburban workforce eager for continuing education.

Before joining Roosevelt, Malekzadeh was dean of the business school at Xavier University in Cincinnati. When Proctor & Gamble bought Gillette and moved many employees from Boston to Cincinnati, he said, one of the frequent questions those workers had concerned their access to educational opportunities.

Today, one of the top concerns of universities and colleges in Illinois is their ability to attract students through both their academic profile and ability to offer financial aid, Malekzadeh said.

Roosevelt is among the schools hurt by the state's budget crisis because of the suspension of the Monetary Award Program (MAP) for students most in need of financial assistance. The suspension is adversely affecting about 130,000 students in Illinois, including about 1,055 at Roosevelt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The state owes Roosevelt $2.4 million for last semester and another $2.4 million for the current one, Malekzadeh said. Though Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to sign a bill Feb. 16 that would reinstate the funding, he's threatened to veto it over unhappiness with its precise language, Malekzadeh said.

If the suspension continues through the fall, it could mean the interruption or end of academic careers of tens of thousands of students, he added.

Among the other educational trends Malekzadeh discussed Tuesday was the rate at which students -- about 1 in 4 -- are dropping out of college after the first semester because they weren't prepared well enough in high school.

He also noted that women make up 60 percent of college students nationwide.

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