Q&A With Ashley Reed
By Karyn Dubose
Roosevelt graduations are always a cause for celebration for our students, but for Ashley Camille Reed who graduates in May, it’s a little bit more than that…it’s a family affair. An integrated Marketing Communications student with a double minor in psychology and journalism, Reed is a Roosevelt legacy.
Her grandfather is alumnus and professor emeritus Christopher R. Reed, who earned his BA and MA in history at Roosevelt University in 1963 and 1968 respectively, and later returned to the University in 1987 as an associate professor of history. He also served as director of the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies.
Ashley's parents met while they were undergraduate students at Roosevelt. Her mother, Audrey Alexander Reed, earned her BS in sociology in 1988 and MA in education in 1992. Her father, Malcolm Reed, attended Roosevelt, as did both of her grandmothers. In addition, her two uncles also graduated from Roosevelt. Their positive experiences and fond memories of the University greatly influenced Reed’s decision to attend Roosevelt.
In the following Q&A, she looks back at her time here.
Why did you decide to attend Roosevelt?
I considered a lot of colleges after I graduated from Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School in 2009. Roosevelt was a top choice of mine because I come from a Roosevelt family. During my college search, I participated in nearly 30 campus tours. Roosevelt's Chicago Campus tour stood out. I liked the social justice feeling and that it wasn’t a traditional campus. I felt like the city of Chicago was my campus, too.
How did your family feel when you told them that you chose to attend their alma mater?
My grandfather was very excited that I chose to attend Roosevelt. At the time he was still teaching here. Everyone else shared the same joy and was eager to see what I would accomplish at Roosevelt. They were also very interested to hear how things had changed since they attended.
Was it intimidating to attend a school where your family has such a strong presence?
At first I didn’t know how to handle it or what to expect. I soon realized that I had a community of resources and support here and not just because I was a Roosevelt legacy but because I was a Roosevelt student.
What questions do your family ask you about your college life?
They often ask if certain faculty and staff are still employed here. They want to know what’s going on with the new Wabash Building, athletics and alumni relations. Unlike my parents, I live on campus, so they enjoy hearing the tales of residence life.
Why did you live on campus instead of commuting from home?
I didn’t want to live at home even though it would be cheaper; I felt the college experience (living on your own) was important and worth the investment.
How do you think your Roosevelt experience compared to theirs?
I think my experience is the same in that I made my experience my own just like they did when they attended. It’s different because there are newer campus renovations and programs that were not here when they attended. For example, the athletics program was gone when my parents attended. Now, they enjoy it by coming to support me when I cheer at a game. The funny thing is that even though there are a lot of campus upgrades, the quality education and social justice mission are still the same, and that means a lot to me and to them.
How has being involved in the Phonathon influenced you?
I see exactly where the money goes and I see why it’s important for alumni to give back to their alma mater physically and financially. Having worked with the Phonathon since my freshman year, I have learned so much about Roosevelt. I still enjoy talking to alumni and the new student callers about Roosevelt. I hope that they understand, like I do, that their participation matters to the students and the University, because it does.
What about Roosevelt do you enjoy the most?
The history … the legacy of Roosevelt and being a part of a new generation of social justice leaders and professionals. I'm looking forward to carrying on the work and mission of those who were here before me.
As you approach your Commencement, what will you remember most about Roosevelt?
I'll remember all of the clubs and organizations I was active in. I'll remember my friends. I'll remember working at Phonathon. The truth is that Roosevelt is about the people. The people here, whether they are faculty or students, have been a part of my experience and I'll remember them whenever I reminisce about my Roosevelt days.
What does your graduation mean to your family?
I will be the first grandchild to graduate from college. It’s a big deal. My family worked hard to show me the value of education and my graduation is my way of saying thank you for all of the sacrifices. It’s also the beginning of my post-Roosevelt experience … and my turn to make my mark!
During her time at Roosevelt, Reed has been active with several campus organizations, including the PROCLAIM Gospel Choir, the Black Student Union, and SPEED (Students Programming for Enrichment, Enlightenment and Development). Last fall, she was instrumental in bringing S.I.S.T.E.R.S, a non-Greek, non-hazing community service-based organization for African-American women, to campus. In addition, she was a Lakerette (cheerleader). She lived on campus and works as a Microsoft Company/Rice McVaney Communications student representative.