Taking the helm as the first university historian in July, Lynn Weiner will be writing a book about Roosevelt’s first 50 years.
The working title she has in mind is Pioneering Social Justice: A History of Roosevelt University, Looking at the first 50 years, 1945-1995 —and she’s enlisting help of alumni, students and others to tell the story.
“I hope to write a book that paints a big picture of how Roosevelt University evolved as part of the history of Chicago, and the history of higher education in the United States,” said Weiner, who has been meeting with alumni chapters this spring to ferret out stories and anecdotes from the University’s hidden history.
“It will be a book about a remarkable place that gave opportunities to African Americans, Jews, women, international students and others at a time when bigotry and prejudice were commonplace,” said Weiner, who is aiming to complete the project in 2015 in time for Roosevelt’s 70th anniversary.
Weiner has already enlisted the help of two honors students through the Roosevelt Scholars program’s undergraduate research opportunity initiative. They are freshman creative writing major Hannah Kriss and sophomore history major Jocelyn Dunlop. Both are doing research for a bibliography and are assembling letters, articles and other documents in the University’s archives with the help of University Archivist Laura Mills.
Interviews with some of the University’s founders, emeritus professors and alumni also are under way. in addition, Weiner and Roosevelt President Chuck Middleton have been meeting with alumni chapters to glean stories and personal recollections as well as to engage alumni —now 80,000 strong and growing—in the process and in the project.
“The people who created and sustained the University over its first half century did remarkable and pioneering work with far broader significance to higher education and to the history of Chicago than is commonly known,” said Middleton. “Lynn’s history is thus a service to their legacy and to our understanding of how our story fits into a larger narrative.”
“We all love and care about this institution, its past as well as its future, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me and for the Roosevelt community to come together so we can tell an amazing and compelling story,” Weiner said.
Do you have a story or personal recollection that may be part of Roosevelt’s hidden history? If so, contact Alumni Relations Director Jan Parkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or University Historian Lynn Weiner at email@example.com.
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