Our Story






“We Don’t Count That Way”

75 years ago, Roosevelt University was born when a visionary leader and 62 faculty members had the guts to go against the norms of exclusion in favor of inclusion.

They went against the discriminatory practices of higher education in 1945.  When asked to limit access because of race, religion and gender, they simply said “We don’t count that way.” No, to the quotas and conventional wisdom that locked in the status quo for those with status.

They Said "Yes"

When that visionary leader, Edward Sparling, and his courageous colleagues walked out on the Central YMCA College to found Roosevelt University, they broke with the past.  But they also affirmed values that endure today when they said “yes.”

Yes, to access for all.  Yes, to academic excellence.  Yes, to building a community that challenges each and every one of its members to be the best that they can be. Yes, to a place for all to feel like they belong.

“Dedicated to the enlightenment of the human spirit”

- Eleanor Roosevelt at the dedication of Roosevelt University in 1945

Integrity. Courage. Grit.

We may look like other universities you’re considering.  We have the degree programs and dorms, the celebrated faculty and alumni networks, the vibrant student life.

But our story, like yours, isn’t just about what’s on the surface.  It’s about what is within.

Principles. Courage. Grit. A willingness to be the first.  And a commitment to access and inclusion. 


Our Mission

Our Vision

Our Story Is Your Story

Our history is grounded in courage, acceptance and a commitment to social justice. 

Whatever your background, wherever you're from, we'll help you unleash your potential.