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While Frank Massolini (MA, ’18) may have taken quite a hiatus from being a Roosevelt University student, he “never forgot the fantastic experience” he had at Roosevelt and returned nearly 40 years later to finish his Master of Arts in Sociology — but not before traveling the world and helping others in his extensive career.

“Back in 1973, my mother gave me enough money to come to Chicago and enroll in graduate school at Roosevelt University, but after one year I had to drop out due to not having the funds to complete my degree,” Massolini said. “After that, I secured a great job with an international shipping company and traveled to Southeast Asia 35 times. I volunteered for both the PROMISE (Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation) Program with the Salvation Army, and for Anne’s House, Illinois’ first privately funded long-term trauma-based residential home for child sex trafficking victims.” Four decades later, Massolini decided to return to Roosevelt to finish his graduate studies.

The journey to Roosevelt, however, began in Iowa. Massolini attended Simpson College in Iowa on a football scholarship; to save additional money for graduate school, he worked in nearby steel mills. “I wanted to attend graduate school at a university which offered a great, highly diversified cultural experience in a large city and Roosevelt University was a perfect choice,” he said. “When I found out that Roosevelt was in downtown Chicago, close to Lake Michigan and Grant Park and also provided a great night school too, I was elated and applied right away.”

While Massolini was at Roosevelt, he said that his professors made a major impact on his decision to pursue non-profit work with organizations that focus on improving the human condition. “My professors were not only great teachers, but had extensive practical experience in working for non-profit organizations in the greater Chicago area,” he said. His peers at Roosevelt helped him to be “prepared to successfully engage with people from all over the world,” which helped him be successful throughout his career.

This time around, Massolini has been under the guidance of Associate Dean Catherine Campbell and Professor Mike Bryson. “Frank epitomizes the twin spirits of love of learning and unshakeable determination,” Bryson said. “He provides an inspiring example for other students to emulate, especially those who might become discouraged after a setback.”

Said Bonnie Gunzenhauser, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “I’m so pleased for Frank that he has completed his graduate studies, and I’m pleased for the University too, because we will be very proud to call him a Roosevelt alum.”

Massolini said he is honored to have the opportunity to return to a place that inspired him to pursue his career and passions, and thanks his professors for helping make his dreams come true. His advice for anyone else looking to pursue a degree at Roosevelt: “Study hard in the classroom and make sure you go out of your way to engage with the many students and faculty from all over the world. No other school, even those in the Chicago area, can give you the beauty of Lake Michigan and the great city of Chicago at your fingertips to enjoy like Roosevelt University does. Who knows — you might even meet the love of your life while you attend.”

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