2024 Student Commencement Speakers Phyllis Hampton and Paulina Czupryna

A future Roosevelt master’s degree holder and a CHESS graduate will be the two student speakers to provide their wisdom and expertise to the Class of 2024 during this year’s Commencement ceremony. Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson will receive an honorary Roosevelt degree and will address the graduates during both ceremonies.  

Phyllis Hampton—the morning speaker—hails from the far south side of Chicago, where she attended Christian Fenger Academy High School. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in business at Rust College, an HBCU in Holly Springs, Mississippi. After undergrad, she lived in Memphis, Tennessee, where she worked for a telecommunication company named MCI. Following her time in Memphis, she returned to Chicago and worked for Northwestern Memorial Hospital at the Lynn Sage Breast Imaging Center. During this time, she experienced some health challenges that lead to the eventual loss of her sight at the age of 37. However, the loss of her sight has not stopped her progress. She enrolled in a school named Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education (ICRE-Woods), where blind and visually impaired adults learn braille, computer skills and daily living skills so they can live independently. At ICRE-Woods she was encouraged to further her education, which steered her to Roosevelt University. Currently, she is earning her master’s in college counseling & student affairs with the desire to focus her abilities toward assisting impaired people.

Phyllis loves to sing, and at the age of 12 she became a member of the Soul Children of Chicago (SCC) under the leadership of Dr. Walter Whitman, Jr. SCC offered her the opportunity to perform at Motown 25, where she sang background vocals for the great Gladys Knight. She was a prominent member of the Fenger Academy Chorale. Presently, she is a member of the Greater Zion Temple ensemble where Rev. Dewitt Harris, Jr. is pastor. She also loves to spend time with her family and friends. Phyllis lives by the motto “I lost my sight, but my vision is crystal clear.”

Paulina Czupryna—the afternoon speaker—is a graduating senior at Roosevelt University with a major in journalism & media studies and a minor in international studies. Czupryna transferred to Roosevelt University in the spring of 2021 from Michigan State University with a major in marketing. In her three years at Roosevelt, Czupryna has held positions in the Student Government Association, New Student Orientation, the Office of Student Engagement & Intercultural Experiences as well as Roosevelt’s student-led press station: the Torch. With outside opportunities at the Hilton Garden Inn in Addison, Ateema Media & Marketing and the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Press & Communications, Czupryna creates a skillset competent for a career post-graduation. With leadership experience as this year’s Torch editor-in-chief, Czupryna prepares herself for her next steps in media. 

Czupryna plans to continue her education at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media & Integrated Marketing Communications to earn a master of science in journalism with a specialization in magazine. Czupryna hopes to continue her creative efforts, like the ones provided in the Torch, to distribute arts, culture and entertainment news. Czupryna hopes to maintain Roosevelt’s social justice mission while displaying narratives that should be recognized in a just fashion. Roosevelt’s DEI mission and communications experience has prepared Czupryna for the complex world of media.

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