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Ali Malekzadeh speaking on the American Dream

President Ali Malekzadeh

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Ali R. Malekzadeh, PhD, the sixth president of Roosevelt University, is an expert in strategic management, an accomplished fundraiser and a visionary academic leader who has served in higher education for more than 20 years. He believes that access to higher education is every American’s right and one of the pathways to living the American Dream.

President Ali Malekzadeh

At Roosevelt, Malekzadeh champions the University’s mission of social justice and is a frequent op-ed contributor to many Chicago news outlets. He is passionate on issues of women’s and LGBTQ rights, immigration, affirmative action, and access to higher education. One of Malekzadeh’s signature accomplishments is the creation of the American Dream Reconsidered Conference, an annual three-day event free to the public discussing issues related to law, politics and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Since becoming Roosevelt’s president in 2015, Malekzadeh has worked to raise over $37 million for student scholarships and grants, and continues to stabilize enrollments. He is a strong advocate for faculty research and innovation, established a Professional Mentoring Program for students, and created a Chicago-area council for diversity and inclusion. 

Under Malekzadeh’s leadership, Roosevelt has expanded services for veterans and students with disabilities, and focused on new programs for multicultural students. He worked to establish the Outreach, Advocacy, Social Justice, Information and Safety (OASIS) Committee, which serves as an on-campus advocacy group for just and non-discriminatory policies, including supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.

Prior to Roosevelt, Malekzadeh served as the Edgerley Family Dean of the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University, where he increased annual fundraising from an average of $2 million to more than $40 million, and led the business college in raising funding for a new business education building.

Before becoming dean at Kansas State in 2011, Malekzadeh spent a combined 13 years as dean of the business schools at Xavier University in Cincinnati and St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. At St. Cloud State, Malekzadeh also served for one year as interim vice president for academic affairs, and was named outstanding administrator among 32 campuses of Minnesota State University. He previously held key administrative positions at Arizona State University West in Phoenix and taught strategic management at Northeastern University in Boston.

Malekzadeh earned his doctorate in business administration with an emphasis on strategic management from the University of Utah, and a bachelor’s in management and Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver. Malekzadeh is also a member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

Malekzadeh and his wife Dr. Afsaneh Nahavandi, professor of leadership at the University of San Diego, have co-authored two books: Organizational Behavior: The Person-Organization Fit and Organizational Culture in the Management of Mergers. He has also written dozens of business-related articles and book chapters. Malekzadeh and Nahavandi have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Follow President Ali on Twitter or read his official communications.