As graduates of our Class of 2017 begin the next chapter of their lives, we celebrate the accomplishments of five students who left a lasting legacy at Roosevelt.
Relive the Class of 2017's big day with videos of the morning (Education, Arts & Sciences) and afternoon (Performing Arts, Professional Studies, Business) ceremonies.
Anthony Ivy (MSRE Real Estate, ’17)
After Anthony Ivy suffered recurring injuries while trying to break into the NFL as a cornerback, he knew he had to come up with an alternative plan for career success.
The 31-year-old resident of Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood tried working in a factory, making sales calls and becoming a commodities trader before settling on the idea of doing good as a real estate developer.
“My grades weren’t great because I’d put all my eggs in one basket in college, which was football. Roosevelt’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate gave me a chance, and I’ll be forever grateful,” said Ivy, who received a Master of Science in Real Estate from Roosevelt on May 5.
Ivy took what he learned from the program and started his own real estate company, African Community Builders NPO, which has a goal of uplifting low-income communities through redevelopment. He will continue graduate studies in the fall in Roosevelt’s new Master of Arts in Community Development and Action program.
“I’m interested in linking community development with real estate and crowdfunding,” Ivy said. “I’m in love with the idea of turning around communities just as much as I once loved football.”
Yasmeen Lipprand (BA Integrated Marketing Communications, ’17)
“Go out there and pave a new way.”
These are the words of Topeka, Kansas native Yasmeen Lipprand, who left her home state to continue her college education at Roosevelt. Lipprand received valuable financial assistance from the Robert Wieseneck Endowed Scholarship Fund, allowing her to eventually graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications, as well as share her story as student speaker at Roosevelt’s May 5 Commencement.
“Yasmeen has an open way of talking about her experiences,” said Priscilla Perkins, associate professor of English, who had Lipprand as a peer instructor for two of her classes. “She’s optimistic and proactive.”
“She’s positive, reliable and responsive,” said Erin Mackinney, assistant professor of English as a Second Language. “Yasmeen helped out a lot with facilitating small group dialogue. She helped set a high bar for students to turn in good, quality assignments on time.”
Lipprand, the first in her family to earn a college degree, most recently served as marketing intern for the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. She hopes to follow her own advice in launching her professional career — her Roosevelt experience was “just the beginning.”
Denise Plotzker (BA Criminal Justice, ’17)
More than four decades ago, Denise Plotzker sacrificed her college education to marry and raise a family, promising herself she would one day return for a bachelor’s degree.
That day arrived on May 5 for Plotzker, 64, who earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and delivered the student Commencement speech.
“I am proof that it is never too late to graduate from college,” Plotzker said. “I hope to inspire and encourage any older adults who have wanted to go to college, but thought you were too old, to take the leap of faith. You can do it!”
The Chicago native worked as a fitness trainer/consultant for 34 years after moving to California with her family, briefly attending Indiana University with a major in Japanese and psychology minor.
“It was not easy, but as an older adult I found I was motivated to be a good student,” Plotzker said. Her parting words from the Auditorium Theatre stage during Commencement? “I will leave you with three words that helped me along the way: Motivation. Determination. Perseverance.”
Angelica Marrufo (MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling, ’17)
Angelica Marrufo (MA, ’17) became the third of her three siblings to receive a master’s degree — and the second to earn a degree from Roosevelt — in May, as she earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
“I’ve worked hard to get here,” said Marrufo, who carried the College of Education banner and was student speaker at Roosevelt’s May 5 Commencement. "I feel like with Latinos, and people of color, we are constantly told that we don’t belong in academia by society. So, to be at the forefront, leading my class, is a huge privilege and accomplishment.”
Determined to enter the field of counseling after learning her niece suffered abuse, Marrufo made the most of her studies at Roosevelt. She was an active member of the Roosevelt Counseling Association (RCA) and will soon complete an internship with domestic violence agency Between Friends. Subsequently, Marrufo will transition full-time into a role as a community support specialist at Thresholds, a facility that provides healthcare and housing for the mentally ill and people with substance abuse disorders.
“I’m blessed enough to know where I’m going to go afterwards,” Marrufo said. “But, I think just utilizing everything you can — all the professors and even your peers — can make so much of a difference.”
David Corris (BFA Musical Theatre, ’17)
David Corris is a nationally known actor, singer and puppeteer who returned to Roosevelt University this spring semester to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre degree.
Corris originally left Roosevelt’s musical theatre program in 2010, a semester shy of graduating, in order to join the national touring cast of Curious George Live.
With additional credits such as Avenue Q and Disney Cruise Line’s Tangled: The Musical under his belt, Corris looks forward to more auditions, touring opportunities and potentially pursuing a master’s degree in directing or creative writing.
“It was a very personal decision to come back, but I’m so glad that I did this,” Corris said. “I [believe it will] someday lead to new opportunities for me in other areas like teaching, directing and writing. I am looking forward to what comes next.”
“David is so talented and has shared so much with all of us by returning,” said Sean Kelley, associate dean of Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA). “I truly believe his experience and degree will open new doors for him.”
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