As Nicole Braus prepares to cross the Auditorium Theatre stage for her diploma, she will be thinking of following in the footsteps of her grandfather, mother and sister before her.
A Sustainability Studies major, Braus, 29, will be thinking of her grandfather, Albert Braus, who received a bachelor's degree in education from Roosevelt in 1948.
"Although I never got to speak to him about attending Roosevelt, there is a definite sentimental value to getting this diploma," said Braus, who chose the University on the advice of her mother and sister because of its social justice tradition.
The elder Braus, who chose Roosevelt because it was one of the only schools at that time to accept Jewish students, graduated in the same class as the late Chicago mayor and Roosevelt alumnus Harold Washington and then went on to become a Chicago school teacher. He died in 2002.
"As the third generation of my family to graduate from Roosevelt University, I am about to be part of an important legacy. If children are in my future, I will encourage them to come to Roosevelt like my mother did for my sister and me. It's a tradition I would love to see continue."Nicole BrausBA '19
With a goal of one day entering the Environmental Services Department of her current employer, Nicor Gas, the younger Braus also will be thinking about her mother, Cynthia Braus, who received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Roosevelt in 1993.
"I encouraged both of my daughters to attend Roosevelt because they were working students just like I was," said Cynthia Braus, who was pregnant with Nicole at the time she registered for Roosevelt classes. Nicole's older sister, Amanda (Braus) Butera, also attended Roosevelt, graduating with a BS in Environmental Science in 2007 and an MS in Biology in 2012.
"Both my mom and my sister spoke highly of the University and their teachers' commitment to student success," said the graduating Braus, who recently received Sustainability Studies Departmental Honors.
"Nicole has been a standout student in Sustainability Studies at Roosevelt – intellectually gifted, a terrific writer, and a quiet but natural leader among her fellow students," said Mike Bryson, professor of Sustainability Studies and chair of sociology, sustainability and community development.
"The resources she developed this past year for our rooftop garden here in Chicago will help guide and support faculty and students in their work on this green space for years to come," he said.
The graduating Roosevelt student has a passion for urban agriculture; she has worked to reduce her personal carbon footprint through reduction in food waste; and she also has developed personal and University seed collections, which today include hundreds of seed varieties.
"As the third generation of my family to graduate from Roosevelt University, I am about to be part of an important legacy," said Braus. "If children are in my future," she added, "I will encourage them to come to Roosevelt like my mother did for my sister and me. It's a tradition I would love to see continue."