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Roosevelt University History

Resources for studying the history of Roosevelt University and the Auditorium Building.

April 24, 1945

Edward J. Sparling, founding President of Roosevelt UniversityOn April 24, 1945, 62 faculty members joined Edward J. Sparling in resigning from Chicago's Central YMCA College. They were determined to start a college that accepted all students regardless race, class, sex, or age - a revolutionary idea, even in progressive Chicago. With the help of visionaries such as Pearl Buck, Albert Eintstein, Albert Schweitzer, Thomas Mann, and Eleanor Roosevelt, they founded Thomas Jefferson College, soon renamed Roosevelt College after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. To this day, Roosevelt University strives to advance the mission of its founders, "educating socially conscious citizens for active and dedicated lives as leaders in their professions and their communities."

This LibGuide contains links to resources useful for exploring the history of Roosevelt University, as well as the historic Auditorium Building it calls home. It also serves as a guide for examining the lives and works of famous faculty and alumni.


AUD=Auditorium Campus Library

SCH=Schaumburg Campus Library

ARCHIV=Archives (located in Auditorium Library, see reference desk for assistance)

Oral History

Interviews with founding members of Roosevelt University on the subject of faculty participation in university government, Contributed by Dr. Daniel Pearlman. Part of the Oral History Project in Labor History, available Here.

Bowersox, Hermann (pdf, 10,700K, 18 pages)  Photo
      Hermann Bowersox, Professor of English, Chairman of University Senate, member of Board of Trustees 1967-1973.

Leys, Wayne (pdf, 151K, 12 pages)  Photo
     Wayne Leys, Dean of Faculties, Vice-President, member of Board of Trustees 1945-1959.

Mullenbach, Philip (pdf, 105K, 15 pages)  Photo
     Philip Mullenbach, Member of Board of Trustees, 1961-1970.

Sparling, Edward J.  (pdf, 192K, 52 pages)  Photo
     Interviews with Edward J. Sparling, first President of Roosevelt University, 1945-1963.

Sparling, Edward J. (pdf, 9,230K, 122 pages)
     Edward J. Sparling, President Emeritus of Roosevelt University discusses work experiences, and Roosevelt's connection to the Labor Movement.

Weil, Rolf (pdf, 7,640K, 124 pages)  Photo
     Rolf Weil, "Memoirs of Rolf Weil" (as of 1981), President of Roosevelt University, 1964-1987.

Wirth, Otto (pdf, 117K, 24 pages)  Photo
     Dr. Otto Wirth, Roosevelt University administrator:  Vice President for Academic Affairs; Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Copyright Notice:  These interview transcripts may be freely used for non-commercial educational purposes only.  All interview transcripts are property of Roosevelt University, with the exception of those interviews marked as property of another institution.  In this case, the institution has given permission for Roosevelt University to include these interviews on this site.  All living interviewees have signed releases or, in the case of deceased interviewees, oral consent has been given by the next of kin for the release of the interview.

From the RU Website

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