Part myth, part folk tale, during our lunch, Mike Levy spun narratives about his long career of hotel managing, teaching, and reinventing the landscape of the Chicago hotel industry and transferring his knowledge and expertise to Roosevelt University students for nearly twenty years. During Fall 2018, Myron “Mike” Levy decided to retire from teaching at Roosevelt University and put his long career in the Chicago hospitality industry behind him. Bonnie Smothers, Mike, and I joined together on a chilly fall afternoon to share his memories of running the Ambassador West Hotel, his experiences teaching Hospitality and Tourism, and his service with the Roosevelt University Senate.

Mike Levy is a union guy. His experience with both working with union members and being a union member gave him particular insights into the complex relationships between management and workers. Starting a career with the O’Hare Hilton, Mike moved onto the Ambassador West Chicago and finally settled into 18 years at the Midland Hotel in the position of general manager, where he transformed the business and established the Midland Hotel into an ideal destination for out-of-town executives. Over lunch with Bonnie and I, Mike shared his tales of hotel life and the challenges of managing many departments under one roof. In 1986, Mike Levy was named the “Man of the Year” from the Hotel-Motel Associations of Illinois for his contributions within the Chicago hotel industry.

In Fall 1999, prior to RAFO organization, Mike joined the faculty at Roosevelt University teaching Introduction to Hospitality. Over the past twenty years, Mike has taught twelve different classes in the Hospitality and Tourism Department. When speaking of his classroom experiences, Mike shared his enthusiasm for the students and the university while reflecting on the hospitality department and its future. I met Mike Levy during our terms of serving in the University Governance positions of Senate and College Council. As a union member and long standing adjunct faculty instructor, Mike made a point to attend the university events and collaborate with his department’s changing programs and curriculum updates.

RAFO extends heartfelt congratulations to Mike Levy and his family as he takes these steps into a full and well-deserved retirement. Thank you for your service and support with representing our union members and teaching numerous Roosevelt University students.

In solidarity,

Jen Wilson, President and the members of the Executive Committee

Jan Parkin, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, provided the University Senate with the end of year predictions and summaries of Roosevelt University’s giving campaigns. Exceeding the original goal of $10M, Institutional Advancement raised over $14M from 3,483 gifts this year. Five of those gifts were in amounts over the $500,000 range, while many of the smaller gifts came from the phonathon reaching out to alumni with a minimum ask of $250. Considering all of the giving to date, 87% was under the $500 range.

Currently, Roosevelt University has an endowment of $116.7M down from $124M in August due to drops in the stock market. However, the Institutional Advancement team remains positive that they can continue to use this December time frame to reach alums for end-of-year giving and reestablishing relationships by social media, the alumni newsletter, and networking events like Rediscover Roosevelt scheduled for March 28, 2019. While the university continues to seek new Board of Trustee members, they have raised their give/get to $10,000.

As a final note, Institutional Advancement and the Office of the President will be working to create a major fundraising event in celebration of Roosevelt University’s 75th anniversary in 2020.

During the Roosevelt University November Senate meeting, Mike Cassidy, Vice President of Student Enrollment, discussed the projections for Spring 2019 and the next academic year. Currently, RU has 4,329 students enrolled equaling 53 students beyond the initial projections. Schaumburg climbs slowly with 714 students enrolled in courses at that campus. This is a positive announcement as RU continues to turn the student body towards graduate and transfer student populations from the larger freshman classes that are both difficult to retain and require additional student services.

For Spring 2019, the student enrollment goal equals 3,921 total students. As of the Senate meeting, 2,378 students have enrolled in classes and committed to attending RU in the spring. While this might seem short, many students will register for their classes after January 3. Provost Lois Becker and her office continues to work on the articulation agreements between community colleges and updates all of the online course transfer data. Cassidy described the pursuit of transfer students as “secret shoppers” because they ask two primary questions while looking at an institution: how long will it take to complete my degree, and how much will it cost? For the accepted freshman students who apply for the 2019/20 academic year, RU offers three early admission dates (Oct. 15, Nov.15, and Dec. 15).

The enrollment goal for 2019/20 includes 409 new freshman, 464 transfer students, and 525 graduate students. Mike Cassidy and the advising staff members will continue to seek opportunities to speak to students on community college campuses and grow the relationships with our community college partners. RAFO Executive Committee members will update and inform our members of the enrollment goals as information becomes available and how this aspect of the budget will impact a potential raise in pay during the spring term.

Stay tuned into your union.

Submitted by RAFO Member Chair Joseph Fedorko

Being an adjunct, one gets to be hyper-aware of the state of the world – in many cases, we can be so hyper-aware that it requires additional jobs just to get by. At the Fall membership meeting, RAFO featured two members who take those realities and turned them into disturbingly delightful pieces of creative writing. Thanks to longtime RU adjunct Frank Rogaczewski for his prose poem about how Economics became a discipline, and to newer RU adjunct Alex Luft for sharing a job application of a man seeking redemption for his choking away a potential moment of glory as a professional grocery bagger. If you missed it, no worries – Frank’s poem will be published in his upcoming-any-minute-now collection Jeepers and Criminy! Are You Following This? A Helpful if Inexact Proletarian/Smart Ars Manifesto, while Alex’s publications and appearances can be found on his web site,

There was also some discussion about higher education in Australia (Alex is pursuing a dual Ph.D. there and UIC), where you get paid a ridiculous hourly salary to grade papers, and questions about the upcoming semester here at RU.

RAFO will be featuring more adjuncts and their works in the Spring membership meeting, along with an important vote on union matters that you WILL want to be a part of. Watch this space …