Roosevelt mourns one of its own as students and faculty start off this semester. Catalina Hooser, a residence life Graduate Coordinator and advisor to National Residence Hall Honorary died on Aug.22.
Hooser was enrolled in Loyola University Chicago pursuing a higher education master’s died after completing her bachelor’s degree of Sociology at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
Karl Turnlund, residence hall coordinator, recalls Hooser as “the heart and soul of the office” and someone who was committed to making students civically engaged.
Her colleagues and friends at Roosevelt remember her impact on the Roosevelt community and on their personal lives.
Ronnie Smith, Resident Advisor and junior knew Hooser for about a year through working in the Residence Life office together. He said there is no simple way to describe her.
“She was the type of person who genuinely cared about others… Catalina was able to build meaningful and impactful relationships with everyone that she came into contact with,” Smith said. “ I am so blessed that I was fortunate enough to have had her in my life.”
Justin McMillon, Resident Advisor, junior Biology major, knew Catalina from the day that she had moved into the residence hall in August of 2015. He described Hooser as someone that every person should strive to be.
“She had so much passion for the values that she lived by it was inspiring,” McMillion said. “She was an advocate for others and the environment. She was everything that this school preaches, except she put action to her words and belief to make this society more socially just.”
Smith explains what Hooser meant to him.
“There is no correct way of trying to sum up how much Catalina meant to me and the Office of Residence Life. She was the true embodiment of what Roosevelt University is supposed to stand for, and Roosevelt University was lucky to have had her,” Smith said. “I will never forget her and she is missed every single day, even now it still feels so surreal not seeing her sitting in the office.”
Smith and Mcmillion recall early morning conversations with Hooser, doing homework or watching t.v. shows, and her acts of kindness.
“My favorite memory of Catalina is when she drove to St. Louis to pick me so I would get back in time for my Monday morning class.” Mcmillion said. “Catalina was so much more than a colleague, she was a friend. She would be there for anyone who needed her.”
Hooser was involved in the American Dream Service Committee. There will be a service day which will end the University’s American Dream Reconsidered Conference on Sept. 12-15. There is award named after Catalina for the students that engage in the most service.
“To say our office is feeling a loss is an understatement. Everywhere she should be there is a vacuum,” Turnlund said.
Turnlund says she was involved in work around the community and in the university to make RU a more inclusive place through the American Dream Committee that helped build a cultural climate.
“Catalina and everything that she stood for will never be forgotten,” Smith says.