By Lauren Grimaldi
The third floor of the Wabash Building has always offered students and staff an area to relax, meet for class projects and connect with one another. And now, thanks to the South Side Chapter of Roosevelt University Alumni Association, room 312 is now officially named the Harold Washington Memorial Lounge.
David Solberg, Roosevelt’s assistant director of alumni relations, said the lounge was an idea from the South Side alumnus who wanted to play homage to former Chicago Mayor Washington, who graduated from Roosevelt in 1949.
“As the 30 anniversary of Harold Washington’s inauguration as Mayor of Chicago was approaching, Roosevelt University’s Southside Alumni Chapter wanted to honor his legacy as the city’s first African American mayor and Roosevelt alumnus by raising $10,000 to dedicate a student lounge on campus in his memory,” said Solberg.
He added that the funding for the new room was done through grassroots fundraising by the chapter itself.
“We want Roosevelt students to be aware and connected to one of Roosevelt’s most celebrated alumni,” said Shundra Johnson, the president of Roosevelt’s South-Side and South Suburban Alumni Chapter, said in a press release from the University. Johnson graduated from Roosevelt in 2010 with a masters in Integrated Marketing Communications
According to the press release, Don Jones, vice president of Institutional Advancement and chief development officer, said she was happy that the new lounge paid tribute to the late former mayor.
“Harold Washington made tremendous strides as Chicago’s first African American mayor, and is an important part of Roosevelt’s legacy of inclusion and diversity,” said Jones, in the press release. “He is a wonderful example of the kind of success our graduates have had and can continue to achieve in the future, and I’d like to thank our south-side alumni chapter for its thoughtful and very appropriate donation.”
Solberg said that the lounge will give the larger Roosevelt community a place to gather.
“The lounge will serve as a hub for students to meet and collaborate on projects, relax after class and provide a space to discuss leadership and social justice, values imparted onto Washington through his time studying at Roosevelt,” Solberg said. “The space has already been widely used, and is available to all current students.”