Roosevelt alumna Carolyn Rush dies at 67

carolyn rush

By Lauren Grimaldi
Managing Editor

Carolyn Rush, a graduate of Roosevelt University with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership, died on March 13 from congestive heart failure. She was 67 years old.

Her husband, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), released the following statement about his wife’s passing.

“Today I have lost my best friend, the love of my life, my confidant and my best half,” said Congressman Rush. “This is one of the most difficult days of my life. If there is any comfort at all, it is in knowing that Carolyn is no longer suffering and that she has returned to our Father in Heaven. I will always cherish her. She was everything to me. I am devastated.”

Carolyn Rush was a political strategist on many campaigns and dedicated much of her life to the civil rights movement.

Rush served as her husband’s campaign manager multiple times. According to the Chicago Tribune, Bobby Rush paid his wife over $300,000 for five years beginning in 2009. In September 2013, Congressman Rush took a leave of absence to support his wife through “major surgery.” She later recovered, though took a turn for the worst more recently.

Congressman Rush and their seven children were at her bed side at the time of her passing.

In a statement to the Torch, the Office of Institutional Advancement remembered Carolyn Rush as a strong student at Roosevelt.

“She was committed to women’s causes, recently to health and heart issues. And of course, she was committed to all minority concerns,” the statement said. “She was a political adviser to her husband U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush. Roosevelt mourns the loss of this loyal alumna, who lived out the Roosevelt mission in her commitment to women’s causes, healthcare, and all issues that relate to the marginalized among us.”

Emerita Professor of Organizational Leadership Laura Evans had Rush in two classes during her time studying at Roosevelt.

“In both classes, Carolyn was dynamic: an effective leader and strong role model for all class members including myself. As a student, she was highly motivated, organized, and intelligent. She challenged ideas, debated concepts, and promoted critical thinking,” said Evans. “I recall that she submitted all assignments early and with perfection. She carried a strong personal presence, a twinkle in her eye, and inspired all who encountered her.”

Evans said that she remembers Rush as a student with a deep passion for equality and justice. According to the Chicago Tribune, she also worked to end housing and employment discrimination throughout her life.

“I will remember Carolyn as a passionate, articulate and persuasive leader who spent a lifetime working for equality and justice for all, but especially for the rights of African Americans and woman,” said Evans. “Former students often reminisce about these special classes and always, we remember the many contributions of Carolyn Rush. And, then we smile.”

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