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Roosevelt University's main campus is in downtown Chicago.

2 universities based in Chicago announce merger plans

Robert Morris University Illinois would become part of Roosevelt University.

Roosevelt University, which has campuses in downtown Chicago and northwest suburban Schaumburg, plans to acquire Robert Morris University Illinois.

The Daily Herald reports that by taking over Robert Morris Illinois, which has its main campus in downtown Chicago and branches in Arlington Heights, Elgin, Waukegan, Orland Park and Peoria, Roosevelt would see its enrollment jump from about 4,200 to at least 6,000 students.

Roosevelt President Ali Malekzadeh says joining the universities would be good for students and employees at both of the private higher education institutions. Roosevelt and Robert Morris have complementary programs and inclusive, yet distinct, missions of social justice and equity, he says.

"We're doing this mainly for the students' benefit, because then they will have choices at Roosevelt University to go all the way from associate's (degree) to bachelor's degree to graduate degrees, including a doctorate," Malekzadeh says. "These stackable credentials that everybody's talking about, we will be able to provide that and compete in this market very, very well in that regard."

Mablene Krueger, who would shift from Robert Morris' president to Roosevelt's chief operating officer, also spoke in favor of the proposed deal.

"Roosevelt has a very strong array of programs, undergraduate and graduate," Krueger said.

As of fall 2018, Roosevelt had 4,329 students—3,082 full-time and 1,247 part-time. Robert Morris Illinois has 1,889 students—1,748 full-time and 148 part-time.

Before Roosevelt's acquisition is finalized,  the U.S. Department of Education, the Higher Learning Commission, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the boards of both schools must approve the agreement. Officials say the expanded Roosevelt could launch as soon as spring or early summer.

Plans call for Roosevelt to create the Robert Morris Experiential College at the Albert A. Robin Schaumburg Campus in the Woodfield Mall area. It would offer many of Robert Morris' current programs in the beginning.

Malekzadeh says Roosevelt will acquire all of Robert Morris' academic programs. 

Robert Morris' nursing programs and associate degrees in allied health would complement baccalaureate programs that Roosevelt has in biology, biochemistry, allied health and health science administration, officials say.

Krueger says Robert Morris will bring several extracurricular activities to Roosevelt, such as football, hockey, marching band, bowling and its eSports program. Roosevelt sports not offered at Robert Morris include golf and tennis.

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