Roosevelt Graduate's Honor Is Proof of an Admirable Work Ethic

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Middleton

Tanya Butvinnik stood on the stage of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago to accept her diploma from Anne Roosevelt, granddaughter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, and was further from her birthplace in Kharkiv, Ukraine, than she ever could have imagined when she arrived in the United States in 1997.

"Life is a very fascinating thing that often takes turns and picks directions that no one could dare to think," she said about the many surprises in her life.

A 20-year-old resident of Des Plaines, Tanya was recognized at Roosevelt's May 15 Commencement ceremony because she was the 65,000th graduate in the history of the University.

That distinction couldn't have been bestowed on a more fitting person. Butvinnik's story, like those of so many other Roosevelt graduates, is one of hard work, determination and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to her.

Butvinnik and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 13 years old. Bewildered and confused by the ordeal, the only thing she could say was, "I don't speak English." She went to school, but felt inadequate, as she could not grasp what her teachers were saying.

Undeterred, Butvinnik didn't let this challenge hold her back. She spent hundreds of hours after class at Niles West High School mastering English. She now considers the ability to read, write and speak English fluently one of her major achievements. "I learned the language," she said, "and I knew that if I could do that, I could accomplish just about anything."

After attending Oakton Community College, Butvinnik transferred to Roosevelt's Schaumburg Campus to pursue her next goal, a degree in business.

"Through extensive research," she wrote in an admission essay, "I found that Roosevelt University is a place where professors take great interest in the education their students receive and they are willing to help them through the years, which is very important to me."

That research hit the target as Butvinnik excelled at Roosevelt. She graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average while majoring in management and finance. She also was selected for membership in Roosevelt's Franklin Honor Society, an organization that recognizes scholarship and character.

While Butvinnik is special to us at Roosevelt, she is not one of a kind. All universities have numerous students, many of them recent immigrants, who must overcome incredible obstacles to earn their degrees.

Roosevelt University has a long tradition of educating talented minority and immigrant students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Founded in 1945 to provide higher educational opportunities to academically qualified students from diverse backgrounds, we have lived up to that mission and are consistently ranked by U. …