Saturday, March 16, 2013

Roosevelt University news: bond rating down a notch, provost moving on

Posted By on 03.16.13 at 12:15 PM

Fitch Ratings announced Friday that it has downgraded $226 million in Roosevelt University bonds from BBB+ to BBB. Its rating outlook for Roosevelt is negative.

According to Fitch, the downgrade reflects a "muted" financial performance, "uncertain" enrollment outlook, and "a very high debt burden." Although the "University's seasoned and collaborative management team has implemented various plans that could position Roosevelt for enrollment and financial growth over the long term," Fitch says, revised projections for fiscal 2013 "fail to provide a material offset for the university's highly leveraged position."

Meanwhile, a key position on that management team is about to open. The Manhattan School of Music announced this week that Roosevelt Provost and Executive Vice President James Gandre will be its new president, effective May 6.

The MSM announcement describes Gandre as "a visionary leader" and "gifted fundraiser." But, as noted in this profile inspired by the construction of its stunning new building on Wabash (the primary cause of its debt), fundraising is something Roosevelt has struggled with.

Before moving up to the provost's job, Gandre was dean of Roosevelt's Chicago College of Performing Arts.

His departure's not exactly a surprise: a year ago he turned up as a finalist in the search for a new president at Wilkes University.

Roosevelt officials were not available for comment.

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