US Department of Education visits CSU

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot visit Chicago State University During the Department of Education’s Return to School Road Trip

CSU was honored to host U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in September 2021 as part of the Department of Education’s "Return to School Road Trip," a bus tour highlighting schools and communities that have safely welcomed students back to in-person learning. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined the Secretary and Surgeon General in attending this event. Chicago State’s Board of Trustees Chair Andrea Zopp also attended.

Z Scott Quote


DR. Vivek Murthy visit CSU

The conversation included Dr. Chris Botanga, Professor of Physics, who serves as Director of the CSU-led Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program (ILSAMP). The National Science Foundation-supported program is designed to support historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields to increase the number of diverse STEM graduates. In addition, Dr. Mel Sabella, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, described CSU’s successful innovation in using students as Learning Assistants (LAs) who work alongside faculty mentors to facilitate their peers’ learning.  Several students highlighted their experiences as LAs and in participating in faculty-led scientific research. CSU is a leadership member in the national Learning Assistant Alliance.STEM Roundtable: The US Surgeon General, CSU Provost Leslie Roundtree, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean LeRoy Jones led a discussion highlighting CSU’s STEM programs and contributions to advancing equity throughout the STEM fields. Dr. Jones, also a Professor in Chemistry, highlighted the university’s success in graduating minority students in STEM.

Dr. Valerie Goss, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, described CSU’s recent National Science Foundation grant to support quantum science collaboration with the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Chicago, and Harvard University.

Prompted by the Surgeon General, the discussion also highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student health and wellness with a focus on Chicago State’s targeted student mental health resources as key to student success.

Secretary Cardona

“CSU is a place of Black excellence & community.”  Secretary Cordona


College of Pharmacy Class Visit: Secretary Cardona and Mayor Lightfoot toured a CSU College of Pharmacy lab and engaged with second-year pharmacy students participating in experiential learning through hands-on training. CSU is #1 in the Midwest in graduating diverse students with doctoral degrees in pharmacy.

Roundtable Highlighting CSU’s Leadership in Advancing Equity in Education: Secretary Cardona, Mayor Lightfoot, and President Scott led a roundtable discussion on the future of PBIs and the importance of equity in education. They were joined by seven CSU students who highlighted how they were supported by the University, both inside and outside of the classroom, during the pandemic. Many students also shared how they felt “at home” at CSU, describing the deep sense of connection and belonging they experience on campus and the importance of being surrounded by peers and faculty with whom they culturally identify.

US Dept Of Education Visit

Students highlighted several university programs and strategies implemented to support student success including the Call Me MISTER program, a national initiative devoted to increasing the number of diverse, male teachers in under-served, urban communities. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot emphasized how a strong CSU is critical to creating an equitable and inclusive workforce for Chicago’s future.  President Scott shared the importance of investing in PBIs as they not only increase student access and retention but to connect students and graduates to family-sustaining careers.

CSU Marching Band

The CSU Experience: CSU's Marching band, the Marching Soul of Chicago, welcomed guests with a lively performance featuring the Cougar Shuffle. The visit culminated with a stop at the Cougar men’s and women’s basketball teams’ practice in the Jacoby Dickens Center. While there, Secretary Cardona engaged with student athletes and coaches and filmed a PSA encouraging students to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

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