Mark Roosevelt

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Mark Roosevelt
Mark Roosevelt.jpg
Born 1955 (age 60–61)
Residence Santa Fe, New Mexico
Occupation President of St. John's College
Known for Seventh President of St. John's College, Santa Fe
Revival of the nearly defunct Antioch College
Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools (for 5 years)
Massachusetts legislator

Mark Roosevelt (born 1955) is the seventh president of the Santa Fe campus of St. John's College.[1] Previously, he was the President of Antioch College, from January 2011 to December 2015.[2] He has spent a vast majority of his career as a public sector change agent, advocating for improvements in education with the hopes of expanding opportunity, rigor and new design models. He was previously the superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the second largest school district in Pennsylvania, until December 31, 2010.[3] He is also a former state legislator of Massachusetts and former Democratic candidate for governor of the state.

Early life[edit]

Roosevelt grew up in Washington, D.C., with two brothers and a sister, where he attended St. Albans School.

Roosevelt is the great-grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and the son of Mary Lowe "Polly" (Gaddis) and Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., who was one of the key figures behind the controversial coup engineered by the CIA which restored the Shah to power in Iran in 1953. He was related to his 1994 Massachusetts gubernatorial opponent William Weld through Weld's wife at that time, Susan Roosevelt Weld[4] who is descended from Quentin Roosevelt II.

He earned his A.B. degree in history from Harvard University as well as a law degree from Harvard Law School.


Mark Roosevelt is the seventh president of the Santa Fe campus of St. John's College, known for its distinctive curriculum based in the reading and discussion of the Great Books. He took office on January 1, 2016. He was formerly president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.[5]

At the helm of Antioch College from 2011-2015,[6] Roosevelt worked with the faculty and his administrative team to define a path forward that they hoped would reestablish Antioch as a leading national liberal arts college.

At the core of his work has been addressing Antioch’s purpose. Antioch College remains committed to its social justice mission, an ethos established by founding President Horace Mann, who, during an address in 1853, admonished students to “win some victory for humanity.”

Roosevelt attempted to reconfirm Antioch’s commitment to this mission by articulating a vision[7] for the institution that rests at the heart of its strategic planning, curriculum design, and student and faculty recruitment efforts: "Antioch College will be the place where new and better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education."

Under President Roosevelt's leadership, Antioch College has recruited a Faculty of Scholar-Practitioners[8] dedicated to teaching; admitted high-capacity, idealistic students, a large number of whom come from challenging economic circumstances;[9] began a renovation of its 160-year-old campus;[10] and re-established one of the oldest and most robust cooperative education programs in the U.S.[11]

To deliver on the institution’s academic promise, Roosevelt, working with faculty and staff, developed a strategic plan that addresses student learning, program assessment, federal and state compliance, and economic sustainability.

He negotiated an agreement between the College and Antioch University—finalized in July 2013—that transferred ownership of NPR affiliate station WYSO-FM to the College and eliminated any future rights of the University to have claim on Antioch College’s campus or endowment.[12]

During Roosevelt’s tenure, the College’s student body has more than tripled and town-gown relations have improved, according to the college.[13] More than $31 million in capital renovation projects are in-progress or have been completed,[14] including historic North Hall, the Science Building and the Wellness Center.

On May 5, 2015, Roosevelt announced his departure from Antioch by the end of the year.[15][16] Dr. Thomas Manley has been hired as his successor, to begin in March 2016.[17] Roosevelt will take the presidency of St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, replacing Michael P. Peters.[18]

Before Antioch College[edit]

In 1977, Roosevelt served as campaign manager for the late John O'Bryant, the first black man elected to Boston's school board.[4]

He served in the Massachusetts General Court from 1986 to 1994 and had a remarkable record of achievement. For 28 years, legislation prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations had languished in committee or failed on floor votes. As its new chief sponsor, Roosevelt led an aggressive personal campaign that saw the bill enacted into law in 1989, making Massachusetts the second state in the nation to enact a Gay Rights Bill.[19]

In 1990 he was appointed Chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee, where he was the co-author and chief sponsor of the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993,[20] a national model for comprehensive state action to guarantee school districts the equitable resources and the accountability measures necessary for school improvement. Most observers credit the 1993 Act with the fact that Massachusetts now leads the nation in almost all categories of student and school performance.

In 1994, Roosevelt was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts and lost the final election to the Republican incumbent, William Weld by a large margin.

Following his bid for office, he served as CEO of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, Managing Director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and as a Professor of Politics and head of the Gordon Public Policy Center at Brandeis University.

A graduate of the 2003 Broad Superintendents Academy, Roosevelt was appointed on August 3, 2005, to the position of Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) superintendent. He accepted this post under the terms of a unique performance-based "Accountability Contract."[21] While in Pittsburgh, he implemented massive reforms for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, intended to ease the district's financial problems and improve academic standards. The plan included the closing of underutilized and under-performing schools, opening of Accelerated Learning Academies with a vigorous academic curriculum and longer school hours, the moving of several programs, and an increase in the number of Childhood Education Programs, K–8 schools and 6–12 schools.[22] He worked with the RAND Corporation's Pittsburgh office to design a performance-based school closing formula that contributed to what he hoped was relatively low in controversy.

Under his leadership, PPS met federal achievement standards (AYP) for the first time, won a highly competitive $40 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to maximize teacher effectiveness, opened several innovative new schools, adopted a more rigorous curriculum, and inaugurated a nationally recognized program to recruit, train and support school principals as instructional leaders.

In 2007, Roosevelt founded The Pittsburgh Promise and secured one of the largest donations ever to a public school system – a $100 million challenge grant from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The Promise has raised over $175 million to guarantee college scholarships to PPS graduates who meet certain academic standards. It is the largest program of its kind in the country,[citation needed] having sent more than 4,000 young people to college from 2008 through 2012.

In October 2010 he became a finalist for the position of President of Antioch College.[23] On October 6, 2010, he held a press conference to announce his resignation as Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools effective December 31, 2010. It was reported that he was the only finalist for the Presidency of Antioch College in Ohio.[2][24]

Roosevelt has also taught graduate level courses on the intersection of American history and public policy at Brandeis University and the Heinz Graduate School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.[25]


He is married to Dorothy, the project lead on Antioch College's Wellness Center, which opened to the public on September 6, 2014.[26] Prior to Antioch College, Dorothy worked at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a yoga instructor. They married in January 2005 [4] and have a daughter, Juliana, and a son, Matthew.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Mark Roosevelt, SJC Santa Fe's Seventh President". 
  2. ^ a b "Ohio college approves Mark Roosevelt as its new leader". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2010-10-17. 
  3. ^ Rujumba, Karamagi (2010-10-07). "Pittsburgh schools chief Roosevelt moving on". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  4. ^ a b c Zlatos, Bill (2006-05-16). "Making a name for himself". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  5. ^ Mark Roosevelt's page on the Antioch College website
  6. ^ Announced as Next President of AC
  7. ^ vision
  8. ^ Faculty of Scholar-Practitioners
  9. ^ Roosevelt welcomes second class
  10. ^ staged renovation of its 160-year-old campus
  11. ^ Re-established Education program
  12. ^ Purchasing WYSO-FM
  13. ^ Enrollment tripled during Roosevelt's tenure
  14. ^ Master plan
  15. ^ "Roosevelt to leave Antioch College in December". Yellow Springs News. May 14, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Antioch College president stepping down". Dayton Daily News. May 5, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Antioch College names new president". November 18, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Mark Roosevelt is incoming president for St. John’s College in Santa Fe". Albuquerque Journal. May 26, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  19. ^ Led campaign to allow Massachusetts second US state to allow Gay Marriage
  20. ^ Education Reform Act of 1993
  21. ^ Dowd, Patrick (2005-08-28). "Forum: Accountability for the city schools". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  22. ^ Increased Childhood Education Programs in Pittsburgh
  23. ^ Presidential candidate for Antioch College
  24. ^ Resignation of Pittsburgh Public Schools
  25. ^ Teaching career
  26. ^ New Wellness Center

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Silber
Massachusetts Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate
1994 (lost)
Succeeded by
Scott Harshbarger
Academic offices
Preceded by
Matthew Derr
President of Antioch College
Succeeded by
Tom Manley