In November 1944, Central YMCA College President Edward Sparling was asked how many African-Americans were enrolled in the college. At the time it was common for colleges to institute quotas limiting the number of minority students admitted. When Sparling insisted on knowing the purpose of the question, "some unpleasantness occurred in a Board Meeting."
By February 1945, the Board of Directors informed President Sparling that they wanted him to find another job. Sparling proposed that the College be separate from the YMCA. Receiving no response to this proposal, Sparling enlisted the support of Marshall Field, III and others for the establishment of a college to be known as Thomas Jefferson College.
Early University Senate meeting.
A resolution was presented to the faculty and by April 9, 1945 incorporation papers had been drawn up. The application for the original charter for Thomas Jefferson College was in the mail on the day Franklin Roosevelt died. The charter was granted and a public announcement was made. Immediately there were requests to change the name to Roosevelt.
On April 24, 1945 a mass resignation was submitted to Central YMCA College and on April 26th, Thomas Jefferson College was renamed Roosevelt College.