IIT On Track
My first year as president of IIT has come to a close, and I am more optimistic than ever about the future of the university. My enthusiasm and expectations for IIT have continually risen because of the achievements, values, and attitudes of our faculty, staff, and students. The support of our Board of Trustees has also provided a huge boost to our morale and aspirations. So the excitement of being president of IIT is even greater than a year ago. One cannot ask for more than that.
Celebration of progress over the past year is a good tonic for aiming higher the next year, so I will offer some examples of how IIT has advanced. Two outstanding new leaders have been brought to campus, Alan Cramb as provost and senior vice president, and Russell Betts as dean of the College of Science and Letters. Our spring Commencement was held outdoors on campus for the first time in decades; college-level receptions, a great turnout by students and families, and wonderful weather made it a memorable occasion. Enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels has improved faster than expected, and another strong class has been recruited for this year. We reconnected with many alumni chapters around the country and brought many alumni back to campus for a variety of celebrations. Eleven new members of diverse backgrounds were added to our Board of Trustees; of these, seven are alumni. Twenty new faculty of exceptional promise were hired. Our varsity athletes excelled on the field and in the classroom. Fifteen classrooms were renovated, and now 78 percent of our classrooms are in excellent condition. The non-stop efforts of our facilities staff improved our campus appearance. And new records were set in the annual pumpkin launch!
So what lies ahead this year? Well, the budget is a challenge, especially while we maintain our commitment to improve the university, but we will manage this. The strategic plan, based on the idea of “many voices, one vision,” will be completed and action steps will be identified. Our facilities will be improved, and our national and international visibility will be increased. The president and other university leaders will seek input through more open communication with the campus community and alumni. Our relations with the Chicago community, though already good, will be made even better. All of us will reinforce our dedication to excellence, going beyond merely what is expected. And, of course, fundraising will increase to fuel our advances. These are collective efforts requiring the dedication of us all. We need to remember the words of Will Rogers: “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
I assure you that IIT will not be sitting on the track.
John L. Anderson