Letter from the President

Alan Cramb

The beginning of the fall semester is always an exciting time on our campus, and I am especially honored and proud this year as it marks my first anniversary as president of Illinois Tech. For the start of the 2016–17 academic year, the number of new degree-seeking undergraduates and graduate students has already exceeded last year’s numbers.

I am also pleased that in just one year we as a community—faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends—are well on our way toward achieving the goals for the university that I introduced at my inauguration last September. In this final IIT Magazine for the current calendar year, I would like to report several wonderful accomplishments pursuant to the first three of those goals. We wish to become:

A university where there is a strong focus on both education and the development of new knowledge, where excellence is expected and not an aspiration

  • Our Board of Trustees approved several new degree programs—a co-terminal B.S. in applied mathematics/M.S. in data science, a co-terminal degree in social and economic development policy/public administration, a dual-degree path in biology and psychology, and an M.S. in management science.
  • The Institute of Design launched a new executive education program in India.
  • The School of Applied Technology’s Bachelor of Information Technology and Management Program was accredited.
  • The John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center and the Robert A. Pritzker Science Center were both renovated and opened to support education in the twenty-first century.

A university where outstanding faculty scholarship combined with an ability to inspire our student body to high achievement is also expected and valued

  • Five junior faculty were recognized with 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, the highest number of CAREER awards for Illinois Tech in any one academic year. 
  • The Faculty Council, headed by Associate Professor Joseph Orgel, began new dialogue with Student Government Association representatives as well as initiatives with the Career Services team to both establish and strengthen relationships among faculty, students, and industry.
  • Thanks to Trustee Madhavan Nayar (M.S. IE ’68), and his wife, Teresa, on behalf of the Nayar Family Foundation, a second round of faculty teams are on their way to developing more breakthrough projects with a societal impact through the $1 million-plus Nayar Prize II.

A university that values creativity, innovation, and the entrepreneurial endeavors of its faculty, staff, and alumni

  • Trustee Chris Gladwin gave $7.6 million to our university to help advance our Department of Computer Science.
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law initiated a program to enable new inventors to gain pro bono patent advice from veteran patent attorneys.
  • Our inaugural Staff Advisory Council and Student Advisory Council were established.
  • We broke ground for our Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, which will be the physical manifestation of a transformed curriculum driven by applied creativity.

To cap our first year of accomplishments, I would like to highlight the successful close of Fueling Innovation: The Campaign for IIT. A summary of the campaign and thank you letter from Joel Krauss (MATH ’71), John Rowe, and Bud Wendorf (ME ’71) are found in this issue.

With such a year of achievement, I am confident that we will maintain our momentum, and working together as a community, continue on our positive course.    

Alan W. Cramb