Letter from the President

Raj Echambadi

As my first semester as president winds down, I remain struck by the magnitude of what Illinois Institute of Technology represents. The accomplishments of our alumni are numerous and immeasurable, from the technological innovations of Armour College of Engineering graduates, to the impact that College of Architecture alumni have had on the skylines of Chicago and cities around the world, to Chicago-Kent College of Law counting among its alumni the first African-American woman admitted to the Illinois bar. This publication, Illinois Tech Magazine, has highlighted many stories of excellence exhibited by our alumni, and I am pleased to introduce this issue, which continues that tradition.

The opportunity to lead an institution whose founding mission was—and still is—to serve as an engine of opportunity resonated deeply with me. Higher education has changed my life; I have been afforded the opportunity to serve as the 10th president of Illinois Tech because of the affordable and accessible education I received, both in my home country of India and in the United States. It is my honor to guide this great university into a changing future, one upended by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and one that is well positioned to prepare the next generation of leaders for the grand challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our founding mission is as important today as ever before, and I believe that Illinois Tech’s purpose—to provide unequalled opportunity, inclusive value, and affordability for diverse populations—is what the world needs to meet this historic moment in time.

As Illinois Tech’s president, I promise to remain committed to listening and leading based on the collective wisdom of our community—and our alumni play a vital role in shaping that vision in a multitude of manners, not the least of which is the way in which they inspire us through their actions. In this issue you’ll learn how some of them are doing that, including Dawveed Scully, who is working to make a transformative impact on the South Side of Chicago through the Michael Reese Hospital redevelopment; YJ Ahn, who is playing a leadership role in designing the future of (self) driving; Piyush Desai, whose outside-the-box thinking in building an electric motor could be a game-changing innovation in sustainability; and many others.

I look forward to working with all of you to develop new pathways and infinite possibilities for our students, faculty, and staff in order to bring greater representation to technology and to drive a more inclusive future.

Raj Echambadi