Letter from the President

Martin Jischke, president of Purdue University and a 1963 graduate of IIT, recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Chicago–Near South at a meeting on our campus. One of the things he said was that he felt very fortunate to have been the beneficiary of the vision and generosity of Philip Danforth Armour. Martin, who grew up in Chicago as the son of a grocer, said he felt that he was the kind of kid that Philip was trying to help when he contributed the money to found IIT in the late nineteenth century.

Martin’s story of Philip Armour is a reminder of another person who left a great legacy—John Rettaliata. In this issue of the magazine, John reminisces about his days as president of IIT, including his relationship with Mies van der Rohe, the extensive construction of Main Campus, and his constant role as fundraiser. We are all beneficiaries of the vision and dedication that John brought to the university more than a half century ago.

In many respects, IIT is experiencing a similar transformation today with the addition of University Technology Park At IIT. Through partnerships with the city and state, we are beginning the first phase of a new research park—and we’re helping transform our surrounding neighborhood in the process.

Some of the biggest advances on our campuses, however, tend to focus on issues that are somewhat smaller in nature. The work of Dimitri Gidaspow provides you with a big picture view on how nanotechnology is changing our world, while the efforts of IIT’s Center on Nanotechnology and Society evaluate those issues from an ethical perspective.

The stories in this issue of IIT Magazine just scratch the surface of the kind of work that goes on at IIT each and every day. As we continue to plan for our future, I want to thank many of our alumni and friends who recently provided feedback on our Mission, Vision, and Values statement. Your comments and suggestions will continue to motivate us as we create the 2010 Plan that will shape the programs, services, and direction of the university for the coming five years and beyond.

Lew Collens