Vasudevan “Raj” Rajaram (LAW ’91) has made it his priority in life to serve others. He has dedicated himself to nonprofit work since 2004, much of it with Illinois Tech. He mentors students in Stuart School of Business, helps the Office of Undergraduate Admission recruit minority students, and rallies international alumni to aid in recruiting programs. Rajaram has served two terms on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and has returned for a third. He has also volunteered countless hours to domestic and international alumni initiatives in his role as chair of the International Alumni Committee.
Rajaram spent 43 years in the geotechnical and environmental engineering field and worked for five major companies in the United States and Canada. In 1986 he founded Midwest Engineers in Chicago and decided to act on his lifelong interest in environmental law and take night classes at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Although he earned his juris doctorate, he elected to remain in the engineering field and founded Tetra Tech India, an environmental management company, in India in 1997. Illinois Institute of Technology has chosen Rajaram as the recipient of three Alumni Association awards: the International Leadership Award in 2000, the International Award of Merit in 2002, and the Alumni Service Award in 2016.
During Rajaram’s time on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, he chaired the university’s first-ever Global Alumni Gathering in 2014, and now his volunteer efforts have come full circle as he has been hard at work raising sponsorship funds for the 2019 Global Alumni Gathering. This year’s event, to be held from November 1–3 in Bengaluru, India, will focus on the topics of climate change and its mitigation and adaptive technologies. Full program details are still being finalized, but information is available at alumni.iit.edu/global-gathering-2019.
“We are very lucky this year to have two generous alumni from India who have stepped up to cover the cost of the program,” Rajaram says. Parth Amin (BA ’85) and Sanjay Kirloskar (ME ’78) had offered their assistance with the 2016 Global Alumni Gathering, held in Paris, France, but ultimately were not able to participate. Rajaram remembered their offer and asked for their help this year, which they were eager to provide. Kirloskar, chairman of Kirloskar Brothers, Ltd., will present keynote remarks at the program’s opening reception and dinner. Amin, chairman of SLK Group, will lead a tour of SLK Software for participants and host a gathering in his home for attendees. Illinois Tech’s Office of Alumni Engagement and SivaKumar Dandapani, operations director of Illinois Institute of Technology (India) Private Ltd., are actively working with Rajaram and the planning committee to make the Global Alumni Gathering a success.
“This year’s Global Alumni Gathering is going to be very exciting,” Rajaram says. “We are a global university, with students and alumni from all different parts of the world, and we’re all looking for opportunities to connect. Here we can network, share news, and discover the great things our fellow alumni are doing. It’s all about making connections.”