Letter from the President

When I first arrived at Illinois Institute of Technology, I was thrilled to take my place in a growing, innovative community with such incredible potential. Now, after nearly two years serving as president, I can honestly say that the opportunities and innovations I’ve seen flourish on campus have far exceeded my expectations.

I’ve repeatedly pointed to our university’s founding mission—and it’s worth doing so again. We are here to offer every learner—no matter their background—the chance to contribute to advances in science and technology that will allow them to thrive in their fields. As I sit at my desk in the heart of Bronzeville, our home for more than 130 years, I am again reminded of the power of our collective differences, and I have already witnessed those differences contributing to incredible achievements.

Such achievements need both opportunity and support—two things that Illinois Tech now provides like never before.

We’ve bolstered our online offerings, using strategic partnerships with companies such as Outlier to provide opportunities for learners all around the world to access our comprehensive, tech-focused curriculums.

Together with DMG MORI, we will establish a national center for advanced manufacturing—one of the nation’s first joint university and industry academies to train, develop, and empower the advanced manufacturing workforces of the future. We have joined the Midwest Semiconductor Network, allowing for exciting research and vocational opportunities as we help build our country’s semiconductor and microelectronics industry. And we recently received a federal grant to create the Bronzeville Opportunity Engine on campus, which will deepen our relationship with the South Side neighborhood that we are proudly a part of, providing skills training and small business support for thousands who live here.

I know we could not have achieved any of this without the strong support of our alumni. As I look at some of those highlighted in this issue, I am reminded that Illinois Tech has always had, at its core, a community of leaders and innovators who do not choose a common path—I am once again appreciative of the power of our collective differences.

Take the timely topic of clean energy: John Katsoudas’s (M.S. PHYS ’03) company, Influit Energy, is working on creating the world’s first rechargeable, safe, liquid electric fuel. In the health care field, Michael Plesniak (ME ’83, M.S. ’84) has applied his deep knowledge of fluid dynamics to the complexities of the human body, with impressive results.

In the public sector, Cynthia M. Ferguson (LAW ’00) has dedicated her career to improving the environment for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstance, and she was recently appointed by the White House as the Department of Justice’s first environmental justice officer.

Illinois Tech will continue to position its students and alumni on the cutting edge of the forthcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era that will be marked by technological transformation and the ability to see where those advances might lead. 

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to our future achievements together.