Letter from Alumni Board Chair Bob Hoel

Success is typically defined as an achievement in our personal lives, careers, or relationships. However, success takes on a unique meaning to each of us, and no matter what that is, our success is a direct representation of what happens when we reach our full potential to create innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.

Going to college is a monumental step in one’s journey that can seem exciting, yet daunting, all at once. For some, this time of exploration could even include changing your major until you find the field of study that best fits your potential and passions. Take it from me: before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and building a successful career, I was a chemistry major.

Most students view the concept of college as an ultimate finality. After your diploma is well-earned, you may believe the door to education has closed. At Illinois Tech, though, we are deeply committed to providing endless opportunities to continue to discover and dream as your journey continues.

When each of us chose to attend Illinois Tech, it was not solely for a degree—we came here to kickstart our future! The degree you receive from this institution is the tool you will use to continue to take your own unique steps toward success. It also serves as a key that unlocks a network of more than 80,000 alumni to champion your success. This type of culture is what makes our Alumni Association so inspiring.

It is my hope that you will give back to today’s students by serving as an alumni mentor. Each fall Career Services launches a mentorship program focused on connecting alumni to students in similar fields. This program—run through Illinois Tech Connect—provides a great opportunity for alumni to help lead students toward overall success as they step into the workforce. This is just one of the many valuable ways that you can help today’s students, and one in which they find immense value. You can serve as a mentor by filling out the interest form on Illinois Tech Connect at illinoistechconnect.iit.edu/f/get-involved. Please be sure that your Illinois Tech Connect profile has your up-to-date contact information at illinoistechconnect.iit.edu/f/contact-info.

I also encourage you to stay engaged with our university by attending various events that we host. From regional alumni gatherings around the world to campus career fairs and Homecoming, there is an event for everyone! Last fall we hosted our fourth annual Virtual Global Alumni Gathering, where we celebrated Life Trustee Marty Cooper (EE ’50, M.S. ’57) and the 50th anniversary of his generation-defining invention of the cell phone, organized a panel discussion about artificial intelligence, and connected with students and alumni representing 25 countries. It was an incredible event!

These opportunities put into perspective just how powerful our community is and can be. Each of us was born to be a difference maker in the world, and it all started with the confidence, ingenuity, and guidance of Illinois Tech. Please feel free to email me directly if you have any questions or to simply connect. You never know the impact you can have on a student’s unparalleled success by investing your most precious resource: your time.

Bob Hoel (BE ’70)
Trustee, Board of Trustees
Chair, Alumni Association Board of Directors