Letter from the President

Innovations often start small. But with the right amount of support, mentorship, and fortitude, our fledgling ideas can grow to become astounding endeavors. And those endeavors, in turn, will inspire others to follow.
As I read about the continued accomplishments of our alumni, I am always profoundly inspired by Illinois Institute of Technology’s legacy as an institution that inspires and supports its learners to do great things.
We have recently achieved some remarkable milestones on this journey.
This spring, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago, we announced the launch of the Runway 606 initiative, which aims to dramatically expand STEM pathways for CPS students and
reduce their path from high school to a master’s degree by up to two years. This is the next step in our continued effort to live up to our founding mission to create opportunities for learners from all backgrounds.
And when it comes to opportunities for our students and alumni, I am proud to say that we have continued to grow through even more strategic partnerships. In pursuit of sustainability, Illinois Tech is a member of Great Lakes ReNEW, a six-state collaboration that was recently awarded up to $160 million from the National Science Foundation to build a Great Lakes-based water-focused innovation engine.
Additionally, we are investing to spark even more research and innovation in the future. In late 2023 we leased more than 34,000 square feet of cutting-edge wet lab facilities in Chicago’s growing life science innovation district, in a facility that also houses Portal Innovations and
the Chan Zuckerberg BioHub. We are the first academic institution to join this space.
I now invite you to read about some of your fellow alumni whose vision, drive, and accomplishments will likely impress you as much as they did me.
Martha Razo’s (AMAT, M.S. ’17) embrace of her family’s industrial business caused it to flourish where countless others failed. Her secret: to modernize, pivot, and talk with all new clients face-to-face. Jimmy Akintonde’s (ARCH ’95) development company grew from an office barely big enough for a second employee to a space enough for 150 employees, and it is now part of a team tackling the Barack Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side. Kaiwei Tang (M.B.A. ’06, M.DES. ’14) had a vision for a new type of smartphone—one stripped of the distractions that have caused so much national debate regarding their usefulness for children—and it has placed him far ahead of his time. Nidhal Bouaynaya (M.S. EE, CE ’02) is trying to train artificial intelligence tools that are trustworthy enough to guide soldiers on the battlefield, and Nancy Paridy (LAW ’83) is helping to lead what has been consistently ranked as the top rehabilitation hospital in the country.
We are extremely proud to highlight the continued accomplishments of our alumni community. Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to hearing about your stories in the future.


Raj Echambadi