“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” —Sir Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, 1675
This famous quote reminds us that our successes are based in good measure on contributions made by those who came before us. As I think about the importance of the university alumni and faculty who preceded us, I think of this quote.
IIT has more than 65,000 living alumni throughout the United States and the world. The achievements of our graduates are not only a source of pride for the university, but also a measure of our success in educating those who have made the contributions. While important creations and discoveries have been made at IIT, the dominant contributions to society have been through our graduates. The work of our alumni has led to the invention and development of technologies and products such as the cellular phone, magnetic recording, the first nuclear reactor for industrial research, the Pentium processor, and even electro-optical night vision equipment. However, bragging about these achievements is not enough. For sustained success, IIT needs engaged alumni who promote the university and stay connected.
The prominence of a university is as much dependent on alumni support as it is on the accomplishments of current students and faculty. The university has not done a good job of developing engaged alumni. We are committed to changing this. This effort has begun at IIT with a rejuvenated Alumni Board, headed by Trustee Adrian Nemcek (EE ’70) and supported by Trustees Andrea Berry (CS ’84), Joel Krauss (MATH ’71), and Bud Wendorf (ME ’71). The agenda of the board includes building relationships and lifelong connections with IIT alumni. We are seeing evidence of this effort through regional receptions, which are being hosted by alumni throughout the country, and a broad, increased alumni interest in the life of our university. Our goals are to build alumni pride, expand and strengthen the alumni network, and connect prospective and current students with alumni.
Alumni relations is a clear priority for us. To achieve the vision of IIT, we will need to stand on the shoulders of our alumni.
John L. Anderson
VISION: IIT will be internationally recognized in distinctive areas of education and research, using as its platform the global city of Chicago, driven by a professional and technology-oriented focus, and based on a culture of innovation and excellence.