A ‘Billion Dollar’ Purpose
By Brianne Meyer

Illinois Tech Announces $1 Billion Power the Difference Campaign

We are in a world that continues to call for new and different ways of thinking. Illinois Institute of Technology was born to answer that call by building off of our founding purpose—one worth $1 billion.

This fall the university announced a $1 billion fundraising goal for Power the Difference: Our Campaign for Illinois Tech. On September 15, 2022, with Vice President for Advancement Ernie Iseminger as emcee, Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi and Board of Trustees Chair Michael P. Galvin (LAW ’78) delivered what has now been dubbed the “Billion Dollar Sermon.”

This historic announcement demonstrates Illinois Tech’s unwavering commitment to its mission—to uplift people of all backgrounds with an education that will help meet the needs of the age and to empower the next generation of leaders to seek solutions to better themselves, the Chicago area, and the world.

The Past

In 1890, when advanced education was often reserved for society’s elite, Chicago minister Frank Wakeley Gunsaulus delivered his "Million Dollar Sermon," casting a vision for a new kind of university where all students could prepare for meaningful roles in a changing industrial society.

The challenge was met with Philip Danforth Armour Sr.’s donation, and Illinois Tech began its journey to ignite the power of collective difference to build the future that they wanted to see.

And since then, we have given rise to skyscrapers, made vehicles meant for Mars, and found new ways to power the planet in our quest to take humankind to new heights and explore new frontiers. 

The Present

Today, Illinois Tech is writing the next chapter of its firm foothold as a global leader in inclusive innovation. The Power the Difference campaign strengthens the university’s role as an engine of opportunity, providing access to academic excellence and practical learning for students from all backgrounds and bringing those perspectives together to drive innovation for all. 

“The technological transformation of higher education creates an exciting potential for Illinois Tech’s future growth. We now have an opportunity, rooted in our founding mission, to create a new type of university for the twenty-first century,” says Echambadi. 

Focused on making Illinois Tech’s long-term strategic plan a reality, the Power the Difference campaign will help the university grow its student body; invest in faculty, facilities, and educational programs; develop and deliver new, world-leading research programs; and serve as the premier technology-focused university in Chicago.

The Future

The Power the Difference campaign—the largest fundraising effort in university history—will catapult Illinois Tech into a new era, allowing us to reimagine education and empower future innovation. The difference that we choose to make today will mean exponential improvement in the lives of others tomorrow

“Illinois Tech is leading the way in empowering students with the skills needed to drive scientific and technological advancement on a global scale,” says Iseminger. “Power the Difference is designed to shape the next century of leaders and create the next era of innovation for the world. It will take everyone to successfully reach our campaign goal, but I am confident that our alumni and university community will continue to rally in support of this inspiring cause.”

Our future is calling us, just as it did over 130 years ago with “The Million Dollar Sermon.” And this is our time to respond to that calling. This is our time to power the difference.