Frank W. Gunsaulus
Frank W. Gunsaulus served as Armour Institute of Technology's first president for 27 years. A noted preacher, educator, pastor, author, and humanitarian, Gunsaulus inspired Philip Danforth Armour Sr. to found Armour Institute following his famous "million dollar sermon" in 1890. In that sermon Gunsaulus emphasized the need for the technician, trained and free to create in a rapidly-changing world. Over the next two years, he and Armour laid plans for what would become Armour Institute in 1892. During his presidency Gunsaulus presided over rapidly expanding areas of study including the Chicago School of Architecture, run in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago. Gunsaulus was a devoted trustee of the Art Institute and a collector of rare books and artwork. He donated many to Chicago-area institutions.
Howard M. Raymond
Following the death of Frank Gunsaulus in 1921 Howard Monroe Raymond was appointed acting president. He accepted the permanent role 14 months later and became Armour Institute's second president. A native of Michigan, Raymond moved to Chicago to join the school as an instructor of physics in 1895. He served as dean of engineering for 19 years before becoming president, a role he continued while president until 1927. During his leadership Raymond steered the school through some its most challenging financial years. The economy of the 1920s heavily impacted corporate support including that of the founding Armour family. But a major rallying effort by the growing Alumni Association brought in much-needed and stabilizing income. Raymond also presided over a Board of Trustees agreement to merge Armour Institute with the School of Engineering at Northwestern. Approved in 1926 the plan called for ambitious fundraising and spending for new buildings prior to a merger. The plan was abandoned by 1929.
Willard E. Hotchkiss
Willard E. Hotchkiss became Armour Institute's third president at a time when the school was still feeling the effects of the Great Depression. A political scientist and economist, he had been serving as dean of the graduate school of business at Stanford University. With considerable experience in dealing with business economic problems, Hotchkiss was considered the right choice at an important time in Armour Institute's history. Under his leadership, a department of social sciences and fifth-year courses in architecture and in chemical and civil engineering were established. While graduate-level courses had long been offered, few advanced degrees had been awarded. Hotchkiss led the expansion of study programs leading to master of science degrees. In his last year as president, the Research Foundation of Armour Institute of Technology was established to develop technological innovation for industry. Two years later the famous Snow Cruiser vehicle was engineered for use in Admiral Richard Byrd's South Pole expedition.
George N. Carman
The life of George N. Carman is inextricably bound to the history of one of Illinois Tech's predecessor schools, Lewis Institute. Carman guided the destiny of the school for 40 years, from the day its doors opened in 1896 until his retirement in 1935. Though the term was not then used, Lewis Institute was the first junior college in the United States. It offered a four-year academy (high school) course, a two-year college program, and a four-year college program. Carman's leadership went beyond Lewis Institute. He was one of the originators of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. A protege of University of Chicago president William Rainey Harper, Carman was chosen to craft the original Lewis educational programs. Carman is also remembered for his scrupulous attention to the individual student. He talked personally with each student before admitting him or her to courses. An estimated 100,000 students attended the Institute at Madison Street and Damen Avenue during the four decades of his directorship.
Dugald C. Jackson Jr.
Following the retirement of George N. Carman, Lewis Institute looked to Dugald C. Jackson Jr. to lead the school as its second director. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, he was educated at Harvard University and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jackson came to Lewis Institute from the University of Kansas, where he was head of the electrical engineering department, the same position held by his father at MIT. Addressing the First Assembly of the 1936–37 school year, Jackson noted that Lewis Institute must keep a vigilant eye on the courses offered, to ensure that students would be prepared to meet the needs of business and industry—not only at the time, but for the industries of the future. During his short term of leadership, Jackson also contributed to the organization of the faculty, clarifying the roles of department heads within the institute.
Fred A. Rogers
Fred A. Rogers was associated with Lewis Institute for more than 40 years. A Michigan native, he studied engineering, math, and physics at the University of Michigan. At Lewis Institute he taught math, physics, electricity, and electrical engineering and was dean of engineering for several years before assuming the co-directorship. The next year, Alex D. Bailey, chairman of the Lewis Board, announced plans to merge the school with Armour Institute of Technology. As Armour Institute president Henry Heald assumed the leadership of the combined schools in 1940, Rogers continued his association as dean of Armour College of Engineering.
Clarence L. Clarke
Like Fred A. Rogers, Clarence L. Clarke had a long teaching history at Lewis Institute before joining Rogers as co-director in 1938. A New York native, Clarke studied philosophy, psychology, and education. He later received a Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago. Before coming to Lewis Institute in 1928 he held a number of teaching posts in education, including positions at the University of Washington, Lewiston State Teachers College, Beloit College, and the University of Michigan. He was named head of the department of education at Lewis in 1935 and dean of liberal arts in 1936, a position he held concurrently while co-director. With the merger of Armour and Lewis institutes in 1940, Clarke was named dean of Lewis Institute Arts and Sciences.
Henry Townley Heald
Henry Townley Heald served as Armour Institute of Technology's president from 1937–1940 and oversaw the consolidation of Armour and Lewis Institute. That merger led to the formation of Illinois Institute of Technology in 1940, with Heald serving as Illinois Tech's first president. Heald served until 1952, and under his guidance, the university evolved from a small engineering school to a significant technology center. In addition he was instrumental in shaping the close relationship between industry and the research done at Illinois Tech by adding 60 leading industrialists to the Board of Trustees. Heald also recruited scholars from all over the United States and Europe including architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed and built Illinois Tech's landmark campus.
John T. Rettaliata
As the second President of Illinois Institute of Technology, John T. Rettaliata helped transform Illinois Tech from a small commuter college to the nationally renowned university it is today by offering degrees in fully developed independent programs, including liberal arts, law, architecture, management, finance, science, and technology. He shaped today's university through the merger with Chicago-Kent College of Law and the founding of Stuart School of Business.
Maynard P. Venema
After the resignation of John T. Rettaliata, Armour Institute of Technology alumnus and longtime university trustee Maynard "Pete" Venema served as president until a permanent replacement could be named. The highlight of Venema's stewardship was the development of a program to increase enrollment among women and minorities, a program that would realize substantial results under his successor. Venema, who also served as chairman of Universal Oil Products, endowed an undergraduate scholarship for chemical engineering majors in 1990.
Thomas Lyle Martin Jr.
An emphasis on bringing Illinois Tech's educational resources to the students rather than have them travel to a single campus, was among the highlights of Thomas Lyle Martin Jr.'s presidency. In addition to maintaining Chicago-Kent College of Law's downtown location, other university programs were placed there. Illinois Tech also acquired Midwest College of Engineering in 1987, giving the university a presence in the western suburbs. In 1973 Martin spearheaded the ground-breaking program to actively reach out to and recruit minority and women students. To bankroll these key initiatives, he undertook and completed a $100 million capital campaign.
Meyer Feldberg came to Illinois Tech in 1986 from Tulane University, where he had been dean of the School of Business. He spent a year as president-elect, assuming the presidency in June 1987. His tenure was marked by significant expansion of the university's physical facilities, including the $4 million gift of land in Wheaton, Illinois, to build the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Campus and the $7 million gift by CPC International, Inc. for a research and development facility in Bedford Park, Illinois, that was to become the university's Moffett Campus and the core of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology. Feldberg left Illinois Tech in 1989 to become dean of the Columbia Business School in New York, a position he held until 2004.
Interim President, 1989–1990
Henry Linden was associated with Illinois Tech for more than 50 years. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1952 and joined the faculty in 1954. As interim president Linden presided over a year of important developments, including an $8 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation to upgrade the residential and athletics facilities, and groundbreaking for the Conviser Law Center. Linden had extensive research, publication, and advisory experience in environmental and energy policy including a Presidential Appointment during the Ford Administration. He was president of the Institute of Gas Technology in 1947 and in 1977 he was the first president of the Gas Research Institute. The two organizations merged in 2000 to form the Gas Technology Institute, of which Linden continued to be an executive advisor. In 2005 he was named Max McGraw Professor of Energy and Power Engineering and Management.
While Lew Collens's 17-year tenure as president of Illinois Tech was among the longest of any of his predecessors, his service to the university began much earlier. From 1974–1990 Collens was dean of Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he also taught corporate and securities law. During his time as president, the university underwent a transformation at various levels: significant research centers and institutes were created, Mies Campus historic structures were physically restored and new structures were added, student quality and enrollment dramatically improved, and the university endowment increased from $50 million to $300 million. Collens championed the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program, an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to addressing real-world problems through a curriculum emphasizing student teamwork and leadership. Several new academic programs were also developed during Collens's tenure including University Technology Park, a facility that provides faculty expertise, office space, and state-of-the-art laboratories to both startup and established companies.
John L. Anderson
Prior to joining Illinois Tech, John L. Anderson served as provost and executive vice president of Case Western Reserve University and dean of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He began his academic career as a faculty member at Cornell University. During his tenure as president, he led efforts that achieved financial stability, improved the faculty, invigorated alumni relations, and enhanced the student experience. Total enrollment of full-time students grew significantly, and first-to-second-year retention improved to 91 percent. Awards supporting faculty research increased and the institution added 15 new endowed chairs. A tireless traveler, he reconnected thousands of alumni, across the country and around the world, to the university. Anderson served on the National Science Board and in 2019, began office as president of the National Academy of Engineering.