$150 Million Combined Gift, Novel Research, Record Admission Top 2019 Illinois Tech Highlights


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In 2019 Illinois Tech achieved several milestones, including significant successes in admission, research, and fundraising.

“We had the best year of fundraising in the history of the university. We refinanced all of our debt, grew our undergraduate student body to the largest full-time population in the last 30 years, completed our new strategic plan, and initiated the $24 million renovation of the newly named George J. Kacek Hall,” says Alan W. Cramb, president of the university, about the 2019 accomplishments, a few of which were featured in a university video.

A $150 million combined gift to Illinois Tech—the largest cumulative gift announcement in the university’s history—helped to anchor a successful year for fundraising. The combined gift from prominent Chicago leaders will help the university drive Chicago’s continued tech rise, and fund scholarships and new campus facilities.

Michael P. Galvin (LAW ’78), chairman of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees, and his wife, Elizabeth; University Regent Craig J. Duchossois and his wife, Janet; and former board chair and University Regent John W. Rowe, and his wife, Jeanne, were among the prominent Chicago leaders who made the gift. Other contributors include the late George J. Kacek (EE ’54, M.S. ’55), for whom the newly renovated residential hall on Illinois Tech’s Mies Campus will be renamed, and anonymous donors. 

The fundraising highlights included:

  • Faculty member Richard Conviser’s additional gift of $8 million to Chicago-Kent College of Law, bringing his lifetime giving to more than $12 million and renaming the law school building the Conviser Law Center
  • The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed residence hall on 31st Street, Bailey Hall, is currently under construction and will open to students this fall as George J. Kacek Hall, thanks to the estate gift of alumnus George J. Kacek
  • John W. Rowe and Jeanne Rowe’s gift of $20 million to rename State Street Village the Jeanne and John Rowe Village and to support the university’s strategic priorities
  • Craig J. Duchossois and Janet Duchossois’s gift of $20 million to support the university’s strategic priorities
  • Michael P. Galvin and Elizabeth Galvin’s $40 million gift to support Chicago-Kent College of Law, the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, and the university’s strategic priorities

Highlights in university leadership included the hiring of three new academic deans, a new Graduate College dean, and one new institute director. Academic dean hires were Reed Kroloff (College of Architecture), Lance Fortnow (College of Science), and Anita K. Krug (Chicago-Kent College of Law). Jamshid Mohammadi was hired as dean of Illinois Tech’s Graduate College. Philip R. Troyk was appointed as the executive director of the Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering.

In addition, Britt Burton-Freeman became the chair of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, and Associate Professor Nick Menhart became chair of the Faculty Council. Ernie Iseminger joined the university as vice president for advancement. Director of HEA compliance and Title IX coordinator, longtime university employee Virginia Foster, became a direct report to the president and joined the President’s Council.

Faculty accomplishments spanned all colleges at Illinois Tech. Just a few of these achievements included:

  • Mohammad Shahidehpour (Armour College of Engineering), who is director of Illinois Tech’s Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, was awarded the 2019 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power & Energy Society Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award.
  • Roya Ayman (Lewis College of Human Sciences) was named a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology for 2019. 
  • Philip R. Troyk’s (Armour College of Engineering) research on a novel intracortical visual prosthesis system for people who have lost their sight continues to move toward clinical trials.
  • Ali Cinar’s (Armour College of Engineering) research on multivariable artificial pancreas systems received the 2019 Artificial Pancreas Award from the Diabetes Technology Society.
  • David McCormick’s (IITRI, College of Science) development of a novel drug to cure sleep apnea is expected to move to clinical trials.
  • John Ronan (College of Architecture) won two American Institute of Architects Awards for the design of the Kaplan Institute.
  • Mar Hicks (Lewis College of Human Sciences) received the Herbert Baxter Award from the American Historical Association.
  • Tom MacTavish’s (Institute of Design) work in developing WaveLAN, the precursor to Wi-Fi, was recognized with an IEEE Milestone Award.
  • Cybersecurity Research Fellow Anita Nikolich (College of Science) was named co-director of the $20 million National Science Foundation-funded FABRIC project to develop a new decentralized internet.
  • Sanjiv Kapoor (College of Science) was elected as a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors.
  • The team of Lori Andrews (Chicago-Kent College of Law), Miles Wernick (Armour College of Engineering), and Yongyi Yang (Armour College of Engineering) became a finalist for Nayar Prize II.
  • David Minh (College of Science), Lindsay Sheehan (Lewis College of Human Sciences), and Kenneth Tichauer (Armour College of Engineering) were named to the Halo Cures “40 under 40 Chicago scientists” list.

Other notable achievements at Illinois Tech ranged from financial improvements to the addition of new degree programs to improvements in student services. A few highlights included:

  • Moody’s improved the university’s financial rating to a stable Baa3, indicating continued improvement in Illinois Tech’s financial position as a university.
  • Illinois Tech will receive $15 million from the state for capital projects.
  • Illinois Tech joined the Discovery Partners Institute.
  • Illinois Tech launched the first artificial intelligence undergraduate degree in the Midwest.
  • Illinois Tech launched a new master’s degree in pharmaceutical engineering.
  • The College of Architecture and the Institute of Design celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus.
  • The Ocient Computational Center opened to support Illinois Tech’s computer science faculty. 
  • S. R. Crown Hall was equipped with rooftop solar panels connected to a new Tesla battery. 
  • The Commons Dining Hall was upgraded with a new, consolidated beverage center, new dishwashing equipment, and new refrigeration equipment, all to improve the overall student experience.
  • Sidewalk lighting was upgraded to LED for a total of 200 upgraded fixtures across Mies Campus, greatly improving safety and reducing energy use.
  • The university hosted Operation Power Play, a statewide disaster preparedness exercise coordinated by ComEd that involved 50 federal, state, county, municipal, and private entities.
  • The John and Pat Anderson Cafe opened in the Ed Kaplan Institute Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship. 
  • The intersection at 35th Street and State Street was upgraded with new landscaping and pedestrian safety improvements.
  • The university website was completely redesigned to focus on student recruitment and marketing of Illinois Tech’s degree programs.