Educational Philanthropist Jeanne M. Rowe to Receive Honorary Doctor of Social Science from Illinois Institute of Technology

Advocate for women and girls in STEM, Jeanne M. Rowe, will be recognized for her contributions to education and philanthropic support of schools, universities, and museums


Jeanne and John Rowe

CHICAGO—May 12, 2023—Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) will award Jeanne M. Rowe, a dedicated advocate for STEM education, particularly for women and girls, an Honorary Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa. The degree will be conferred at Illinois Tech’s 154th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

“I am deeply honored to receive this distinction from Illinois Tech, an institution that shares my commitment to providing STEM education to empower women and girls to achieve their full potential,” says Rowe. “Together, we strive to create a more diverse and inclusive future where all aspiring innovators can thrive and create a lasting difference in our world.”

Rowe, together with her late husband, John W. Rowe—a University Regent and former chair of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees—co-founded the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary and Middle Schools to foster educational success in the STEM fields. Rowe has served as a volunteer mentor at each of the schools and has tutored children at Pope John Paul II Catholic School and New Horizons of Southwest Florida in Naples, Florida. Additionally, she has led the “Girl Talk” seminar at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy.

“Jeanne Rowe’s commitment to education and her work in empowering the next generation of leaders in STEM fields is truly inspiring,” says Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi. “Her dedication to fostering educational opportunities for women and girls exemplifies Illinois Tech’s noble mission to liberate the power of collective difference to advance technology and progress for all. We are honored to recognize her prolific contribution to her field, the university community, and beyond.”

Rowe and her late husband have been significant supporters of universities and museums, sponsoring endowed chairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (John’s alma mater), the Field Museum in Chicago, and Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. They have also established three endowed chairs at Illinois Tech: the John and Jeanne Rowe Endowed Chair in the College of Architecture, the Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair, and the Rowe Family Endowed Chair in Sustainable Energy. Additionally, Jeanne and John created a faculty endowment at the College of Architecture to support bringing visiting fellows to campus as well as supporting the eventual recruitment of exemplary fellows to join the faculty.

“Social Science is the field that explores the complexity of human connections, so there is no better degree to confer to an extraordinary woman who understands STEM is a human endeavor. Women must be in STEM because we all should have the ability to shape the future and be shaped by it,” says Jennifer deWinter, dean of Lewis College of Science and Letters. “This work is near and dear to my heart, and I am inspired by Jeanne M Rowe's exceptional accomplishments and unwavering dedication to this mission, Illinois Tech, and society as a whole. Her visionary leadership has had a transformative impact on our students and the entire university community.”

The Rowes have also been recognized for their civic and professional leadership. In 2013 they were presented with the Chicago History Museum’s Bertha Honoré Palmer Making History Award for Distinction in Civic Leadership. In February of this year, [Jeanne] Rowe was named Illinois Tech’s fifth Adopted Hawk, a status granted to select non-alumni individuals who have become essential members of the university community through their actions in support of Illinois Tech.

For more information about Illinois Tech’s 154th Commencement Ceremony, please visit

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

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