Illinois Tech Announces $500 Million Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign Aimed to Leverage the Power of Difference to Fuel Chicago’s Tech Rise

University Announces It Has Raised More Than $300 Million During Leadership Phase of the Largest Fundraising Campaign in University History


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Chicago, IL—November 19, 2020—Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) today announced a $500 million fundraising campaign to advance the university’s standing as the leading technology-focused university in Chicago. Over the course of the last four years, the university has raised more than $300 million, which includes a historic $150 million combined gift made last year, as a part of the campaign’s leadership phase.

The campaign, Power the Difference: Our Campaign for Illinois Tech, will help advance Illinois Tech’s founding mission to provide first-generation college students with a seat at the table of innovation. Campaign funds are already being utilized to help further establish Illinois Tech as one of the ‘best value’ universities in the region and across the nation through new and unique learning models, including required computational literacy in every degree, a quarter-century-old collaborative and interdisciplinary curriculum focused on entrepreneurial skills, and hands-on training and mentorship as a core part of its curriculum.

Funds from the campaign will go toward making Illinois Tech’s long-term strategic plan a reality by helping 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.

“Illinois Tech is called to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all,” said Michael P. Galvin (LAW ’78), chair of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees. “Our Board of Trustees remains committed to answering our founding call to provide differentiated higher education and career success coaching to students from all backgrounds.”

Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper (EE ’50, M.S. ’57) and his wife, Arlene Harris, are the most recent contributors during the campaign leadership phase; their $20 million commitment is one of now six gifts of $20 million or more. Additional leadership gifts have already helped launch new scholarships, fund residence hall renovations, and provide financial support to help students who are facing hardships.

“Through their dedication and generosity, these leaders are sending a clear message that a strong and growing Illinois Tech is central to driving Chicago’s continued tech rise,” said Illinois Tech President Alan W. Cramb. “As the number two school in the nation in overall economic mobility among highly selective private universities, Illinois Tech is committed to fueling equitable tech growth in Chicago.”

“From the cell phone to Amazon’s Alexa, Illinois Tech’s alumni are behind some of today’s most impactful scientific and technological innovations,” said Trustee and Chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors Sherrie Littlejohn (M.S. CS ’82). “As an alumna, I’m proud of Illinois Tech’s legacy. With this campaign, all of us have an opportunity to participate, ensuring that the best is still to come for Illinois Tech and our students.”

The campaign will focus on increasing access and opportunity to top-tier technological and scientific education for students from all backgrounds, as well as on improving the student experience with upgraded living, learning, research, and recreational spaces. The Illinois Tech Board of Trustees approved a $500 million campaign goal at its October 22 annual meeting.

“This campaign is designed to empower the success of our students in every dimension,” said Illinois Tech Provost Peter Kilpatrick. “As we forge ahead with our university’s strategic plan, we will enable our students to reach their fullest potential as professionals and persons in order to fuel Chicago’s tech rise.”

Founded in 1890 with the unique mission to provide unmatched opportunity and value to students from all backgrounds on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois Tech is ranked No. 1 in the state for lifting students from families in the bottom 20 percent income bracket to the top 20 percent, according to the Equality of Opportunity Project and the New York Times.

“Last year’s historic combined gift signaled to the world that Illinois Tech is leading the way in empowering students with the workforce-ready skills needed to drive scientific and technological advancement on a local, national, and international scale,” said Ernie Iseminger, vice president for Advancement at Illinois Tech. “Every single one of us can make a difference in our lives through philanthropy. Power the Difference is designed to engage our entire community in ways that are meaningful.”


Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, is a private, technology-focused research university. Illinois Tech is the only university of its kind in Chicago, and its Chicago location offers students access to the world-class resources of a great global metropolis. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. One of 22 institutions that comprise the Association of Independent Technological Universities, Illinois Tech provides an exceptional education centered on active learning, and its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Illinois Tech uniquely prepares students to succeed in professions that require technological sophistication, an innovative mindset, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Visit