Illinois Tech Appoints Ellen Jordan, Alumna and Global Grounds CEO, as First Woman University Regent

Illinois Institute of Technology appoints Ellen Jordan—alumna, trustee, and Global Grounds CEO—as University Regent, making her the first woman to hold the role


Ellen Jordan, Alumna, Global Grounds CEO, and First Woman Illinois Tech Regent

CHICAGO—October 11, 2022— Illinois Institute of Technology is proud to name Ellen Jordan (PSYC ’79, M.B.A. ’81) as its eighth University Regent in recognition of her decades of service and leadership to Illinois Tech. Jordan is an alumna, trustee, founder and president of America’s Food Technologies, Inc., CEO of Global Grounds, LLC, and the first woman to hold this prestigious role at the university.

This appointment is particularly meaningful for Jordan as she hopes that her example will help to inspire a new generation of empowered female leaders. “At Illinois Tech, we have long embraced diversity,” says Jordan. “But gender parity—and social equality—is an area that the world needs to work on fostering continuously. It is my goal to help provide all people, especially young women, with access to the tremendous opportunities available, and it is my charge that they receive the nurturing support to make their own indelible marks on our world—and they will!”

As University Regent, Jordan aims to continue advancing Illinois Tech’s tradition of hands-on learning, cultivating entrepreneurial thinking, bolstering interdisciplinary collaborations, and widening the pipeline for people of all backgrounds, all while continuing to steward a working and learning environment in which all students and all faculty and staff members are able to realize their full potential.

“Illinois Tech was founded on the noble mission of liberating the power of collective difference to advance technology and innovation for all,” says Raj Echambadi, president of Illinois Tech. “Ellen Jordan stands among so many incredible and accomplished alumni as the embodiment of the power and potential of what our students can achieve.”

Jordan is a double graduate of Illinois Tech, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of business administration. She returned to Illinois Tech to join the Alumni Association Board of Directors as president before being elected to the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees in 1996. In 2015 Jordan was honored with the Illinois Tech Alumni Medal for her thoughtful leadership and unwavering commitment. She is currently serving as co-vice chair of the Board of Trustees, as chair of its Facilities and Public Safety Committee, and as a member of its Advancement Campaign Committee, as well as chair of the board of advisors of Illinois Tech’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH).

“Ellen Jordan’s success as an entrepreneur and her devotion to lifelong learning makes her a great role model within our Illinois Tech community and beyond,” says Ernie Iseminger, vice president for advancement at Illinois Tech. “Her commitment to philanthropy, community engagement, and the cultivation of our next generation of leaders perfectly exemplifies what it means to be Illinois Tech alumni.”

In addition to her role on the Board of Trustees, Jordan has served on the National Coffee Association’s Science Leadership Council for the past 20 years (and was the recipient of the NCA’s 2021 Volunteer Award), as chair and board member of the Coffee Quality Institute for 25 years, and as past director of the Specialty Coffee Association, where she received its Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award.

“Ellen Jordan is a titan in her field and a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit we aim to foster in our graduates,” says Michael P. Galvin (LAW ’78), chair of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees. “We are honored to appoint her as University Regent for her lifelong leadership and charitable commitment to our university community.”

Jordan is the mother of three daughters, including two Illinois Tech alumni: Brigid (M.B.A. ’19), Caitlin (M.S. MAC ’18), and Siobhan.

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

Media contact

Petra Kelly
Communications Director
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773.771.1064 

Howard J. Lee
Director, Advancement Communications 
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 202.487.5722