Illinois Tech Mourns the Passing of University Regent John W. Rowe


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John Rowe

It is with a heavy heart that Illinois Institute of Technology announces the passing of John W. Rowe, a University Regent and former chair of the Board of Trustees who provided wise counsel, inspirational leadership, and transformational philanthropic support to the university.

Rowe did not attend Illinois Tech, but Robert A. Pritzker (IE ’46), also a University Regent and former chair of the board, convinced him to get involved. And when he did, Rowe genuinely connected with Illinois Tech’s founding mission and worthy purpose: to harness the power of our differences to advance technology and progress for all. Rowe served on the Illinois Tech board for 18 years and chaired it from 2006 to 2013. He led the search for former President John Anderson, and also served as co-chair of Fueling Innovation: The Campaign for IIT, which concluded in 2016 after raising more than $250 million including funding to support the restoration efforts of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center, and the Robert A. Pritzker Science Center. Rowe demonstrated a profound and steadfast belief in the future of Illinois Tech; was an enthusiastic leader; garnered business and civic support for the university; supported Illinois Tech's students, faculty, and administrative leadership; and encouraged the students from the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy—named for the generosity of John and Jeanne Rowe and Frank and Vera Clark, along with the gracious support of Exelon—to select Illinois Tech as their college of choice.

Rowe’s leadership and philanthropic support were acknowledged when he was honored with Illinois Tech’s highest recognition, which is being named a University Regent. Also that year, he received Illinois Tech’s prestigious Henry Townley Heald Award for his contributions to humanity and the Illinois Tech Alumni Association’s Galvin Award, named for fellow University Regent Robert W. Galvin and given to the university's most generous non-alumni benefactors.

Illinois Tech became one of Rowe’s highest philanthropic priorities. The generosity of John and Jeanne has touched every area of the university through support of scholarships, student success efforts, faculty endowed chairs and fellows, programmatic initiatives, and capital projects. John and Jeanne and their family are members of the Philip Danforth Armour Society, which recognizes donors who have given $1 million or more to Illinois Tech, and they are recognized at the $10 million plus level. In 2020 the State Street Village residence hall was renamed Jeanne and John Rowe Village in honor of the Rowe family’s extraordinary generosity.