Illinois Tech Recognizes 14 Leaders with 2020 Alumni Awards

Virtual Ceremony will Honor Members of the Illinois Tech Community who Have Helped Fuel Chicago’s Tech Rise and Made a Mark on the Global Tech Ecosystem


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Chicago, IL — September 25,  2020 — Illinois Institute of Technology will recognize 14 leaders for their outstanding contributions to the university, their respective professional fields, and the greater community.

The 14 recipients of the 2020 Alumni Awards come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including technology, business, architecture, and military. Award winners will be honored during a virtual ceremony on September 26. Click here for more information.

All award recipients are Illinois Tech alumni, with the exception of the Galvin Award recipient, which is reserved exclusively for deserving non-alumni. This year’s honorees include the Cook County public defender, several university educators, a tech company founder and entrepreneur, the president of Honeywell China, and a decorated Brigadier General in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Below are the recipients:

Alumni Medal

David Crowell (ARCH ’79): a nationally and internationally recognized expert in high-rise buildings with more than 40 years of experience, his notable work includes leading the design phase for The Shard in London, and he was part of the project management team of the Shard in London and Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, which when completed, will be the tallest building in the world.

Collens Merit Award

Helmut Jahn, FAIA: an influential architect, known for designs such as Sony Center in Berlin, Germany, the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, and the Doha Exhibition and Conference Center. He was a founding member of the Mies van der Rohe Society and serves on the Board of Advisors for the College of Architecture at Illinois Tech.

Galvin Award

S. Christopher Gladwin: Board of Trustees member and chief executive officer at OCIENT. In 2004 he founded Cleversafe, which was based at Illinois Tech’s technology incubator, became the largest object storage vendor in the world, and was acquired by IBM in 2015 for $1.4 billion. Prior to Cleversafe, he served as the founding chairman, president, and CEO of MusicNow before its acquisition by Circuit City. The technology he started generated over 1,000 patents granted or filed, creating one of the ten most powerful patent portfolios in the world.

International Award of Merit

Michael Rogers (CE ’83): an accomplished engineer recognized in the field of dam safety, he has more than 40 years of experience in the design and construction of dams and hydroelectric projects. He currently works as a vice president and global dams practice leader at Stantec, where he has led projects such as the Big Bear Valley Dam Rehabilitation Project and the San Vicente Dam Raise.

Scott Zhang (M.S. MAE ’89, Ph.D. CHE ’92): president of Honeywell China, who has a long tenure of leadership experience, customer knowledge, and technological innovation. In addition to professional achievements, he is a dedicated and long-term volunteer with Zhangjiang Town Center Primary School, where he has been instrumental in planting the seeds for STEM education among students.

John J. Schommer Honor I Award

Patrick Rush (FMT ’97, M.B.A. ’98): a former Illinois Tech athlete who learned teamwork and leadership while on the baseball team. He has more than 22 years of experience in the financial industry and has been CEO of Triad Financial Advisors since 2012. His first book, Gain Big and Give Back: Financial Planning with Intention is being published by Forbes Books in the fall of 2020.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sidney Jeffe (ME ’50): the first in his family to graduate from college, he also served in the United States Army during World War II prior to attending Illinois Tech for engineering. He joined Chrysler shortly after graduation and stayed for more than 30 years, first as an automotive engineer and later as a corporate executive.

Syed “Zaheer” Zaheeruddin (M.S. IE ’75): an accomplished engineer with work in Saudi Arabia, India, and Australia, he worked in building construction, engineering, and building materials for more than 30 years. After his retirement, he volunteered as a bookkeeper and office administrator for a local nonprofit in Melbourne, Australia.

Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award

Kun Li (Ph.D. Finance ’15): an assistant professor at Beijing Normal University, he co-authored his first professional journal article in Journal of Behavioral Finance in 2016. His work has earned him a Beijing Talent Fund award, given to high-achieving professionals under age 35, in 2016.

Ricardo Vinuesa Motilva (M.S. MAE ’09, Ph.D. ’13): an associate professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, teaching courses in fluid mechanics and vehicle engineering. His work has earned him the Göran Gustafsson Award for young researchers.

Professional Achievement Award

Len F. Anderson IV (Science and Technology in Context ’93): a Brigadier General and Deputy Commanding General for the Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command, he currently leads a joint task force to combat violent extremism online. He previously flew as a demonstration pilot for the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, from 2002 to 2004, in active duty in Iraq in 2014, and in joint coalition forces combating ISIS in 2018.

Amy Campanelli (LAW ’87): the public defender for Cook County, she was appointed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in 2015, after a career in public defense representation. She was named one of “The 50 Most Powerful Women in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine in 2020 and was previously a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Michael Kassner (M.S. Metallurgical Engineering ’77): the current Choong Hoon Cho Chair and Professor of Materials Science at University of Southern California, he previously served in the U.S. Navy and was appointed as director of research at the Office of Naval Research from 2009 to 2012. He is actively pursuing research at USC on creep, fracture, fatigue, and thermodynamics.

John Kerin (EE ’84, M.B.A. ’90): named president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Stock Exchange in 2014, a role he held until the sale of the company in 2018, resulting in a 100-fold increase in common stock shareholder value in his four-year tenure. In 2018 he was awarded a patent related to automated order processing; since leaving the Stock Exchange he has worked with several startups in digital asset, crypto currency, and blockchain analytics.


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 23 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