President Alan W. Cramb Among DJs Who Performed During Virtual Dance Party

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By Mary Owen-Thomas

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Illinois Tech President Alan W. Cramb kicked off 60 hours of music on the university’s student-run radio station, WIIT 88.9 FM, on April 3–6, for a virtual dance party to bring the campus together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first song: “Strange Days” by The Doors. 

Cramb was one of about a dozen DJs—including students, alumni, and community members—who spun tunes from Friday night to Monday morning. The music could also be heard online at radio.iit.edu.

Formerly a DJ during his college days, Cramb played 16 songs from his personal vinyl collection.

“The only thing you’re going to hear are albums I have. And I stopped buying albums in about 1984,” Cramb told listeners on Friday, April 3. “So everything is from between the late ’60s to ’84. And I decided that since I used to do this when I was a college student, playing in bars and clubs, I will only do vinyl.”

Cramb broadcast from the A. Sidney Katz Radio Studio in The McCormick Tribune Campus Center. Katz, a 1962 electrical engineering alumnus, donated the funds to refurbish the studio in 2010. As a student, Katz was a DJ at the station, which was then housed in the basement of a campus fraternity house.

The other weekend DJs submitted MP3s of their music set list to maintain social distancing practices.

The virtual dance party was Cramb’s idea. The Office of Campus Life worked with the radio station to make the event happen.

“In-person social distancing does not mean total isolation, and in this difficult time, we need to support one another now more than ever. The Illinois Tech community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our neighbors here in Bronzeville—has a chance to lift one another up,” says Cramb. “As a metallurgist, I can’t help but think of tempered steel that is made stronger by fire. When this is all over, we will be stronger and we will have learned important lessons about the importance of duty, kindness, and community.”

Illinois Tech moved all courses online last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Campus Life has moved several events online and is creating new virtual opportunities for students, such as a campus-wide esports tournament, which will be held on April 15. (Click here to register for the tournament.) Live band performances and streaming fitness and cooking courses are also planned. Click here for a full list of virtual student events.

“Just because we are socially distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t come together as a community,” says Patrick Fina, director of Illinois Tech’s Office of Campus Life. “Life outside class instruction is still so important for our students.”

Photo: Illinois Tech President Alan W. Cramb DJs on Friday, April 3, 2020, in the A. Sidney Katz Radio Studio in The McCormick Tribune Campus Center during a virtual dance party.

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