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Power the Difference

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Illinois Tech is standing on the shoulders of more than a century of continuous, inclusive innovation. Today, we have a unique opportunity, rooted in our founding mission, to create a new type of university for the twenty-first century; one that blends technology and human-centered education and uplifts people from all backgrounds to help meet the needs of the age.

We are in a world that continues to call for new and different ways of thinking. And Illinois Tech is born to answer that call, by bringing together the power of collective difference.

The Past 

The announcement of the Power the Difference campaign harkens back to the founding of Illinois Tech, in 1890, when Chicago minister Frank Wakeley Gunsaulus delivered what came to be known as the “Million Dollar Sermon” from the pulpit of his South Side church near the site that the university now occupies.

At a time when advanced education was often reserved for society’s elite, Gunsaulus said that with $1 million, he could build a school where students of all backgrounds could prepare for meaningful roles in a changing industrial society. Philip Danforth Armour Sr., an industrialist and philanthropist, answered Gunsaulus’s call and provided the funds needed to found the university that would become Illinois Tech.

Illinois Tech was established to provide unmatched opportunity and value to students by ensuring access to an elite technological education. Our unique multidisciplinary education is preparing students to seek solutions to better themselves, the Chicago area, and the world.

The Present

Today, Illinois Tech is writing the next chapter of its firm foothold as a global leader in inclusive innovation. We are an opportunity engine providing access to academic excellence and practical learning to students of all different backgrounds and bringing those perspectives together to drive innovation for all. This is who we are—and what we were born to do.

As such, on September 15, 2022, President Raj Echambadi and Chair Michael Paul Galvin (LAW ‘78) delivered what is being called the “Billion Dollar Sermon.” 

The Power the Difference campaign has already raised more than $357 million during its initial leadership phase—more than one-third of the way to a $1 billion campaign goal.

The campaign is focused on making Illinois Tech’s long-term strategic plan a reality by helping the university 1) grow its student body; 2) invest in faculty, facilities, and educational programs; 3) develop and deliver new world-leading research programs; and 4) serve as the premier technology-focused university in Chicago.

Read the full campaign announcement here.

The Future

The Power the Difference campaign, the largest fundraising effort in university history, will catapult the university into a new era—one where we become the global leader in inclusive innovation and education. The difference we choose to make today will mean the exponential improvement in the lives of others tomorrow. And it is in our power to build this future.

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