Greetings from Illinois Institute of Technology,
Our university community and the rest of our country are embracing hope as the COVID-19 vaccines are being more widely distributed. We continue to follow the university health guidelines that we have established along with the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois guidelines. We are also excited to be making plans to resume in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester. You may stay current on Illinois Tech’s COVID-19 updates on our website.
We celebrated another virtual Commencement on May 15. Provost Peter Kilpatrick and I administered the degrees from the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, while speakers and honorees delivered online messages: keynote Commencement speaker Ankur Jain (CS ’03), founder and chief executive officer of B9 Beverages/Bira 91; student speaker Priscilla Akpabio (ME ’21); and honorary degree recipients Fay Clayton (LAW ’79), Arlene Harris, and John Anderson, president emeritus of Illinois Tech. You may read about some of the graduates on our news website.
An area of continued focus for Illinois Tech is on strengthening cultural awareness. Our Office of Human Resources is working to incorporate cultural knowledge and competence into educational practice, policymaking, and infrastructure. The goal is to create organizational norms that foster openness to—and respect for—discussing issues of cultural competence as well as to disseminate current information about all diversity initiatives. The position of vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion has been approved. Once hired, that individual will develop a comprehensive plan to support and expand diversity initiatives and measure outcomes at the university.
Advocacy for undocumented and international students has always been of great importance to me. I serve as one of three co-chairs on the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, composed of United States college and university leaders who are dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact their students, campuses, and communities. The Presidents’ Alliance supports policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented, and international students on campuses across the country.
Our university is a special community, dedicated to the idea that we can advance Chicago and the world by making a rigorous and quality education available to all who seek it. I know that we, as a community with a common mission, are more than capable of continuing to meet any challenge we face.
Alan W. Cramb