The Illinois Institute of Technology has a new president, starting in August.
The research university has selected Raj Echambadi to lead the Bronzeville-based institution.
“To me, that founding vision of providing affordable and accessible education to all is what attracted me to Illinois Tech,” said Echambadi, who comes to Chicago from Northeastern University in Boston.
The move comes as Chicago strives to bolster its local tech industry while it emerges from the pandemic and grapples with ongoing questions of equity and community engagement.
“Illinois Tech is the only technologically oriented institution in Chicago, and therefore it has a very vital role to play with breakthrough technologies, changing the way we work, we live, we learn,” Echambadi said. “Advancing technology for all, so that we have an equitable world, is going to be a very important mission for Illinois Tech going into the future.”
The Illinois Institute of Technology has long been located in Bronzeville, a predominantly Black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.
Echambadi says the school can always do more to engage with its surrounding community and develop a “win-win” relationship for both parties.
“While there have been interesting collaborative opportunities, we need to do more. And this is about engaging with the Bronzeville community and listening to their needs, and offering what Illinois Tech can do,” he said.
Echambadi says he plans to meet with neighborhood leaders to hear how the school can work closer with them.
He takes the helm at Illinois Tech on Aug. 16.