The Illinois Institute of Technology announced Rajagopal “Raj” Echambadi will be its 10th president. Echambadi is expected to lead IIT’s mission to foster inclusive innovation, a June 18, 2021 press release from the institution said.
Echambadi is a graduate in mechanical engineering and has a Masters in Business Administration from Anna University, with a Doctorate in marketing from the University of Houston.
He will take over the top administrative spot at the university on August 16 from outgoing President Alan W. Cramb, who announced his retirement from the post in December 2020.
Echambadi is the Dunton Family Dean at D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.
“Founded to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology for all, Illinois Tech selected Echambadi to lead its efforts to empower students from different backgrounds to achieve their potential,” the press release said.
Under Echambadi’s leadership, Illinois Tech says it will further its legacy of excellence by educating the next generation of innovators and creators who will fuel Chicago’s rise as a global destination for technology and entrepreneurship.
The decision to select Echambadi came after an extensive nationwide search by the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees which ultimately voted unanimously to approve the Indian-American candidate Monday, June 14.
“One of the most meaningful parts of the Illinois Tech ethos to me is the commitment to accessible and affordable technology education,” Echambadi is quoted saying in the press release. “My career has been dedicated to inclusive and collaborative innovation, and Illinois Tech’s commitment to creating pathways and infinite possibilities for a vast diversity of students not only brings greater representation to technology but also drives the greatest innovation,” Echambadi added.
“We have tremendous opportunities to serve Bronzeville, Chicago, and the world,” he said. “Illinois Tech has the requisite capabilities—intellectual, cultural, and social capital—and the right values embodied by our entire community to build upon our historic strengths, to chart a vibrant future, and to strengthen our role as a leading technological institution. My family and I are delighted to be part of this exciting journey and to be calling Illinois home again.”
Prior to joining Northeastern, Echambadi served as the Alan J. and Joyce D. Baltz Professor and the senior associate dean of strategic innovation at Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
He is credited with being a driving force behind the University of Illinois’s scaled online M.B.A. (iMBA) program, and being instrumental in helping to provide increased access to an innovative education to students across the globe.
A leading academic research expert in organizational strategic innovation, Echambadi has developed new and forward-looking academic programs designed to empower student success in a dynamic marketplace, the press release said.
The majority of his academic research has focused on strategic innovation within organizations and how companies should balance current and future opportunities.
Echambadi’s research on employee entrepreneurship won the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award.
“Raj’s experience in attracting strong researchers, corporate and philanthropic partners, and most importantly diverse students and faculty is undeniable,” said Michael P. Galvin, chairman of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees.
While at Northeastern, Echambadi created the Office of Student Engagement, Affinity, and Inclusion and helped to launch its Building Belonging Fellows, Pathfinders, and Peer Affinity Cohorts in a bid to empower students from diverse backgrounds use their entrepreneurial skills to become change makers, and cultivating a more supportive and inclusive on-campus experience for all students.
“While I am proud of the progress we have made toward meeting our mission of creating a more vibrant and inclusive technology ecosystem, I know that under Raj’s leadership, Illinois Tech’s future is in very capable hands,” said Alan W. Cramb, Illinois Tech president.
The Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, is a private, technology-focused research university.