The Illinois Institute of Technology June 16 announced that Rajagopal “Raj” Echambadi, Dunton Family Dean at D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, will join Illinois Tech as its 10th president.
Illinois Tech selected the Indian American educator to lead its efforts to empower students from different backgrounds to achieve their potential, according to a news release.
Under Echambadi’s leadership, Illinois Tech 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 release said.
After an extensive nationwide search, the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Echambadi June 14.
He will take over the top administrative spot at the university on Aug. 16 from outgoing president Alan W. Cramb, who announced his retirement from the post in December 2020.
“One of the most meaningful parts of the Illinois Tech ethos to me is the commitment to accessible and affordable technology education,” Echambadi said in a statement. “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,” he added.
“We have tremendous opportunities to serve Bronzeville, Chicago, and the world,” Echambadi 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, his bio noted.
As a driving force behind the University of Illinois’s scaled online M.B.A. (iMBA) program, Echambadi has been instrumental in helping to provide increased access to an innovative education to students across the globe.
The iMBA program has been lauded as a breakthrough in graduate education and one of the best disruptive innovations of the past decade, IIT said.
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 majority of his academic research has focused on strategic innovation within organizations and how companies should balance current and future opportunities, according to his bio.
He received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Anna University in India, and a doctorate in marketing from the University of Houston. His research on employee entrepreneurship won the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award.
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 to empower students from diverse backgrounds to utilize entrepreneurial skills to become change makers, while cultivating a more supportive and inclusive on-campus experience for all students, the release continued.
“As Illinois Tech continues to further its reputation as a vital driver of innovation and economic impact in Chicago and beyond, I know that Raj’s ability to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in all of our students will help further elevate Illinois Tech as Chicago’s premier technology-focused university,” said Alan W. Cramb, Illinois Tech president.
“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,” Cramb said.