How To Build a Successful Illinois Institute of Technology With Your Own Two Hands

illinois institute of technology


Are you interested in learning about the history and growth of one of America’s top technical universities? Look no further than the Illinois Institute of Technology! From its humble beginnings in the early 1900s, this institute has grown to be a leader in technological education and research. Join us as we explore the fascinating story behind how IIT was built with determination, hard work, and innovation – all with your own two hands. Whether you’re an aspiring student or simply curious about this institution’s past, our journey will surely inspire you.

The Early Years

The early years of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) were marked by its founder’s vision and determination to establish a world-class institution for engineering education. Frank Wakely Gunsaulus, a preacher and educator, founded IIT in 1940 with the aim of creating an educational institution that would provide students with practical skills to meet society’s challenges.

The first classes started in rented space on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, where just over 300 students enrolled. The curriculum focused mainly on engineering but included liberal arts courses as well. In the following years, IIT continued to grow, attracting more students from across the country.

During this time, IIT faced financial difficulties due to World War II when many male students left to serve in the armed forces. Despite these challenges, Gunsaulus persevered and secured funding through grants from government agencies such as NASA.

The early years saw IIT establish itself as a leading institute for technological education while laying down its foundation for future growth and success.

The War Years

During the war years, Illinois Institute of Technology faced significant challenges. The institute saw a decline in enrollment as many students and faculty members were called for military service. However, IIT played an essential role in supporting the country during World War II.

The campus was transformed into a training center for the Army Signal Corps where soldiers were trained to repair equipment and communication systems used on the front lines. This made IIT one of only six colleges selected by the government to provide such training.

But that’s not all; IIT also contributed significantly to scientific research during these tough times. Physicists at Armour Research Foundation worked on top-secret projects related to radar technology and sonar detection methods vital for submarine warfare.

IIT Alumni also proved their worth serving in different roles overseas, including engineering support for landing craft operations at Normandy beachhead.

Despite facing several difficulties caused by war, Illinois Institute of Technology remained committed to its mission and demonstrated remarkable resilience throughout this period.

The Post-War Years

The post-war years were a time of rebuilding and growth for the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). With veterans returning from World War II, enrollment at IIT surged. The GI Bill made it possible for many to attend college who might not have been able to otherwise.

During this time, IIT continued to focus on engineering and science programs, but also added new majors in areas such as business and humanities. The campus expanded with new buildings and facilities.

One notable addition was the construction of S.

R. Crown Hall, which became an iconic symbol of modernist architecture on campus. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, the building housed the College of Architecture.

In addition to physical growth, IIT also saw an increase in research funding during this period. Faculty members received grants from government agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The post-war years marked a significant turning point for IIT’s development into a leading technological university.

Expansion and Growth

Expansion and growth have been integral to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s success throughout its history. In the 1950s, IIT expanded its academic programs with new schools focusing on business and law. The Stuart School of Business was established in 1942, followed by the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1969.

The university also made significant investments in research during this period, establishing centers for advanced study in fields such as engineering and technology. These initiatives led to important breakthroughs like development of magnetic tape storage technology which revolutionized data storage industry forever.

In addition to expanding its academic offerings, IIT has also grown physically over the years. The university acquired Vandercook College of Music building at South Wabash Avenue that now houses Stuart School of Business. Today it boasts a sprawling urban campus with modern facilities accommodating students from around the world.

IIT continues to innovate and expand today, investing heavily in research while maintaining a commitment to excellence across all areas of study. Its campus expansion plan includes new buildings being constructed or rehabbed while preserving their historic facades located across various locations throughout Chicago city limits giving rise to an integrated campus experience for learners from every corner!

Modern Times

In modern times, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has continued to innovate and provide quality education. The school has expanded its programs to include new fields such as biotechnology, data science, and cybersecurity.

In recent years, IIT has invested heavily in research initiatives that tackle global challenges. For example, the university’s Smart Tech Lab is working on developing smart cities by integrating technology into urban planning.

Furthermore, IIT has embraced online learning by offering several fully online degree programs for students who aren’t able to attend classes in person.

The campus itself has undergone significant changes as well. Several buildings have been renovated or newly constructed in order to better serve students’ needs. Additionally, sustainability efforts are a top priority with green roofs and energy-efficient systems being implemented across campus.

IIT continues to be at the forefront of higher education innovation while remaining true to its roots of providing practical education for real-world success.


Illinois Institute of Technology has come a long way since it was founded in 1890. From its humble beginnings as the Armour Institute of Technology, to becoming a leading research university with global reach, IIT has truly become an educational institution that Chicago and the world can be proud of.

Throughout its history, IIT has always been committed to innovation and excellence in education. Its alumni have gone on to make significant contributions across various fields, from engineering to architecture, science and beyond.

As we look towards the future of IIT, we can only expect more growth and expansion. With cutting-edge programs that equip students with the skills they need for success in today’s fast-paced world, Illinois Institute of Technology is poised to continue making an impact for many years to come.

Whether you are a student or simply interested in learning more about this prestigious institution, there is much to admire about IIT. So why not take some time out today to explore all that it has to offer? You never know what amazing opportunities await you at Illinois Institute of Technology!

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