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Journey from Anna University to Illinois University Dr. Rajagopal Echambadi

Dr. Rajagopal Echambadi, an engineering and MBA graduate from Anna University’s College of Engineering, Guindy, has been appointed as the 10th President of the 131-year-old Illinois Institute of Technology in the US. When he took charge on 16th August 2021, he created history as the first person of colour and Indian origin to head the only technology-oriented university in Chicago.

Before being granted his post, Dr. Rajagopal Echambadi worked as Dunton Family Dean at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Born in Tiruvarur, Dr. Rajagopal did his schooling in Shrine Vailankanni Senior Secondary School in T Nagar and Santhome Higher Secondary School in Mylapore. He completed his mechanical engineering degree (1985-1989) and MBA (1990-1992) from Anna University. He received a doctorate in marketing from the University of Houston.

During his academic career, Dr. Raj Echambadi has introduced several path-breaking, innovative programs. One such program was the online MBA program named iMBA in partnership with Coursera, which was hailed as a breakthrough in graduate education. He also created a student engagement office to help students from diverse backgrounds build entrepreneurial skills. His research on employee entrepreneurship won the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award.

As a leading academic research expert in organizational and strategic innovation, Dr. Rajagopal 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.

“Raj’s experience in attracting strong researchers, corporate and philanthropic partners, and most importantly, diverse students and faculty is undeniable. Throughout his career, he has delivered extraordinary innovation with broad impact and has demonstrated a deep commitment to higher education as a mechanism for creating access and economic mobility,” said Michael P. Galvin, chairman of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees.

Dr. Rajagopal promised to emphasize on business and technology innovation in association with Anna University and IITs in India. He stated that the goal of the Illinois Institute of Technology is to provide education to students from all backgrounds to prepare them for meaningful roles in industrial society. He further said that the institute is trying to make technology education accessible to all.

Under Dr. Rajagopal Echambadi’s leadership, Illinois Tech says it will further the institutes 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.  

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