IIT Armour College of Engineering (ACE) traces its roots to Armour Institute; founded in 1890. ACE was founded after minister Frank W. Gunsaulus gave what is now known as the “Million Dollar Sermon.” At a time when higher education was reserved for society’s elite, Mr. Gunsaulus called for the donation of a million dollars to build a school that would prepare students of all backgrounds for leadership roles primarily as engineers in a changing industrial society. Philip Danforth Armour a prominent Chicago meat packer and grain merchant heard Gunsaulus’ call and made the donation. Armour also stipulated that Gunsaulus become the first president of the school, a position Gunsaulus held from the school’s founding in 1890 until his death in 1921. Some innovative inventions that directly stem from research at ACE are the cell phone, magnetic tape recording, and barcodes.
The mission of Armour College of Engineering (ACE) today remains preparing engineering students to be the innovators and entrepreneurs that will shape the future. In order to facilitate a collaborative educational approach ACE launched Armour R&D. Students are given the opportunity to explore topics of high priority and relevance throughout their undergraduate degrees. These themes include water, health, energy, and security. Students will have the opportunity to further explore these topics with the Program for Undergraduate Research in Engineering (PURE), Mentoring, Innovation and Development (MIND), and Student-led projects. The Inter-professional Program (IPRO) was developed at IIT and consists of student teams from the junior through graduate levels, representing the breadth of the university’s disciplines and professional programs that work to solve a real-world problem.
A diverse student body provides an environment where students can draw from each other’s unique experience to tackle problems that affect the world. Armour College of Engineering’s has over 2,300 students, of which 48% are from foreign countries. Engineering is a field dominated by males, but ACE is proud to share that 25% of students are female and is currently lead by its first female Dean, Natacha DePaola, PhD. ACE students make up over 33% of the entire student body at IIT, making it the largest of the schools that collectively make up IIT.
Under the direction of Dean Natacha DePaola, Ph.D., Armour College of Engineering has risen among the ranks of all public, private, and national universities achieving a rank of 59th in the United States in 2014. ACE also boasts and exceptional job placement rate of over 80% of graduating students in 2012. Not only do our alumni find jobs, they get paid more. IIT was also ranked #5 among Midwestern universities for the salary potential of its graduates that earn a bachelors degree.
Armour College of Engineering (ACE) understands that forward thinking is necessary to remain at the cutting edge of engineering. The school is currently renovating what has been known as the Engineering 1 Building in order to bring it into the 21st century. It will be christened the John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center and will make a defining statement about the university’s distinctive brand of engineering education. The five engineering concentrations that make up ACE are currently located in several buildings on the IIT campus. This creates not just physical separations, it impedes collaboration and the exchange of information and knowledge. Moreover, teaching methods have evolved beyond the traditional classroom model and now necessitate spaces and environments that promote a fluid and multi-directional exchange of ideas and information. ACE has also launched several initiatives to promote women’s role in engineering.