The annual Alumni Awards are an IIT tradition to recognize those who made notable contributions to their communities, professions, and the university. This year, the luncheon ceremony will be held Friday, April 19 and will recognize 11 winners in eight categories.
University Regent and Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Rowe is the recipient of this year’s Galvin Award, which was established for IIT to honor non-alumni for their leadership and dedication. The award is named for the first non-alumnus chairman of the IIT Board of Trustees—Robert W. Galvin. The Galvin Award recognizes an individual whose service, leadership, and philanthropy have significantly advanced the university. The university staff or faculty nominates recipients.
Read on for more about Rowe and look for our Alumni Medal winner this Friday, the day of the event.
B.S. History (’67), University of Wisconsin; J.D. (’70), University of Wisconsin;
Rowe holds honorary doctorate degrees from IIT and several other universities.
Career and Legacy
Rowe has served as a leader in the utility industry for three decades. He is the chairman emeritus of Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, operating the largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the nation. Under Rowe’s leadership, Exelon joined with other businesses advocating for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the United States Climate Action Partnership. He first testified before Congress on the potential effects of carbon emissions in 1992 and is widely known as the single most important climate change leader in the utility industry.
Rowe brings his unique blend of humor and wisdom to many organizations where he serves in leadership roles, including chairman of the IIT Board of Trustees, New Schools for Chicago, and The Field Museum, as well as president of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. He is a past chairman of the Chicago History Museum, The Commercial Club of Chicago, and the Civic Committee. He co-chaired the National Commission on Energy Policy and served on the Secretary of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
In addition to his current role as IIT chairman of the board beginning in 2006, Rowe has led the university in many capacities, including board service for the Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research, the Mies van der Rohe Society, and the IIT International Board of Overseers. He was named a University Regent in 2013.
Through the Rowe Family Charitable Trust, founded by Rowe and his wife, Jeanne, the Rowes co-founded the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary School. Inner-city education is a high priority for the family, and they not only provide funding but much of their time, offering guidance and encouragement to the students. At IIT, John and Jeanne Rowe have established three endowed chairs and have supported STEM+ scholarship initiatives, including the IIT Exelon Summer Institute. Elsewhere, their generous support for education includes endowed chairs at the University of Wisconsin and The Field Museum.
A lifelong student of ancient Egypt and China, American and Spanish history, and the Byzantine Empire, Rowe gleans insight from history that he employs in his civic and philanthropic leadership roles. He is an avid collector of antiquities and is committed to conservation.