Illinois Tech Appoints Alumna Ellen Jordan as First Woman University Regent

Illinois Institute of Technology has announced Ellen Jordan (PSYC ’79, M.B.A. ’81) as its eighth University Regent in recognition of her decades of service and leadership to the university. Jordan is an alumna, trustee, founder, and president of America’s Food Technologies, Inc., CEO of Global Grounds, LLC, and the first woman to hold this prestigious role at Illinois Tech.

The appointment is particularly meaningful for Jordan as she hopes that her example will help to inspire a new generation of empowered female leaders. “At Illinois Tech, we have long embraced diversity,” Jordan says. “But gender parity—and social equality—is an area that the world needs to work on fostering continuously. It is my goal to help provide all people, especially young women, with access to the tremendous opportunities available, and it is my charge that they receive the nurturing support to make their own indelible marks on our world—and they will!”

As a University Regent, Jordan aims to continue advancing Illinois Tech’s tradition of hands-on learning, cultivating entrepreneurial thinking, bolstering interdisciplinary collaborations, and widening the pipeline for people of all backgrounds, all while continuing to steward a working and learning environment in which all students, faculty, and staff members are able to realize their full potential.

“Illinois Tech was founded on the noble mission of liberating the power of collective difference to advance technology and innovation for all,” says Raj Echambadi, president of Illinois Tech. “Ellen Jordan stands among so many incredible and accomplished alumni as the embodiment of the power and potential of what our students can achieve.”

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of business administration from Illinois Tech. She joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors as president before being elected to the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees in 1996. In 2015 Jordan was honored with the Illinois Tech Alumni Medal for her thoughtful leadership and unwavering commitment. She is currently serving as co-vice chair of the Board of Trustees, as chair of its Facilities and Public Safety Committee, and as a member of its Advancement Campaign Committee, as well as chair of the board of advisors of Illinois Tech’s Institute for Food Safety and Health.

“Ellen Jordan’s success as an entrepreneur and her devotion to lifelong learning makes her a great role model within our Illinois Tech community and beyond,” says Ernie Iseminger, vice president for advancement at Illinois Tech. “Her commitment to philanthropy, community engagement, and the cultivation of our next generation of leaders perfectly exemplifies what it means to be Illinois Tech alumni.”

In addition to her role on the Board of Trustees, Jordan has served on the National Coffee Association’s Science Leadership Council for the past 20 years (and was the recipient of the NCA’s 2021 Volunteer Award), as chair and board member of the Coffee Quality Institute for 25 years, and as past director of the Specialty Coffee Association, where she received its Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award.

“Ellen Jordan is a titan in her field and a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit we aim to foster in our graduates,” says Michael P. Galvin (LAW ’78), chair of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees. “We are honored to appoint her as University Regent for her lifelong leadership and charitable commitment to our university community.”

Jordan is the mother of three daughters, including two Illinois Tech alumni: Brigid (M.B.A. ’19), Caitlin (M.S. MANL ’18), and Siobhan.

Photo: University Regent Ellen Jordan (PSYC ’79, M.B.A. ’81)