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Henry T. Heald

Founders Group

Henry T. HealdWas one of the key people responsible for the creation of Illinois Institute of Technology in 1940. He served as president of IIT for 12 years during its formative period and oversaw the expansion and physical development of the campus under the design proposed by Mies van der Rohe.

Henry Heald would be recognized as one of the founders of Illinois Institute of Technology. As president of Armour Institute of Technology, he was approached by Alex Bailey of Lewis Institute to consider the possible merger of these two venerable but financially ailing Chicago colleges. Heald took the merger option to board chairman James Cunningham and persuaded 60 top industrialists to join the new board of trustees. He was president of the newly created IIT from 1940 to 1952, during which time he earned the respect of the national academic community and of Chicago’s highest public officials.

Heald was instrumental in establishing the quality of IIT’s faculty by recruiting outstanding American and European scholars during World War II. He hired Mies van der Rohe to head up the architecture program and to design and build a campus that would become a Chicago landmark. Under his guidance, the school developed from a small engineering school into a significant technology center.

Heald’s contributions to education were enormous, even after he left academia in 1956. His zealous belief that education is the key to the survival of American democracy was put into lasting effect as president of The Ford Foundation. In retirement, Heald continued to serve as an educational consultant, and after his death the work of fostering education is nurtured by the foundation created in his name. Among his many honors was his appearance on the cover of Time in 1957.

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