The Professional Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement in any professional field. This award honors alumni whose achievements in their fields have brought distinction to themselves as well as credit to Illinois Institute of Technology.
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (’95), Illinois Institute of Technology
Althoff is executive vice president for Microsoft, the world’s largest software company. He leads 25,000 employees in the Worldwide Commercial Business organization. His team helps organizations harness technology to improve performance through digital transformation. Previously Althoff was president of Microsoft North America and held several executive positions at Oracle and EMC Corporations.
Long before he led huge technology corporations, Althoff had a natural fascination with how things worked. While growing up in the small town of Wooster, Ohio, he studied anything that moved—cars, boats, ATVs, airplanes, and lawnmowers—which he then took apart and reassembled.
Althoff has hosted an alumni gathering at his home, serves on Illinois Tech’s Computer Science Advisory Board, and spoke at commencement in 2015, marking the 20th anniversary of his own graduation, at which he also spoke. He is involved in Free the Children WE Day events and leads Microsoft initiatives to better society through technology. He joined former President Barack Obama in 2014 to help announce that U.S. business leaders were pledging $750 million for student technology. Althoff also received the Phoenix Award from the City of Atlanta for opening a Microsoft Innovation Center that provides software, coaching, and grants to women entrepreneurs.
Althoff advises to avoid becoming complacent and to never stop learning. “It is important to take smart, calculated risks over the course of your career. This sometimes means taking on assignments or roles that may be difficult or challenging, even if there is higher likelihood of failure,” he says. “Failures will often be your best teachable moments.”
Eunice Santos, Ron Hochsprung Endowed Chair and Professor of Computer Science at Illinois Tech, and College of Science Dean Russell Betts nominated Althoff. Betts cited Althoff’s leadership as a student at Illinois Tech, where he led in student government and was recognized with several Clinton E. Stryker Awards and a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Award. This was a precedent for Althoff’s life and career. “Judson has personified leadership. He has risen to the very top, holding major leadership positions with industry icons,” Betts says.
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