The School of Information Technology (IT) is fortunate to have tremendous support from alumni and friends. Their involvement helps ensure we provide a quality academic experience to our students.

Alumni and friends participate in many important roles. They facilitate connections with industry partners that provide opportunities to students, they appear as guest speakers on various professional topics, they serve on advisory councils, and they provide invaluable input on industry trends that keep our curriculum current and relevant.

One of those friends is Mark Owens ’84. Owens has been a strong supporter of the School of IT for many years, contributing his time in several roles.

“My love for ISU has never waned in the years since I graduated,” Owens said.

Owens has recently joined the School of Information Technology as an adjunct lecturer, teaching a Directed Project in Information Technology class. Having recently retired from a 32-year career as an IT professional with State Farm, he brings a valuable professional perspective to the classroom.

He is a volunteer mentor in the School of Internship Technology’s IT Professional Mentorship Program. The mentorship matches up IT students with successful IT professional mentors who can provide advice and guidance on academic success and career development.

“Working with students who were motivated and eager to learn about the many opportunities there were in an IT career was invaluable to me,” Owens said.

He also currently chairs the Business & Industry Advisory Council (BIAC). BIAC is an advisory council composed of leading IT professionals who represent a diverse group of business and industry organizations. BIAC is active in many initiatives of the school, including the development of the IT Professional Mentorship Program and the B.S. in Cybersecurity program.

As far back as 2005, Owens worked extensively with the school and IBM to help establish the Enterprise Computing Curriculum at Illinois State.

“ISU joined a number of other unique schools around the country that continued to provide a large-systems based curriculum,” he said.

“The University continues to offer me new experiences and opportunities to help influence a new, vital, young workforce,” Owens said. “Developing the right skills to be competitive in the job market is critical.  I am very pleased that I have been given the opportunity to share my 30 plus years of experience with these students. But, I also have learned and grown through them, and that is something that I will enjoy and be proud of for the rest of my life.”

We greatly appreciate the support of our alumni and friends. If you would like to learn more about how you can connect with the School of Information Technology, contact Tal Parmenter at