When Ross Macaluso graduates in 2011, he will be a second generation Drexel Dragon. His father, Jeff, was the first to graduate with a Drexel degree almost 30 years ago.
According to Jeff Macaluso ’82, he attended Drexel because he was enticed by the university’s Co-op program.
“I graduated in 1982 from the LeBow College of Business and we were in a deep recession, but I got a job within three months,” he recalled. “A lot of my other classmates who had gone to other schools were still out of work at that time.”
The Co-op was an added bonus to his son Ross, but it wasn’t the reason he decided to go to Drexel.
“I liked all of the teachers that I met, and I toured the labs in the Digital Media Department,” said Ross. “The equipment was on a level above any other school that we looked at. The software I'm learning to use at Drexel is the same stuff used in the industry.”
And according to Ross, he wasn’t at all pressured to attend his father's alma mater.
“We even looked into other schools in Philadelphia and on the West Coast but their programs didn’t hold a candle to Drexel,” Jeff added.
When father and son sit down and talk about their separate Drexel experiences, the differences become very clear.
Like many students in 1982, Jeff was a commuter; however Ross lives on campus.
“For me it was a much colder experience,” said Jeff. “There was a different tone to the school and a different attitude from the administration. Even if you wanted to, you had to try really hard to socialize on campus.”
Ross tells a different story.
“Community-wise, Drexel does a good job of bringing students together,” he said. “You meet a ton of people all at once, especially in your freshman dorm. I feel like if I was a commuter it would be totally different. When you live on campus you have more free time to meet people but if you’re a commuter you basically go to class and then leave.”
“When I went to Drexel it was mostly commuters; there were two dorms,” Jeff added. “The social life on campus was nothing like it is now. Drexel has been tremendous in helping students get a better sense of community.”
In addition to being the father of a current student, Jeff is also an active member of the Drexel University Alumni Board of Governors and president of the Philadelphia Alumni Club. He has seen first-hand how the university has evolved through the years.
“When I went to Drexel, it was not of the same status as it is today,” he said. “I became involved in the Alumni Association and witnessed dramatic changes over time. The curriculum, as well as the student and faculty base is much broader. It’s a good feeling to know that my alma mater has grown in that way.”
When asked what he enjoys most as a student, Ross answered the teachers and classmates he has met in the Digital Media Program.
“The people in my major build a strong bond together,” he said. “We all grow together.”
On the contrary, Jeff shared that what he most enjoyed as a student was the rigorous educational experience. He said that he enjoyed the discipline and liked the real-world business experience that he gained as a student.
Despite the differences, Jeff and Ross both value their experiences and enjoy reminiscing and comparing stories of how the university has grown and changed over the last three decades.
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