CoAS Honors Governor, Alumni, Faculty at CoAS 20th Anniversary

By Furrah Qureshi
Photos by Bruce Pinchbeck

December 3, 2010 —

CoAS 20th Anniversary - Honorees
Dean Donna Murasko and President Fry with our four honorees: Governor Rendell (Distinguished Friend of the College of Arts and Sciences Award), and from left to right: Dr. John W. Jewett Jr. '69 (Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in the Sciences), Jay H. Meyers '73 (Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences) and Dr. Arthur B. Shostak, Emeritus Professor of Sociology (Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award).

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, along with Dr. John Jewett Jr., Jay Meyers and Dr. Arthur Shostak were honored by Dean Donna Murasko at the College of Arts and Sciences’ 20th Anniversary Gala on November12, 2010. The gala followed a research symposium, where twelve CoAS students presented research projects in a wide-range of subject areas.

Murasko hosted the gala, outlining the growth of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, the College’s extramural research awards totaled over $17 million, up from $9.6 million in 2008, and it has continued to receive more applications than any other college in the University for the last three years. Murasko’s opening and closing remarks were an eloquent punctuation to the evening, which honored guests who have excelled in a variety of fields—just as the College of Arts and Sciences has done.

President John Fry introduced Governor Rendell, who was the recipient of the first annual Distinguished Friend of the College of Arts and Sciences Award. Rendell commended Drexel’s continued progress, and the vast improvements it has made to the West Philadelphia community. He was enthusiastic about President Fry’s plans to improve community outreach, and highlighted the importance of educational institutions for the reputation of the city. As governor, Rendell has been an avid supporter of education and has encouraged the sciences and the arts. He graciously accepted the award for his role in education relations but used his speech to commend the College of Arts and Sciences’ role as well.

As brilliant examples of the College of Arts and Sciences’ dedication to educational improvement, awards were also given to two alumni and one retired faculty member. The body of work belonging to all three figures is emblematic of success.

Alumnus Jay Meyers was honored with the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Meyers graduated from Drexel in 1973, as a math major. But his true passion at Drexel was the radio station, WKDU, which he and his friends actually built in 1971. Over the course of Meyer’s life, he has been involved with more than 800 radio stations in over 150 cities.

Of Meyers, Murasko said, “He took what we taught him at Drexel in math, and applied it to his passion…the arts and the sciences going together to create an innovative process.”

“He is a role model for our students of the future,” Murasko said.

“The most dangerous thing you can do is give an ex-disk jockey a microphone,” Meyers said jovially, opening his acceptance speech.

Meyers fondly recalled that his education at Drexel was not solely based on math. Throughout his time at Drexel –and his work at WKDU in particular—Meyers was introduced to his life’s passion.

“I wanted to be in radio and what was great about this University was that it recognized it too,” Meyers said.

Dr. Jewett was also honored at the gala with an Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Jewett was an undergraduate at Drexel and earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Ohio State. He began teaching in 1984 and has won numerous teaching awards over the years. Much of his career has focused on teaching high school educators how to teach physics more accurately. He has written and contributed to numerous books, including a bestselling physics textbook.

Dr. Jewett spoke of his experience teaching a Calculus recitation while still only a junior at Drexel.

“The experience I had in that class set the tone for the rest of my life…Since then I’ve had a blast for 42 years teaching physics. [Dean Murasko] mentioned planting a seed and that’s really true; Drexel planted a seed in me.”

Dr. Art Shostak was presented with the Faculty Lifetime Achievement award. As Murasko pointed out in her introduction, Shostak was a member of the Drexel Faculty from 1967 to 2003, for a total of 36 years. In his career, he has edited or co-authored 34 books and is currently working on two more.

Despite Shostak’s extraordinary achievements, he humbly asked the audience to applaud three times –not for himself, but for Dean Murasko and her eloquence as a host, for A.J. Drexel and his contributions to women’s equality in education, and for the families of the Drexel community members for their continual support.

All four honorees exemplified the College of Arts and Science’s stress on balance in education. Even though Dr. Shostak was a sociology professor, he saw the value of the sciences. And even though Dr. Jewett and Meyers were science majors, their careers encompassed artistic value as well. Governor Rendell has provided unwavering support to both science and the arts. Drexel’s 20th Anniversary Gala was a celebration of not just these four individuals, but of the spirit of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dean and Students
Dean Murasko and Dr. James Herbert, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research, and eight of the twelve student researchers who presented in the Student Research Symposium earlier in the day.

Furrah graduated with her B.S in English and M.S. in Communication in June of 2012.