James E. Marks Intercultural Center
The concept of diversity has been central to the mission of Drexel University since its founding in 1891. In creating the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry, Anthony J. Drexel adopted the revolutionary practice of placing no restrictions on the religion, race, gender or social class of its students. He also built the Institute in an area with easy access to rail and street car lines in order to accommodate working men and women, provided instruction in practical subjects that would help students find better jobs, and introduced night classes. These measures ensured that anyone could access the benefits of higher education, and this principle has guided the University to the present day.
One hundred and nineteen years later, Drexel University remains an inclusive community, with a diverse student body from 50 U.S. states and 130 foreign countries. Drexel students are over 50 percent female, and almost 35 percent are African or Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, bi-racial or of international origin. The University hosts a large number of cultural, religious and identity-oriented student organizations on campus, including Asian, Filipino, Hellenic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Romanian, Latin American, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Hindu student groups.
The Marks Intercultural Center embraces the uniqueness of Drexel’s many cultural, religious, and identity groups and supports the vision of the Intercultural Engagement & Diversity Initiative (IEDI), which was launched in late 2008 to encourage intercultural engagement, build intercultural competency, and support life-long learning among Drexel’s diverse community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners.
The Marks Intercultural Center is a visible manifestation of the Initiative and provides a venue for events, speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and programs that foster cultural and religious respect and understanding among all groups. The Center embraces Drexel’s broad definition of diversity, which includes, among other dimensions of diversity, socioeconomic status, ability, political beliefs, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The Marks Intercultural Center features a seminar room, an exhibition gallery, a resource center, an interfaith chapel, a multipurpose room, and a kitchen. The Center also houses the administrative offices of Drexel’s Office of Equality & Diversity, Student Center for Inclusion & Culture, Office of Study Abroad, and office space for spiritual and religious ministries.