The development of the mathematics department mirrors the evolution of Drexel itself, from its founding as Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in 1891, to Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936, and finally to Drexel University in 1970. It was not until the early 1960s that the department offered its own undergraduate degree program.
Quickly in succession, the department established its Master of Science degree as well as a doctoral program in conjunction with applied mechanics. Guiding the department through this expansion were two able administrators: Ralph Crouch, who later become dean and vice-president for academic affairs at Drexel, and Dale Lick, who later became president of the University of Maine and Florida State University.
In 1974, Loren Argabright arrived at Drexel with the mandate to gain approval from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the department's Ph.D. program. It was under Argabright's tenure that the undergraduate and graduate program in computer science were created. To reflect the department's focus on this growing discipline, it changed its name to Mathematics and Computer Science in 1983.
Under the guidance of James C.T. Pool (1988-1993), the common ground between mathematics and computer science was nurtured and the benefit of having these two disciplines together was emphasized.
With the arrival of President Papadakis in 1995, the resulting explosive growth of the department was expertly managed by Nira Herrmann. In 2002, with the maturation of the computer science program, the university separated the two disciplines with the department again becoming the "Department of Mathematics."
The current department head Hugo Woerdeman joined Drexel in 2005 from the College of William and Mary. Under his vision, the department has flourished with renewed emphasis on its teaching mission as well as raising its research profile.
The Annual Reports document well the changes that have occurred since 2005.
- Henry V. Gummere (1904 - 1919)
- Henry C. Wolff (1919 - 1944)
- James E. Davis (1944 - 1952)
- Alexander Tartler (1952 - 1966)
- Ralph B. Crouch (1966 - 1968)
- Robert J. Bickel (1968 - 1969)
- Dale W. Lick (1969 - 1972)
- Bernard Kolman (1972 - 1973)
- Robert J. Bickel (1973 - 1974)
- Loren N. Argabright (1974 - 1988)
- James C. T. Pool (1988 - 1993)
- Chris Rorres (1993 - 1995)
- Nira Herrmann (1995 - 2004)
- Hugo J. Woerdeman (2005 - present)