What: A West Philadelphia landmark—The Philadelphia Armory—will officially become a central part of the life of Drexel University in a signing event and celebration on April 15. The Armory’s Drill Hall will be taken over for use by Drexel Athletics, with the plan to renovate it into a convocation and basketball arena for the University.
Drexel and the National Guard began discussion about this possibility in 1998 as part of “Operation Partnership,” which has created strong, supportive relationships among the Guard, the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, and Drexel University. The Armory is home to the 103rd Engineering Battalion of the National Guard as well as “Task Force Dragon,” an ROTC program in which many area universities participate.
Who: The Adjutant General Jessica L. Wright and Drexel President Constantine Papadakis will sign the lease agreement at the celebration. A member of the Governor’s Cabinet, Major General Wright is responsible for the command, control, and supervision of all Air and Army National Guard units allocated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Other officials who will attend include City Council Member Jannie Blackwell, Drexel Board of Trustees Chair Richard Greenawalt, Drexel Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III and Drexel Athletic Director Eric Zillmer. As part of “Operation Partnership,” Drexel awards a full-tuition scholarship to a student from the Scotland School for Veterans Children. The first scholarship recipient and Drexel student Kim Carlton will attend.
Visuals: Drexel cheerleaders and the Drexel Pep band will launch festivities. Renderings of the Armory’s restored façade and renovated interior will be displayed. Mario the Magnificent, Drexel’s Dragon mascot, will cheer on Gen. Wright and Papadakis during the signing. Balloons and basketball arena food will add to the big celebration.
When: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 from noon to 12:30 p.m.
Where: The Philadelphia Armory (33rd and Lancaster Avenue).
Background: There are five full-time Pennsylvania National Guard commands that will remain working out of the Armory. The National Guard’s recruiting station, headquarters and museum will remain in the Armory. The University’s ROTC program, Task Force Dragon, will also remain at the Armory. Philip H. Johnson designed the Armory in 1916, and it is one of the oldest armories in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The three-floor, 21,346 square-foot Armory earned the honor of being listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
News Media Contact:
Niki Gianakaris, Assistant Director, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org