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Intercultural Center Named in Honor of Alumnus and Emeritus Trustee James E Marks

May 6, 2011

Drexel University named its Intercultural Center—the hub of the University’s multicultural initiatives—in honor of alumnus, emeritus trustee and benefactor James E. Marks after a seven-figure gift to the University. A  dedication ceremony is scheduled for May 11, at 4:30 p.m.

Marks is president of the real estate management firm Marks & Co., Inc., builder and owner of apartment, office, and warehouse complexes in the Delaware Valley. After serving in the United States Navy from 1944 until 1946, Marks resumed his studies at Drexel and graduated from the University in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and in 1949 with a master’s in business administration. As a student at Drexel, Marks was inducted into the Blue Key Honor Society and Pi Tau Sigma, a national mechanical engineering honor society. Marks also served as captain of the cheerleading team and was elected to Gold Key, a service organization. He served as a Drexel trustee from 1988 to 1995 and was elected an emeritus trustee in 1996. In 1992, Marks was named to the Drexel 100, the University’s highest level of alumni recognition given to a small, select group of graduates whose lifetime achievements have brought great honor to the University. Marks was also honored with the College of Engineering’s Alumni Circle of Distinction Award which celebrates the achievements and service of alumni.

“On behalf of the students, faculty and professional staff at Drexel, I extend my gratitude to Mr. Marks for his leadership as a trustee and dedication as an alumnus,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “His recent gift to Drexel is a vote of confidence in the future of our University.”

The James E. Marks Intercultural Center is located on the northwest corner of 33rd and Chestnut Streets and welcomes all University students and alumni regardless of religious traditions, humanistic beliefs, or cultural values. The Center embraces the University’s broad definition of diversity, which includes socioeconomic status, ability, political beliefs, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The Center provides a venue for speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and programs that foster cultural and religious respect among all groups. It cultivates community building and collaboration among diverse groups within and outside the University community.

Diversity and acceptance are important to Marks, who remembers his years at Drexel with the fondest of memories. “Drexel has in many ways shaped who I am today,” said Marks. “As a student I learned valuable lessons both in my classes and while on my co-op jobs that greatly developed my business habits and shaped my entrepreneurial spirit.”

In addition to his activities in the Delaware Valley, Marks has also been involved with the development of properties in Florida and the Caribbean and serves as president of Merion Maintenance Corp., a construction and maintenance service organization. Prior to starting his own firm, he was vice president for Anderson-Joyce Inc., and a junior accountant with Laventhol, Krekstein & Company.

He was also vice president of the Philadelphia All Star-Forum, a member of both Mensa and the Committee of Seventy, and former chairman and president of the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, now known as the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Marks endorsed the vision of creating a center on Drexel’s campus that would make every student feel welcome. “Tolerance and diversity across all dimensions are important,” he said.

The James E. Marks Intercultural Center features a seminar room, an interfaith chapel, reflection room, an exhibition gallery, a resource center, and an activity room. The Center also houses the administrative offices of Drexel’s Office of Equality and Diversity, Office of Multicultural Programs, Student Abroad program and Interfaith Council. Each month the Center features a different diversity theme with planned events providing opportunities to learn more about multicultural and ethnic topics.

Along with his wife, Peggy, Marks established the Marks Foundation in 2000. The Marks’ reside in Haverford. Marks has one son, James D. Marks, Esq., and two grandchildren.

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News media contact:
Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell), ngianakaris@drexel.edu

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