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Welcome from President Fry and Trustee Chairman Greenawalt

President John Fry
President John Fry (left) and Trustee Chairman Richard Greenawalt ’66 (right).

September 6, 2016

Welcome to this new website celebrating 125 years of excellence at Drexel University. Spend just a few moments here, and we believe you will grow as enthusiastic as we are about a university that does things differently - a place where, as we like to say, ambition can’t wait.

At Drexel, we’re all about pushing boundaries and stretching the envelope. Our students don’t wait until their commencements are set to send out resumes and seek job interviews. Almost from their earliest days as new Dragons, they’re applying for months-long work experiences through the Drexel Co-op. They’re conducting research and working closely with faculty advisors within months of taping up posters in dorm rooms that look out on to the vibrant heart of Philadelphia. Beyond the classroom and workplace, our students are hard at play, running some 300 organizations - including a Jedi club - and also busy with sports, music and theater, student publications, and so much more.

Now, you might think it’s hard to reach back into the rich history of Drexel and find the origins of the university you see before you, flashing light sabers and all. But the threads are there, and they can be teased from the fabric of the life our founder, the financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel.

As accomplished as Drexel was in creating the first modern financial institution, he was a private and modest man whose life, from a young teen, was characterized by industriousness, exploration, and a commitment to good works. He grasped the fact that 19th century technology would chart a new path for commerce, and also demand different skills. It was to equip American workers with the new tools they needed that Anthony Drexel founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in 1891. Among the goals, Drexel said, was an education that was “not only good, but good for something.”

The same spirit reigns today. At Drexel, you can feel that there’s a quiet determination - with the exception of those cheering on our Dragon teams - to get down to work. It’s a university of doers ... and, yes, dreamers.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are watchwords as much as they were in Anthony Drexel’s day. And Drexel would be proud to know that we strive to be the nation’s most civically engaged university. That means taking concrete steps to combat the ills of poverty, under-performing schools, urban decline, and also meeting the challenges to sustainability on a threatened planet.

As Drexel University takes note of its century-and-a-quarter milestone, we’re committed to taking renewed strength from our storied past. But we’re also looking ahead to what we can achieve together: It runs the gamut, from expanding educational horizons, to building greater community partnerships, to our audacious plan for transforming a major railyard sitting on close to 100 acres and building a new neighborhood and a proper gateway to our campus.

In short, we have much to celebrate, and much to do. We invite you along for the journey. It starts now, and it won’t wait.


John A. Fry

Richard A. Greenawalt ’66
Chairman, Board of Trustees