Edward Siegel, MD ’12; MBA
At the end of every year, Merriam-Webster publishes a list of new words that have been added to the dictionary. 2022 included such gems as “TBH,” “Fluffernutter” and “whataboutism.” As we enter 2023, I have a word that should become part of our collective lexicon: demisemiseptcentennial. For those who don’t want to go through the exercise of parsing out the syllables (or Googling the word), allow me to help — this means the 175th anniversary.
2023 marks the demisemiseptcentennial of the founding of Hahnemann Medical College, the oldest of our legacy schools. (In two more years, we’ll be able to celebrate the demisemiseptcentennial of the founding of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania too!) For any institution, this would be an amazing accomplishment, but I believe our school’s ability to persevere for 175 years through mergers, buyouts, bankruptcies, the closure of more hospitals in the Philadelphia area than we’d care to count — just to name a few — makes this even more impressive.
Just as our past has been incredible, the future of the College looks amazing. On October 6, I had the pleasure of attending an open house at the West Reading Campus, the College of Medicine at Tower Health, which is led by Regional Vice Dean Karen Restifo, MD, JD. In a beautiful new building with a gorgeous view of the valley below, there are now two classes of medical students.
One of the speakers that evening was student doctor Alexis Price-Moyer (MS-2), who noted that she was born in Reading Hospital and now will have the opportunity to hone her clinical skills in the very same facility — inspiring current and future students alike.
The campus in West Reading has state-of-the-art facilities, resources and opportunities. Reminding students and faculty of the past, the walls are adorned with stories of the school’s history and commitment to diversity. Speaking of state-of-the-art, on December 7 a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the new Health Sciences Building in University City. Accompanied by Drexel University President Fry and State Senator Vincent Hughs, Dean Charles B. Cairns, MD, officially opened the building that will welcome its first class of medical students in August 2023. It is already housing students from the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences and Health Studies. One of the highlights was touring the new gross anatomy lab, which is moving from the basement at Queen Lane to the 12th floor of a modern tower where — along with enjoying views of the city — students will be able to cross-reference their own dissections with 3D interactive models and digital textbooks, ensuring Drexel University College of Medicine’s continued place on the forefront of medical education.
The list of institutions that can celebrate a demisemiseptcentennial isn’t very long, and we are fortunate to be part of one. Reflecting on the last 175 years provides us with an opportunity to remember and appreciate all that our legacy schools have overcome and accomplished. With the new facilities in West Reading and University City, we also have the opportunity to look forward with hope and optimism for our College’s next 175 years. And for those who are interested, the word for a 350th anniversary is sesquarcentennial.
Edward Siegel, MD ’12; MBA
President, Alumni Association Board of Directors