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Drexel University College of Medicine Celebrates 10th Anniversary

November 6, 2008

Drexel University College of Medicine will host a celebratory dinner to commemorate its 10th anniversary and honor Drexel President Constantine Papadakis. The celebration will be held Monday, November 17th, at the Westin Hotel's Grand Ballroom (99 S. 17th Street, Philadelphia). Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30.

It was on November 11, 1998, when Drexel University made the bold and controversial move to take over the financially troubled Allegheny University of the Health Sciences. Allegheny had filed for bankruptcy - the largest nonprofit failure in the nation's history - and Philadelphia faced the prospect of losing 13,000 jobs, as well as hospitals such as Hahnemann, MCP, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and colleges of medicine, public health, and nursing.

"If we didn't take over the medical school, this would have been the biggest disaster for the city of Philadelphia," remembers Papadakis. "It was a completely unusual set of circumstances for a university to be involved in."

Papadakis and College of Medicine chairman Manuel Stamatakis worked with city and state leaders to put together a deal for Drexel to manage the medical school under the name MCP Hahnemann University, while Tenet Healthcare Corp. took over the hospitals. Three years later, the Drexel board voted to permanently take over the school, renaming it Drexel University College of Medicine.

Today, Drexel University College of Medicine has the largest medical student enrollment of any private medical school in the country. It has incorporated Drexel University's expertise in engineering and technology to foster collaborations that have led to medical breakthroughs in fields such as surgery, microbiology, spinal cord research and others.

"We are now in a position where the school is very stable," said Richard Homan, MD, Annenberg Dean of Drexel University College of Medicine and senior vice president for health affairs. "We have outstanding faculty members, excellent students and superb training, performing well above the national mean in scores and pass rates. The medical school is thriving."

Homan and Stamatakis say much of the credit for the success goes to President Papadakis.

"He had a real vision of a collaboration between one of the best engineering schools and medical schools. It has played out even better than expected," said Stamatakis.