Top Drexel Stories of 2015

Top stories at Drexel in 2015. Starting at left and moving clockwise: bruschetta appetizer, Princess Grace of Monaco's dress, Provost M. Brian Blake, victory at Dad Vail Regatta, "A Check-Up From the Neck Up" and, background, archived Drexel campus photos.
Top stories at Drexel in 2015. Starting at left and moving clockwise: bruschetta appetizer, Princess Grace of Monaco's dress, Provost M. Brian Blake, victory at Dad Vail Regatta, "A Check-Up From the Neck Up" and, background, archived Drexel campus photos.

Here is a compilation of the stories that received the most hits, started conversations and showed off the best of what Drexel has to offer on every front in 2015.

Changes on Campus

The two most popular DrexelNow features this year affected not just current students and faculty and staff members, but all prospective Drexel students as well. Randy Deike, senior vice president of Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success, came to Drexel with a new plan for recruitment and admissions that would attract fewer applications but more students who would continue through to graduation at Drexel. The more selective approach was risky but paid off: The incoming class of freshmen that started at Drexel this year was smaller but had increased SAT scores and average GPAs. This story was covered by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The other big story describing a big change for all of Drexel? There’s a new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on campus, and his name is M. Brian Blake, PhD. Blake began his new position before the start of the 2015­–16 academic year.

Stratton Hall and Korman Center, viewed from above / 1963

If you really want to get some perspective on Drexel, these archived campus photos show aerial shots of the campus from as far back as the 1950s. Many of the Drexel buildings used every day by students, faculty and staff were built fairly recently in Drexel’s lifetime, and many of Drexel’s famous landmarks, including Mario the Dragon, were seen by only a fraction of University students on campus. 

A Year of Giving

The School of Public Health changed its name to the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health in the fall in honor of the longtime philanthropists, who donated a transformative gift of $45 million.

The Hyman Korman Family Foundation generously committed an $8 million gift toward the effort to makeover the Korman Center, built over half a century ago. Construction is expected to begin in June 2016 and completed by fall 2017.

All in Good Health

Researchers from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute released a national indicators report on autism and adolescent transitions from its Life Course Outcomes Research Program. The new findings described experiences and outcomes of teenagers and 20-somethings on the autism spectrum.

Another popular story encouraged readers to experience a “Check-Up from the Neck Up” through mental health screening kiosks now located at the Drexel Recreation Center. Drexel was chosen as the first university in the country to use the kiosk system, which support screening for six different mental health issues: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or eating disorders. The mental health kiosk was featured in online and broadcast stories around the country in outlets such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times and WTXF-TV (Fox-29).

The kiosks will be used to screen for issues including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic disorder and depression.

A study from the College of Arts and Sciences found that the prevalence of sexting—sending sexually explicit text messages—may actually be beneficial in adult relationships. The study, by Emily Stasko, a doctoral candidate in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Pamela Geller, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Women’s Health Psychology Lab, was covered by The Washington PostCBSNews.comYahoo! Health, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, New York PostThe Daily, Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, NPRESPN’s “Mike & Mike” and numerous other outlets.

Another study on the prevalence of ‘sexting’ among minors and the harsh legal consequences associated with it, reentered the news cycle as sexting scandals erupted across the country, from a Colorado sexting ring that included hundreds of students to a local Chester County school, where four students were charged. The study, conducted by David DeMatteo, JD, PhD, an associate professor of psychology and law and director of Drexel’s joint JD/PhD program in psychology and law in the College of Arts and Sciences and Kline School of Law, Heidi Strohmaier, a PhD candidate in psychology, and Megan Murphy, a JD/PhD candidate, was cited everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CNN, USA Today, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post, among many other outlets. 

A Taste of the Finer Things in Life

Hubert de Givenchy Evening Dress  c. 1964, French, Gift of Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco

The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection displayed rare artifacts in the collection’s first-ever exhibition, Immortal Beauty. Centuries of fashion were on display, thanks to the 70 items including garments by Gabrielle Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and Mary Quant. Standout pieces included 18th-century French couture to a pantsuit worn to one of Liza Minnelli’s birthday parties to a Givenchy evening dress worn by Princess Grace of Monaco. The exhibit was covered by media outlets nationwide, including The Wall Street Journal.

Drexel students and community residents of Mantua and Powelton Village now have access to a dozen iPads — which they can rent from an iPad vending machine at the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. All you need is your Drexel ID card — the Dornsife Center provides comfy seating and the assurance that all information entered on the iPad is removed after the device is returned to the kiosk. The iPad vending machine was covered by technology blogs from around the world and also in a Philadelphia magazine post.

A study from Jacob Lahne, a food science professor in the Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, revealed that a good appetizer could make your main course less enjoyable. Lahne tested and analyzed subjects’ hedonic (liking) responses to a main dish of “pasta aglio e olio” (pasta with garlic and oil) after they had either a good or mediocre bruschetta appetizer. The result? The good bruschetta was judged better than the mediocre bruschetta, but the pasta dish was liked more when preceded by the mediocre appetizer.

Students Putting Their Education to Good Use

Christopher Gray, from the Close School and the LeBow College of Business, appeared on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” to pitch his scholarship app Scholly. Gray convinced two sharks, Lori Greiner and Daymond John, to invest $40,000 for a 15 percent stake in his startup company. He also ignited one of the most heated arguments among the investors in the show’s history.

Gray’s appearance on Shark Tank circulated nationwide. Some outlets that covered that story were Fortune and Forbes. Gray and Donna De Carolis, PhD, dean of the Close School of Entrepreneurship, were interviewed on CNBC about Drexel’s entrepreneurial co-op.

Christopher Gray, from the Close School and the LeBow College of Business, got some bites when he appeared on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” to pitch his scholarship app Scholly.

A roundup of Drexel co-ops by college compiled statistics for co-op employment and salaries of Drexel students across the University. Previously published co-op stories highlighting a specific job were also included.

A Big Year for the Dragons

Can you say three-peat? For the third year in the row, Drexel crew dominated on the Schuylkill River, securing the third overall championship at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in as many years.

The men's varsity eight team celebrating at last year's Dad Vail Regatta.

Two Drexel Dragons were named Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Players of the Year in their respective sports. Chris Crawford was named Drexel’s first-ever CAA Golfer of the Year. Swimmer and diver David Sanchez was named the CAA Diver of the Year.

Some teams also won big against longtime or seemingly unbeatable opponents. No. 9 seed Drexel men’s squash team beat the Princeton Tigers (No. 8) for the first time in five previous matches. This was the first time that Drexel beat a team from an Ivy League school. And the Drexel wrestling team took home its first win over a nationally ranked team this season by defeating Northwestern University.

In a win for everyone on campus, student athlete or not, the Daskalakis Athletic Center named its lobby for John and Mary Semanik, former Drexel athletic directors, with an impressive legacy on campus.

Social Media

One of the more popular photos on Drexel's Facebook page fittingly was an image of Main Building.

One of the top posts on Drexel's Facebook page was a cover photo of the Main Building decked out for the holidays, with 2,236 likes, shares, comments.

Over on Drexel's Instagram page, a photo that received a lot of love featured Drexel's campus with new spring blossoms. The photo had 543 likes.

A topical, yet now dated, tweet from Drexel's Twitter account received an outpouring of retweets, views and likes. Remember the blue and gold dress controversy? Drexel put its own spin on the trend, to great effect.