Remembering the Fun and Festivities of Drexel’s Commemorative 125th Anniversary Event

125 event

When current Drexel faculty, professional staff, students, alumni and neighboring community leaders celebrated the University’s 125th anniversary in the Main Building on Dec. 7, history was both made and repeated. Just 125 years ago — plus 10 days — the leading politicians, businessmen, Philadelphians and, yes, faculty of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry came together in that very same building on Dec. 17, 1891, for the institution’s founding. 

“I'd like to take a quick look back at the occasion we celebrate today: The dedication of the Drexel Institute,” said President John A. Fry at his welcome address at the ceremony. “It was a big event hosted right here in this room, where the audience included people like Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan.”

The 2016 gathering included proclamations and formal remarks by President Fry, Chairman Richard Greenawalt and Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, as well as remarks by Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.

“I am proud to be mayor of a city where high-quality institutions like Drexel successfully educate their students while making positive impacts in the surrounding communities,” said Mayor Kenney, who spoke about his time as mayor and his relationship with President Fry and Drexel University.

“He’s been a great partner and this university has been a great partner,” he said. “You are a credit to this city — you really are. The students that you turn out, the product that you turn out, your involvement with our community, your commitments and your generosity is unmatched. It really is unmatched. And I just want to thank you for your support for us as a city.”

Later, a video history of Drexel’s 125 years, “Building Drexel: Celebrating 125 Years” premiered at the event. The occasion featured an introduction from its narrator, Scott Knowles, PhD, associate professor and head of the History Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and the co-editor of “Building Drexel: The University and Its City, 1891–2016.”

Afterward, the contents of the special 125th anniversary time capsule were revealed by two student representatives: Valerie Tutwiler, an alumnus and current doctoral student in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems and vice president of Student Life for the Graduate Student Association, and Brittany Tucciarone, an entrepreneurship major in the LeBow College of Business and president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association.

After the formal remarks, a reception was held in the Great Court of Main Building. Guests treated themselves to Drexel-themed pastries and snacks, including glittery blue-and-gold macarons and pastries with the Drexel 125 logo.

If you missed out on the event, or want to relive it all over again, don’t worry — you can watch the entire ceremony here and can see the excitement for yourself in the photos below. All photos credited to Shira Yudkoff.