Thanks to a $5 million gift from the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Education Foundation, Drexel University transformed the center of its campus along 32nd Street, between Chestnut and Market Streets. The resulting hub, known as the Raymond G. Perelman Plaza, opened to the campus community on Sept. 30. The University marked the occasion with a celebration and dedication ceremony.
Drexel President John A. Fry, Councilwoman of the City of Philadelphia Jannie Blackwell, Vice President for Drexel Facilities Robert Francis, Drexel Sierra Club President James Cirelli and Vice President of Drexel’s Undergraduate Student Government Association Kevin Murray each delivered remarks and thanked Perelman for his generosity.
“Universities don’t thrive—in fact they can’t exist—without the belief and support of people like Ray Perelman,” said Fry. “Over the past several years we’ve designed new academic buildings with student collaboration as an overarching principle, developed apartments and retail in tandem to make our campus more residential and lively, and reimagined our outdoor spaces, but a true town square was still lacking. Today, we fill that blank with Perelman Plaza, the most spectacular community space Drexel has ever had.”
The campus master plan places Drexel’s “center of gravity” squarely on Perelman Plaza. With the University’s largest academic building, the home for Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, rising at one end and the new residential and retail center, Chestnut Square, at the other, the location will serve as the University’s primary outdoor social and event space. A portion of the new plaza still remains under construction and will be completed by end of November.
Perelman has pledged an additional $6 million for the construction of a Center for Jewish Life at Drexel. The new facility, which is expected to open in the fall of 2016, will be named the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life and will be located on N. 34th Street. It will be the first facility at Drexel dedicated to Jewish student life.