Year-End Highlights: Growing Enrollment, Academic and Research Excellence

Dear Colleagues,

With the approach of Commencement, I am more convinced than ever that Drexel is reaching the next level of excellence. The 2017-2018 academic year saw the University’s continued strong showing in national university rankings, a second year of record-high student retention, the enrollment of one of the largest and most academically talented classes in our history, and the launch of our $750 million fundraising campaign. 

We’re not stopping there.

We are on track to enroll at least 3,300 freshmen, with another strong yield rate of at least 14.2 percent. Online enrollment of new graduate students grew by 17 percent, extending the University’s reach far beyond Philadelphia. Clearly, our student enrollment and retention strategy is working, as we invest more heavily in need-based student financial aid, spread the word about Drexel far and wide to prospective students, and provide students the support they need to succeed once enrolled.

Drexel students and recent alumni continue to excel academically, with more than 80 awarded nationally-competitive fellowships and awards with an estimated value of more than $2.4 million. The scholarships include the Goldwater, Gates Cambridge and McNeil scholarships, as well as Fulbright grants, NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and others.

Meanwhile, we are recruiting top leaders to guide students’ learning, including Laura N. Gitlin, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Sharon L. Walker, dean of the College of Engineering, Paul E. Jensen, dean of LeBow College of Business, Maria T. Schultheis, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Scott Cooper, president of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Our research enterprise — particularly our work with autism — anticipates new resources, notably from our partnership in the Eagles Autism Challenge. The National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s 2017 Listing for Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents just ranked Drexel 54th, moving up 18 places. We are also preparing to establish the Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center at 3101 Market St., and create a new location for the College of Computing and Informatics at 3675 Market, where the College will have space in the first new building in uCity Square. The Cambridge Innovation Center will be in the same building, affording CCI the opportunity for synergy and collaboration

The University City campus has never looked better, with the dedication last week of the revitalized Korman Center and Quad, and the expected completion this fall of Drexel Square, a 1.3-acre park that will serve as a gateway to the campus and the centerpiece of Schuylkill Yards. And the opening of the Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy at 1200 Chestnut St. extends the Kline School of Law’s reach to Center City.

Drexel student-athletes continue to excel, winning a regular season CAA women’s basketball title, a sixth consecutive Dad Vail Regatta championship, and a national ranking in women's squash finishing ninth at Team Nationals and winning the Kurtz Cup. Off the field, Drexel Athletics is a national leader in academic integrity, graduation rates, and gender equity.

Our commitment to inclusive economic growth in Philadelphia is centered not only on developing Schuylkill Yards, but also on a range of cradle-to-career education efforts — such as our ongoing work with the Promise Neighborhoods grant and the continuing growth of Science Leadership Academy Middle School, the public school that has been housed at our Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. The Dornsife Center itself is a hub of activity, creative energy, and strong community partnerships.

Looking ahead to next year, we plan to celebrate all the ways in which the Drexel Co-op program is more relevant and vital than ever, as the program reaches its 100th anniversary.

To thrive as Drexel is doing in today’s highly competitive higher education landscape should be a source of great pride, and I want to thank you for all that you do for the University. This summer, I hope we can all take time off to recharge — including half-day Fridays beginning June 22 — and I look forward to working with you during the coming academic year.


John Fry


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