Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Marks Official Unveiling of Drexel Station at 30th Street

Drexel, SEPTA and local, state and federal officials gathered at Drexel Square to celebrate the newly reconstructed and renamed Drexel Station at 30th Street.
People cutting the ribbon at the Drexel Station at 30th Street.

Elected officials and representatives and leaders from SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University, including Drexel University President John Fry, eighth from left, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new Drexel Station at 30th Street on April 8. Photo courtesy SEPTA.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held April 8 marked the official opening of SEPTA’s upgraded and recently renamed Drexel Station at 30th Street, which is located at 3000 Market St. near Drexel University’s University City Campus. 

The University entered into a new naming rights agreement with the public transportation authority late last year for SEPTA’s former 30th Street Station. It’s one of SEPTA’s most heavily trafficked transit hubs and serves as a stop on the Market-Frankford Line and five City Trolley routes, in addition to providing access to nearby SEPTA bus lines and to Amtrak and SEPTA’s Regional Rail service at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.

The Drexel Station at 30th Street features new signage, digital displays, imagery, logos and other branding and identity markers, all announcing Drexel University. SEPTA recently completed extensive reconstruction of the station, including the addition of upgraded elevators, escalators and stairs; a glass headhouse and canopy on the 31st and Market Street corner; reconfigured fare lanes; new flooring and tiles; upgraded lighting; and other enhanced safety, accessibility and security features.

“We’re proud to join the celebration of the unveiling of a station that will serve as the gateway for so many of our students, faculty, professional staff and community partners as they arrive on campus,” said Drexel President John Fry. “As new educational, research and business development opportunities continue to grow in West Philadelphia, it is fitting for Drexel to welcome everyone to University City.”

Fry attended the April 8 ribbon-cutting ceremony along with leaders and representatives from SEPTA and Brandywine Realty Trust, including SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards and SEPTA Board Chair Ken Lawrence, Jr. and President and CEO Brandywine Realty Trust Jerry Sweeney. Federal, state and local officials also attended, including U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Rep. Amen Brown and Councilmember Jamie Gauthier.

The Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.
The headhouse entrance of the Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.

At the April 8 ceremony, SEPTA announced that the Drexel Station at 30th Street will serve as the debut location for the SEPTA Metro Wayfinding initiative, which promotes new, easier-to-identify colorful signage designed to make the system welcoming and easy to navigate for all riders regardless of what language they speak or their familiarity and knowledge of the SEPTA system. 

SEPTA is running a yearlong awareness campaign to promote the new Drexel Station, displayed through interior and exterior digital advertisements at other SEPTA stations and wraparound ads covering SEPTA buses. The advertising was funded by SEPTA and designed in collaboration with Drexel’s University Marketing & Communications team.

In addition to the exclusive naming rights, for an annual investment of $620,000 over five years, Drexel will receive branding and promotional space inside the station; inclusion in all SEPTA maps throughout the system; and annual, customizable media buys on SEPTA assets.

Transit riders stepping out of trains and trolleys at that station are now surrounded by a constellation of bright signs emblazoned with Drexel branding, announcing to all who pass through that the University is the entranceway to innovation and opportunity in University City. 

Westbound trolley stairs next to a picture of Mario the Magnificent at the Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.
A picture of Mario the Magnificent at the Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.

This naming agreement reflects a marketing strategy to increase visibility for Drexel and underscore its place as an anchor institution in Philadelphia, according to Senior Vice President of University Marketing & Communications Tracy Powell. 

“Strategic investments that elevate Drexel’s brand and association with University City’s innovation district are a critical piece of the University’s marketing as we focus on growing enrollment, research and partnerships in order to better position Drexel for the future,” said Powell. 

Drexel Station at 30th Street marks Drexel’s latest external partnership to develop a vibrant innovation district at the gateway to University City. Its headhouse is adjacent to Drexel Square, a parklet at the heart of Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5-billion mixed-use development project led by Drexel in partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust to create a vibrant innovation district between 30th and 32nd Streets. To date, the development of Schuylkill Yards has contributed approximately $120 million to Drexel’s endowment. 

With this newly named station, Drexel joins other local university-affiliated institutions who have branded SEPTA stations near their campuses; those stations exclusively serve Regional Rail lines. Temple University’s campus is home to the Temple University Station as well as the Cecil B. Moore Station also known as the Cecil B. Moore/Temple University station on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line. In 2020, Penn Medicine, the health system with hospitals connected to the University of Pennsylvania, signed a $3.3 million, five-year contract for the naming rights of the former University City SEPTA station at 3149 Convention Blvd., now called the Penn Medicine Station. As part of another multimillion-dollar partnership, the former Market East Station at Market Street between 10th and 12th streets was named Jefferson Station in 2014 after Jefferson Health.

Picture of the PISB biowall in the Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.
Drexel's Biowall highlighted in the Drexel Station at 30th Street. Photo courtesy Intersection.

In addition to various bus lines running through the University City Campus, SEPTA operates a trolley station at 33rd Street and the Market-Frankford subway station at 34th Street.

Drexel has engaged with multiple partnerships with SEPTA over the years; this naming rights agreement had been in the works for several years. The University became one of the first partners in SEPTA’s Key Advantage Program in 2022 and has since extended the benefit for all benefit-eligible employees and stipend-eligible doctoral students. Drexel faculty and students have worked with SEPTA on a variety of different research projects and programs, including safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and public transit perceptions after last year’s I-95 closure. Additionally, SEPTA is an annual employer providing professional experience to students through Drexel’s co-op program, and first-year medical students in the College of Medicine have served as “Health Navigators” for SEPTA’s SCOPE (Safety Cleaning Ownership Partnership Engagement) Program.

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