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Drexel's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design

  • Michael Keaton
Posted on January 7, 2021
Learning and Innovation

The late nineteenth century saw rapid growth of an increasingly industrialized society. And A.J. Drexel had a vision of Drexel being an institution of higher learning that was uniquely positioned to prepare its graduates to not only deal with the challenges presented by the future of work but to become leaders and problem solvers affecting the future of their respective industries. Over 125 years later, The Westphal College of Media Arts and Design continues to carry out Mr. Drexel's vision and has a long and impressive track record of doing so.

Heading into the third decade of the twenty-first century, Westphal remains an educational hub that continues to adjust to changes in technology, industry, and society, all while attracting a very strong, talented, and diverse group of students and faculty.

The current Westphal College of Media Arts and Design can trace its origins to the College of Home Economics (CHE). In 1967, CHE launched an experimental curricular overhaul called Pilot '71 ('71 being the year students starting at Drexel in 1967 would graduate). Before Pilot '71, CHE had a focus on skills and knowledge necessary for homemaking. Pilot '71 shifted the focus towards design and fine arts. By 1974, these changes, in part, lead to CHE being renamed the Nesbitt College of Design, Nutrition, Human Relations and Home Economics. The newly named college continued to place a stronger emphasis on design and by the early 2000s had added several media-based programs to go along with those focused on art and design. In 2001, Nesbitt College became the College of Media Arts and Design and in 2005 was renamed the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design after an alumna of CHE.

Heading into the third decade of the twenty-first century, Westphal remains an educational hub that continues to adjust to changes in technology, industry, and society, all while attracting a very strong, talented, and diverse group of students and faculty. The seventeen undergraduate majors housed in Westphal provide students not only with a solid foundation in the aesthetics of their fields but they also ensure that students receive a proper foundation on the business aspects of their industry. By applying an educational approach that embraces both Apollonian and Dionysian methods, Westphal consistently graduates students who are creative, curious, critical thinkers and collaborators who continue their success stories long after they have graduated from Drexel.

Whether taking a photograph that ends up on the cover of Time Magazine, composing scores for video games, working as the Senior Global Director of Operations for Anthropologie, or working as an Enhanced Experience Director for Metallica — graduates of the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design take the experience and knowledge that they accumulate as Drexel Dragons and earn a living doing what they love, all while making important and significant contributions to the organizations they work for.

We are looking forward to the next generation of Westphal Dragons. If Westphal sounds like the right place for you to spend the next few years, reach out to your admissions representative or the recruitment team at Westphal for more information.

I hope to see you on campus soon!


Michael J. Keaton is Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel. Mike enjoys public speaking, is a music and pop culture enthusiast, and has been working in college admissions since 1998.

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton
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