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The Year Ahead: A Message from the Dean

September 20, 2009

A warm welcome to our 531 incoming students as well as to our returning students and those faculty who have been away this summer. U.S. News and World Report recently released its annual rankings of American universities and the Westphal College is proud to be doing its part to contribute to Drexel's upward march -now 4th in the nation among "Schools to Watch' and to number 88 in the "Best National Universities' category. It's the beginning of a busy year that will see us launching our new Television major, preparing for our new program in Product Design, deep at work with architectural firm MS&R on planning for our new building, and we"ve put together an extensive slate of exhibitions, residencies, guest lecturers, performances, and film screenings.

At the end of October, we will host ARTS OF FASHION, the premier international student-level fashion symposium and competition in the world. ARTS OF FASHION will conclude with a fashion show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with three Drexel students competing as finalists. Our Fashion Lecture Series kicks off with Rebecca Wilkinson, Director of Schmoozing and Carousing for Ginch Gonch and later in the year Harold Koda, Curator of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. And, after the resounding success of last year's Fashion Show at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Headquarters at the Navy Yard, we'll return for this year's show on June 5, 2010.

Our Theater Program has three major productions in the works for The Mandell Theater. Paula Vogel's The Long Christmas Ride Home will be this year's Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP) from Philadelphia's Azuka Theatre Company. The Drexel Players will then light up the house with Reefer Madness and a reimagining of William Shakespeare's fairy taleMidsummer Night's Dream.

As part of the city's First Person Arts Festival this October, we will screen William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, about the controversial civil rights lawyer and Still Bill, the story of hit maker Bill Withers whose songs include "Ain't no Sunshine' and "Lean on Me'. The filmmakers for both films will be in attendance to speak to students, and STAR TREK's George Takei will be on campus this October talking about his career and his coming out.

Our Music and Dance programs will present over fifty performances in the fall, winter and spring festivals, featuring talented Drexel students from all colleges across the University. We'll once again present players from The Philadelphia Orchestra in four concerts conveniently performed in the dorms, and we'll host Intercultural Journeys for a night of contrasting musical styles devoted to the cause of world peace. We have partnered with the College of Engineering's MET (music, entertainment and technology) lab to present five simulcasts of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts this year beginning Sunday, October 4th with Bartók and Brahms in Bossone's Mitchell Auditorium. MAD Dragon Records will bring down the house with a concert featuring the label's roster of musical artists, and hip-hop dancer Clyde Evans will be in residency with our Dance Program.

The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery's full slate this year includes a show by painter Mel Leipzig, whose work is in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum and the White House. We'll follow-up the success of Ink not Ink with an exhibition from China entitled Uncarved Wood and, as our contribution to Philagrafika, Philadelphia's three month-long celebration of international contemporary print art, we'll present a show of print art from the International Print Center of New York (IPCNY).

A number of notable designers will be on campus for residencies. These include House Industries, a hip company that creates unconventional graphic design elements for use in visual communications, clothing and product design, and Tejo Remy from Droog, an internationally recognized design collective of independent designers from the Netherlands. Architect and Columbia University professor Kenneth Frampton and Yale professor Karsten Harries will guest lecture as part of The Farajollah & Maryam Badie Arfaa Lecture Series in Architecture.

It's a long way to May and June's impressive Senior Shows, but there will be ample opportunities to see our students' fantastic work staring with Off Campus, a new student-produced comedic television series about the lives of recent college graduates premiering this fall on DUTV. In upcoming editions of this newsletter, we'll provide details about these and other events, and we sincerely hope you'll come out to join us and be part of our community.