Drexel University was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel, a Philadelphian with some pretty deep pockets. It was first called the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry and in 1970, the Institute became Drexel University. Originally it was an engineering and technical college, but like many tech schools, it has expanded and now offers a wide variety of academic programs. Drexel also has one of the oldest and largest cooperative education programs in the country, combining coursework with on-the-job experience.
The campus is spread out over 60 acres of West Philadelphia city blocks. The University City main campus location is shared with the University of Pennsylvania, so there is often intermingling among the students. Most buildings are made of orange brick in Art Deco style. Some students complain about the unsightliness of campus and the “Shaft” (an old smokestack that is no longer in use) that blocks views of the Philly skyline.
Though Drexel’s campus isn’t exactly pleasing to the eye, University City is an oasis amidst a sometimes sketchy area of West Philadelphia. University City hosts an assortment of shops and eateries, and Center City is a short walk away for those wishing to sate their historical landmark cravings. As the nation’s first capital in the 1790s, evidence of early America can be seen in architecture, statues, and even Old City-patrolling Ben Franklin impersonators. It isn’t all old-school though; Philly is a bustling city with a lot to offer the adventurous college student. From museums and monuments to restaurants and nightlife, the city can easily keep you entertained for four years.
There is a bronze “Waterboy” statue in the Main Building and rubbing his toe is said to bring good luck on exams.
On the first Friday of every month, local art galleries offer free admission to the public and Drexel students love to peruse the free arts before hitting up happy hours.
The student newspaper, The Triangle, has an April fool’s tradition of releasing an edition called The Rectangle on April 1.
-With special reporting by Stephanie Leskinen ‘09
Robert Hall (1967) is the publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.
Harold Shaub (1939) used to be the president and CEO of the mmm mmm good Campbell Soup Company.
Chris McKendry (1990) is a journalist and anchor for ESPN.
Susan Seidelman (1973) directed Desperately Seeking Susan as well as a few early episodes of the HBO girly favorite, Sex and the City.
Alia Sabur (2006) is the world’s youngest professor and was born in 1989.
Paul Baran (1949) invented the airport metal detector and is a founding father of the Internet.
Malik Rose (1996) is an NBA player with the New York Knicks.
The Drexel Dragons play in the NCAA’s Division I. Basketball is the most popular Dragon sport, followed by lacrosse. The men’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament in 1986, 1994, 1995, and 1996 and has produced NBA players Malik Rose and Michael Anderson. Students rally as the “DAC Pack” at basketball games, rooting for their team as the biggest fan club on campus.
Drexel lacks a varsity football team, but students can cheer on Philadelphia’s Eagles if they have an itching for the sport.
Drexel was the first university to mandate that students own computers and the first to have an entirely wireless campus.
In the film Enemy of the State, Gene Hackman plays a Drexel graduate.
ABC Family filmed a reality TV show at Drexel called Back on Campus.
Drexel hosted the 2008 US Table Tennis Olympic Trials in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
There are two types of dormitories at Drexel: Traditional dorms with double rooms and suite-style dorms. The traditional dorms mostly house freshmen and each floor shares a bathroom and kitchen. The rooms are fairly spacious and have individually-controlled AC, so you won’t have to sleep in the Arctic unless you want to. The suite-style dorms are available to upperclassmen and honors freshmen. Four to six students share a suite with private bathrooms, a living area and kitchenette.