Bust of A.J. Drexel wearing birthday hat

125 Remarkable Years of Drexel

One hundred and twenty five years ago, an intensely private yet hugely influential financier and philanthropist named Anthony J. Drexel founded an institution that one speaker described at its dedication ceremony as “peculiarly American.”

“Peculiarly American” because the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry envisioned by A.J. Drexel was to be free of social class divisions and open to women and people of all races, who would be equipped to lead the new industrial epoch that America was destined to dominate. Drexel was to stand apart from ivory-towered academia and represent instead problem solving, practical production and community.

From its single original location in Main Building, Drexel has flourished across more than 50 landmark buildings on three campuses throughout Philadelphia. It has evolved over generations of tumultuous change from a limited non-degree-granting institute to a nationally ranked comprehensive urban research university with over 200 degree programs and 15 colleges and schools.

For the job of condensing such rich experience into a single timeline, we culled history books, haunted the University’s archives, queried everyone and pored over many splotchy PDF facsimiles of The Triangle. With apologies for anything that we included and shouldn’t have, or inadvertently omitted, and to all the details we compressed of necessity, what follows are 125 historical facts, people, programs and moments that have made Drexel the remarkable institution that it is today.


[flik-timeline category=”125-timeline”]

A timeline of what makes Drexel great, then and now.