If there is one thing I’m confident your years at Drexel taught you well, it is how to face and make the most of each challenge in life. As I reflect on the academic year now underway, I can report that your alma mater is just as resilient.
At the start of the term, we looked back, ahead and around us with deep pride and appreciation — thanks to the launch of our 100th anniversary celebration of the Drexel Co-op program, the progress on groundbreaking additions to the University City Campus, and the arrival of a high-achieving class of first-year students.
At the same time as Drexel was pushing the boundaries of academic and research excellence, though, we had to deal with a virtually unprecedented situation in our College of Medicine, and nationally trending declines in graduate and international student enrollment. We also worked collaboratively over the summer to take steps necessary to close a budget gap and begin the academic year on solid financial footing.
Drexel’s alumni and friends, generously loyal, expect nothing less of this University. And we know that their support is unwavering — as witnessed by the substantial strides in the latest Campaign for Drexel. The Future Is a Place We Make campaign is more than three-quarters of the way toward its $750 million goal.
But securing the College of Medicine demonstrated the greatest resolve. The bankruptcy and closure of Hahnemann University Hospital was truly “a crisis thrown on our doorstep,” as trustee Thomas Kline described it. We acted fast, and successfully reassigned hundreds of third- and fourth-year medical students to new clinical settings around the region, as well as students of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and we moved to strengthen our new relationship with our new medical partner, Tower Health.
Then, in an historic move, we joined Tower in a bid to rescue St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children from bankruptcy. This ensures that the 144-year-old hospital continues to serve annually more than 30,000 pediatric patients, and 70,000 emergency room patients. Also secure: Drexel’s medical students’ hospital-based clinical rotations in pediatrics.
The College of Medicine has been a part of Drexel for 21 years. Thanks to the hard work and grit shown by untold numbers of colleagues at the University, it will continue even stronger into the future. Challenge met.