Illustrations by Ryan Simpson. Photos by Gabriella Barrantes, Jeff Fusco, Halkin Photography
With the support of our alumni, parents, students, employees and friends, Drexel has just concluded the most ambitious and impactful fundraising and engagement campaign in our history.
The Future Is a Place We Make raised $806.6 million, exceeding its original $750 million goal, with more than 42,000 alumni engaged as event attendees, volunteers and donors.
Together, we are helping to build a stronger University and a better world. Funds raised in this Campaign are flowing toward scholarships, co-op stipends and services — creating access and opportunity for a more diverse range of talented students. New endowed roles are supporting interdisciplinary teaching and research, alongside new centers for learning, socializing and research. Our neighbors in West Philadelphia have access to new skills, resources and opportunities, thanks to projects supported by friends of the University.
“Our University is well-positioned to continue our important work, build on our momentum, support the innovative aspirations of our far-reaching strategic plan, ‘Drexel 2030: Designing the Future’ — all of which will build the next great chapter and evolution of Drexel University,” says President John Fry.
The Campaign launched publicly in 2017, following a “quiet phase” that began in 2013. Momentum was powerful from the start, with two of the largest donations in Drexel’s history coming in 2014 and 2015 — naming gifts for the Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health, respectively. The Campaign reached its goal six months ahead of schedule and surpassed the $455 million raised through the previous campaign.
“Exceeding our ambitious goals is a cause for pride and gratitude,” says Richard A. Greenawalt ’66, chair of Drexel’s Board of Trustees and a co-chair of the Campaign. “But it also is an affirmation that at Drexel, if we set a course and work together, we can make anything happen. Drexel is a community of doers.”
Generous gifts are going a long way toward advancing equity and inclusion, community partnerships, research and academics — key pillars of Drexel’s transformational plan for the coming decade.
A major gift to the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health will bolster Drexel’s work toward championing an inclusive culture. The school is now home to the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity, where researchers collaborate with community members who haven’t historically had a role in influencing scholarship. Drexel’s new Center for Black Culture drew support for scholarships, stipends, new spaces for social activities, art installations, events and a library. Additional major gifts will expand access and inclusion initiatives at the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the Kline School of Law and will enable more students to enroll at the College of Medicine. The Campaign also resulted in a bequest that has been designated for research and policy related to increasing equity in LGBTQ health care.
Our friends and alumni are making Drexel stronger as we chart a path for our community to thrive and contribute to an equitable, sustainable and productive future.
Partnerships that enrich academic initiatives and engage the community received massive support. One major gift will promote the Lindy Institute’s role in shaping Philadelphia’s civic design landscape, from making the Benjamin Franklin Parkway more people-friendly to assessing options in redeveloping a former refinery site in the city. Another will allow Drexel to launch an Innovation Engine that will accelerate external partnerships in teaching, cooperative education and interdisciplinary research.
Benefactors also got behind exciting new programs that ensure a thriving campus experience for students. A new artist-in-residence program was made possible at Westphal College, as well as curatorial fellowships at the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection. Other gifts and bequests are supporting learning initiatives as well as arts and humanities programs.
Alumni showed up for Drexel — many inspired to contribute for the first time — not only financially, but also by pitching in as volunteers, by mentoring students and by supporting each other through networking events.
Even during the pandemic, support was strong for Dragons facing unexpected financial hardship and other challenges.
And even as this Campaign closes, it sets the stage for future fundraising that will put even greater growth and development within reach. Drexel will continue to advance the priorities outlined in the “Drexel 2030: Designing the Future” strategic plan. Achieving these ambitious goals will entail expanding support for scholarships, fellowships and student success; endowing more professorships and chairs; pursuing life-changing interdisciplinary research, and strengthening partnerships with our neighbors in Philadelphia and beyond. Our future ambitions will also bring a renewed focus to capital projects, including the new Health Sciences Building and renovation and expansion of Kelly Hall.
Thank you to everyone who rallied for Drexel. We are grateful that you believe in Drexel and the future that our community of dreamers, disruptors, artists, healers, visionaries and doers are making.
Fighting Racism as a Public Health Crisis
With generous support from Dana ’83, HD ’14 and David Dornsife HD ’14, the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity officially launched in November 2021. Under the leadership of inaugural director Sharrelle Barber, the Center aims to unite diverse partners to generate and translate evidence, accelerate anti-racism solutions and transform the health of communities locally, nationally and globally.
Left to right: Jennifer Ware, deputy director of the Ubuntu Center; Sharrelle Barber, director of the Ubuntu Center and assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics; and Tanisha Barnes, administrative coordinator of the Ubuntu Center in the Dornsife School of Public Health.
“You can no longer turn a blind eye to inequitable access to health care and to disproportionate impact on our communities of color.” — Dana Dornsife ’83, HD ’14, benefactor and honorary chair of the Campaign for Drexel.
Learning in the Midst of Government, Commerce and Law
A transformative gift from respected trial attorney and Drexel trustee Thomas R. Kline established the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy in Philadelphia’s Center City. Designed as a bank in the early 20th century by the iconic architect Horace Trumbauer, the distinctive neoclassical building was transformed in 2018 to accommodate trial practice rooms, cutting-edge technology and a ceremonial courtroom, allowing students at Drexel’s Kline School of Law to polish critical advocacy skills in a setting that mirrors the professional landscape they will soon enter.
Feeding Mind and Spirit
The Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life is the first building at Drexel constructed entirely through private philanthropy. With visionary support from the late civic leader Raymond G. Perelman, it opened in 2016 as a hub of Jewish experience on campus and the home to Drexel Hillel, serving thousands of visitors each year through Jewish education programs, holiday services and weekly Shabbat dinners. Architect Stanley Saitowitz drew on his own Jewish faith when designing the facility, which is inspired by the lines of a menorah. The Philadelphia Inquirer exclaimed, “It is one of those rare designs that feeds the mind as well as the spirit.”
Environmental science graduate and Drexel Urban Growers member Alexis Wiley ’22 harvests vegetables from a community garden run by the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, to be donated to West Philadelphia residents.
A Welcome and Helping Hand to the Community
Located in the heart of the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships brings neighbors together with all of Drexel’s colleges and schools and multiple nonprofit partners to offer stakeholder-driven programming that supports the health, wellness and stability of surrounding neighborhoods. An “urban extension center,” it offers various programs that place Drexel students, faculty and staff alongside community members to solve problems in West Philadelphia.
A Distinctive Living-Learning Community
Advancing the University’s priority to enhance student life and experiences, the former Calhoun Hall was renovated and expanded to become Gregory and Caroline Bentley Hall. Thanks to support from Gregory, a Drexel trustee and chair of the Pennoni Honors College Advisory Board, and his wife, the transformed living-learning community functions as a hub for the Pennoni Honors College and its students, with seminar rooms and collaborative and flexible study and social lounges, including the Annette Pennoni Living Room.
A New Heart for the University City Campus
For many years, the central “quad” between Market and Chestnut streets east of South 33rd Street was nothing more than a shortcut between academic buildings. That changed in 2017 with the opening of the Korman Center and Korman Family Quad. The exterior is a vibrant green space with new walkways, trees, shrubbery and plentiful and varied seating for meeting, relaxing and hanging out. Like the Quad, the renovations and additions to the Korman Center focus on connectivity. The Center’s original brick exterior was given new life by the addition of two stories of natural light-filled space and a welcoming front porch featuring wooden benches that open onto the Quad. The original Korman Center was built in 1958 and named in 1977 in honor of alumnus Max W. Korman ’29 and his brother, alumnus and trustee Samuel J. Korman ’34. Four decades later, the Hyman Korman Family Foundation furthered the family’s legacy of philanthropy and service at Drexel through a generous gift, matched by the University, that made the rejuvenation of the Center and the adjoining Quad possible.
Spiros Mancoridis is the inaugural holder of the new Auerbach Berger Endowed Chair in Cybersecurity, one of 19 endowed professorships, chairs and positions created and funded during the Campaign.
Even the most alert mind can detect malware only so fast — and too often, the damage is already done. But what if we could harness technology to stop malware attacks in real time?
“If you’re a victim of ransomware, by the time you get the alert, it’s too late,” says College of Computing & Informatics Professor Spiros Mancoridis. “You need to deploy heavy-duty machine learning and cutting-edge AI. Our whole lab is based on the assumption that the bad guys are definitely going to get on these computers, so what can we do to minimize the harm?”
“An endowment gives you freedom to work on … difficult and long-term projects.”
Mancoridis is the inaugural holder of the new Auerbach Berger Endowed Chair in Cybersecurity, a position funded by a $3 million gift from Carol Auerbach and Albert Berger through their family foundations, the Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation and the Berger Family Fund with the Jewish Communal Fund, respectively.
The endowment has allowed Mancoridis to delve into long-term research exploring faster-than-human responses to malware with the support of three graduate students, who are investigating different aspects of the issue, such as detection and mitigation. In their hands-on lab, Mancoridis and his graduate students teach over 100 computing students a year how to keep networks and data safe in an increasingly digital world.
“An endowment gives you freedom to work on the problems you want and that often allows you to work on much more difficult and long-term projects,” Mancoridis says. “If a company is funding you for a year, that project can’t be that complicated. But with this funding, because it’s in perpetuity, you can set a 10-year agenda.”
BIOMED student María José Garcia Rivas is seeing the world and changing campus with help from $212 million in Campaign funding earmarked for student success.
Since María José Garcia Rivas arrived at Drexel from Honduras, she’s had experiences she says she wouldn’t have had anywhere else. A BS/MS biomedical engineering student and class president, Garcia Rivas is a Drexel Global Scholar and also holds the Dornsife Global Development Scholar and the Nina Henderson Provost Scholar scholarships, both established during the Campaign by their eponymous donors.
“It has meant that as someone coming from a low-income family, I was able to pursue high-level education,” Garcia Rivas says of her scholarships. “It has been completely life-changing and allowed me to come to the States and have a groundbreaking education.”
“I was able to pursue high-level education, and it has been completely life-changing.”
In June 2022, one of her scholarships paved the way for her to visit Ghana, where she observed innovation in her field firsthand while working on water sanitation and hygiene issues with the Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program. She says that, in her field, there’s often a gap between ideas and putting workable solutions into action. After seeing the elaborate lab set up at her worksite in rural Africa, she says, anything seems possible.
“Biomedical engineering looks completely different here than it looks at home; here, it’s about creativity and moving forward,” she says. “I’ve been passionate about innovation and accessibility of tech in spaces like the one I grew up in in Honduras. But a lot of the time, when I had those conversations, it was like, ‘Great, but that will be hard.’ Now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes, it inspired me to be more vocal about it. It’s easier to advocate for something that you’ve seen rather than something you dream about.”
Campaign donors contributed $32 million toward innovative learning spaces such as a new Center for Law and Transformational Technology directed by alumna Jordan Fischer.
New technology often makes its way into the world before law can catch up. The newly created Center for Law and Transformational Technology at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law helps to keep legal scholars and students ahead of changing trends.
The center’s director, Assistant Teaching Professor Jordan Fischer, describes it as a hub of thought leadership, collaboration and discussion — with the intersection of law and technology at its heart. The center was made possible in 2021 by a grant from the Green Family Foundation.
“We’re diving into this area that’s in its infancy.”
In its inaugural year, the center has hosted impactful events, including a popular appearance by Amazon’s general counsel. Discussions have covered blockchain, artificial intelligence and neural technology. “We’ve been able to put on programs, both in-person and virtually, that bring in people who are working in this space day-to-day who can provide core insight into what’s really going on,” says Fischer, who is a 2013 alumna of the Kline School of Law.
Fischer’s current project is a fall symposium focusing on neurotechnology. “There are so many ways to think about [neurotechnology] from a human rights perspective or an IP trademark perspective … we’re diving into this area that’s in its infancy,” she says.
A portion of $47 million donated to civic engagement projects has enabled Rachel López, director of the Andy and Gwen Stern Lawyering Clinic of the Kline School of Law, to expand beyond routine legal aid to fulfilling restorative justice requests from the community.
Community partnership is the essence of civic engagement, and so when a longtime community leader of the Mantua section of West Philadelphia asked Drexel’s Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic of the Kline School of Law for help commuting the sentences of two incarcerated elders, Professor Rachel López saw a chance to make the clinic more responsive to residents’ needs.
“Jimmy Allen wanted us to petition on behalf of five people that he grew up with,” explains López, who directs the clinic housed in the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. “They were now all in their 70s. His feeling was that they had served their time and transformed their lives and that they are needed back home, in part because of the impact they could have on the youth in Mantua.”
“We’re able to think more holistically about the needs of the neighborhood.”
A $1.65 million gift to the clinic in 2019 from Gwen and the late Andy Stern, a Drexel professor and a trial lawyer, respectively, came just in time for the clinic, where students at the Kline School of Law provide free legal services to community members living in underserved neighborhoods around Drexel. The clinic’s “justice lawyering” approach includes giving priority to cases that involve systemic issues that impact many people.
The gift enabled the clinic to hire a staff attorney to handle common legal troubles such as title claims and employment discrimination. That created “breathing room,” says López.
“Instead of being reactive, we can be more proactive and creative,” she says. “We’re able to step back and think more holistically about the needs of the neighborhood and develop deep partnerships with community organizations.”
That focus paid off with the recent commutation of sentences for Mantua’s Terrell Carter and James Jackson, who are both now back home in their old neighborhood and already making a difference, volunteering and bettering themselves, says López. She hopes to one day see the men get involved in the clinic’s workshops on restorative justice, a rehabilitative path that allows people who have been convicted of crimes to heal the harm they’ve caused.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children depends on its public and private benefactors to provide care and community support to low-income families in North Philadelphia.
Access and Inclusion
Wonder Woman and Spider-Man wowed youngsters in the crowd at a recent back-to-school carnival organized by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, but the real superheroes were the health care workers at the hospital and the donors who made it happen.
Every year, St. Christopher’s hosts a carnival for its patients and their families, and while these events are not the typical booming carnival celebrations with rides, thrills and fried food galore, they provide parents with plenty of respite. The carnival helps patients and local families prepare for the new school year with health and social services and backpacks filled with supplies. The Melchiorre Family Foundation is the main sponsor, supported by other corporations, individuals and foundations.
“Patients and families trust me with their children, and it’s a tremendous privilege.”
“Patients and families trust me with their children, and it’s a tremendous privilege,” says Renee M. Turchi, who serves as pediatrician-in-chief at St. Christopher’s and is professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the College of Medicine and clinical professor in community health and prevention at the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone who is supporting patients and families at St. Christopher’s. You are making a real difference for many children and their families. They are so grateful.”
Founded in 1875, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is a critical resource for underserved families in North Philadelphia and beyond, as well as a pediatric training center for future physicians at Drexel’s College of Medicine
Campaign Launch – December 2013
William Penn Foundation grants $3.2 million to the Academy of Natural Sciences to study water quality in the Delaware River Watershed, a critical source of drinking water.
Trustee Thomas R. Kline provides a $50 million naming gift for the School of Law.
The Academy of Natural Sciences receives the first of two anonymous gifts from separate donors — $5 million for an endowed fund for strategic initiatives, and $2.5 million to endow a chair for environmental initiatives.
H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest donates $2 million to create the Center for Cultural Partnerships, supporting paid student co-ops in the nonprofit, cultural sector.
Dana ’83 and David Dornsife (both HD ’14) provide a $45 million naming gift for the School of Public Health.
Martha and I. Wistar Morris contribute $1 million to the President’s Strategic Initiatives Fund at the Academy of Natural Sciences, the first of two separate gifts. Their second $1 million in December 2021 endows the executive director position for the Academy’s Library and Archives.
A $3 million grant from the Lenfest Foundation in honor of Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest establishes the Lenfest Foundation Endowed Co-op Fund for paid student co-ops in the nonprofit, cultural sector.
Public Phase Begins – November 2017
The Campaign for Drexel surpasses the $455 million fundraising record achieved during the previous campaign.
A $2.5 million gift from Raj ’72 and Kamla Gupta, matched by members of the Haas Family and associated foundations, expands and names the Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute housed in the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business.
Dedication of the Korman Center and Korman Family Quad, thanks to a $8 million gift from Hyman Korman Family Foundation made in May 2015, on the recommendation of its trustees, Berton, Leonard and Steven Korman.
Gregory and Caroline Bentley Hall, including the Annette Pennoni Living Room and new spaces for Pennoni Honors College, opens thanks to a February 2019 gift from the Bentleys.
Trustee emeritus William T. Schleyer ’73, HD ’06 and his family (including sons Edward MD ’12 and William Jr. MD ’14) provide $4 million in scholarship funds for students at the College of Medicine.
A second gift of $9 million from the Dornsifes to their namesake school funds the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity; endows the dean’s chair; and supports public health faculty.
“24 Hours of Impact,” Drexel’s day of giving, surpasses $1 million for the first time, thanks to more than 5,400 gifts from the Drexel community.
A new K-8 school building for Powel Elementary and the Science Leadership Academy Middle School opens in West Philadelphia, the result of collective efforts and funding including community and state leaders, Drexel, the School District of Philadelphia, Wexford Science + Technology, Ventas, PECO Exelon, Lenfest Foundation and other funders.
Two anonymous donors give $3.9 million to establish an artist-in-residence program at the Westphal College and to support exhibitions, research and curatorial fellowships at the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection.
Alan, Elaine and Frank Lindy donate $5 million to further advance the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, continuing the philanthropic vision of their late father, Philip B. Lindy.
A gift from The Charles and Barbara Close Foundation adds to its earlier grant that created and named the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship.
Ronald W. ’72 and Kathleen Disney pledge $10 million to support students and advance access and inclusion initiatives, primarily at the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business — the college’s second-largest gift ever.
Jeffrey R. Westphal, the son and father of Drexel alumni, funds launch of a wide-ranging Innovation Engine to accelerate creativity and external partnerships in teaching, cooperative education and interdisciplinary research across Drexel — adding to an earlier commitment to establish the Freddie Reisman Center for Translational Research in Creativity and Motivation at the School of Education.
A $5 million unrestricted gift from trustee Dick Hayne creates student apprenticeships at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design focused on fashion and other design careers in the retail sector.
The estate of Beverly and Gordon Hattersley provides $4 million to support the care of the collections at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Campaign Concludes – June 2022
Campaign surpasses its goal, finishing at $806.6 million.
While a handful of super donors helped Drexel cross the finish line early, the success of this Campaign relied on many small gifts and countless acts of individual generosity.
Donors who are Drexel alumni
Record number of gifts collected in a single day of giving
Schools and colleges named for donors during the Campaign
$264M / 33%
$226M / 28%
$119M / 15%
Corporations / Other Organizations
$117M / 14%
$92M / 11%
Faculty and Professional Staff
$12M / 2%
$11M / 1%
Households contributing at the A.J. Drexel Society level of $1K or more during an academic year
Endowed student scholarship, fellowship and program funds created (including 288 new scholarship funds)
Prize and award funds endowed
New donor-supported co-ops (a 50% increase)
New members of Drexel’s Legacy Society, who have included the University in their estate plans
Endowed professorships, chairs and athletic coach positions created
Operational and program funds for co-ops, research and other initiatives endowed