The View From Main: Summer 2022

John Fry

It was wonderful to welcome many of you back to campus for Alumni Weekend last month. I hope the changes you saw made you proud.

This is truly an exciting time to see firsthand the ongoing physical development of our campus, which reflects the ambitious academic expansion we are undertaking, driven by our talented students and faculty.

I see each new building as an opportunity to unite the University’s strengths in research, experiential education and industry partnerships under a compelling sense of place. The “innovation district” approach to campus development Drexel has embarked on imagines a day when the Market Street corridor hums with the work of academic scholars and corporate scientists pursuing new commercial discoveries. It promises opportunities for graduates and for the residents of West Philadelphia to explore new careers in their own prosperous backyard. It creates fertile ground for curricular crossovers between the classroom and the workplace, and a space for dialogue between the theoretical and the translational.

When University faculty and professional staff collaborated on the Drexel 2030 strategic plan last year, they saw the urgency of future-proofing Drexel against challenging trends in higher education and the workforce. We’re doing just that, by creating the means to unlock new partnerships, growing the reputation of key knowledge clusters, developing curricula employers want and need, and enhancing co-op and research options for our students — all while fostering an inclusive, engaged culture. When I see Drexel-acquired land developed into centers of innovation, I truly see Drexel’s 2030 strategic plan coming to life.

There are less visible changes, too, though no less important. The Anti-Racism Task Force recently issued more than 200 recommendations to ensure our people are supported, our policies interrogated, and the paths to success are charted equitably for all. Some of those efforts, like hires of interdisciplinary Black scholars, the creation of a Center for Black Culture, and a review of our campus policing, are already in effect.

Interdisciplinary, engaged teaching and research is also key, and so we were pleased to announce this year the launch of the Environmental Collaboratory, a new research initiative headed by climate expert Mathy Vathanaraj Stanislaus for researchers and community partners who want to explore urban environmental challenges and solutions.

I hope that as you learn about these developments that you imagine them as I do, a chance to build bridges across our own culture and create an even more nimble, innovative and equitable University that is positioned to make the greatest possible contributions to American society and beyond.

John Fry / President