Building Drexel

The University and Its City, 1891-2016

Edited by Richardson Dilworth and Scott Gabriel Knowles
Book Cover

HC: $35.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-1420-5
Publication: Dec 16

Ebook: $35.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-1422-9
Publication: Dec 16

456 pages
6 x 9
45 color photos, 3 tables, 1 line drawing, 61 halftones

The first comprehensive history of Drexel University in Philadelphia

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Published in conjunction with Drexel University’s 125th anniversary, Building Drexel chronicles the founding of the university by Anthony J. Drexel through to the present day. The editors and contributors create a prismatic discussion of the university and its evolution.

Richly illustrated chapters cover the architectural history of notable Drexel buildings; the role of Drexel in Philadelphia’s modern history; its Greek life; sports—particularly Drexel’s history in the Big 5; and each of the university’s schools and colleges. There is a history of the medical college and law school, plus the creation of new schools such as those of biomedical engineering, science and health systems.

Building Drexel also documents the civil rights history of Drexel and its urban planning history in relation to the racially diverse Powelton Village and Mantua neighborhoods it borders. This commemorative volume shows the development of the university both in the city and in the world.

Contributors include: Lloyd Ackert, Cordelia Frances Biddle, Paula Marantz Cohen, Donna Marie De Carolis, Roger Dennis, Gloria Donnelly, Kevin D. Egan, Alissa Falcone, David Fenske, John A. Fry, Stephen F. Gambescia, Marla J. Gold, Charles Haas, Kathy Harvatt, Daniel Johnson, Jeannine Keefer, Larry Keiser, Michael Kelley, Jason Ludwig, Jonson Miller, Julie Mostov, Danuta A. Nitecki, Anthony M. Noce, Steven J. Peitzman, David Raizman, Tiago Saraiva, Amy E. Slaton, Nathaniel Stanton, Virginia Theerman, Laura Valenti, James Wolfinger, Eric A. Zillmer, and the editors.


"This book chronicles the founding of the university by Anthony J. Drexel in 1891 and its 125 years since.... It is certainly a useful book for alumni and for libraries with a reference area dealing with universities in our state." —Pennsylvania Magazine

Table of Contents

Foreword • Anthony M. Noce
Timeline of Drexel History, 1889–Present

Introduction: Drexel at 125 and 150: Celebrating History with an Eye to the Future • John A. Fry

1. Drexel, Philadelphia, and the Urban Ecology of Higher Education • Richardson Dilworth
2. Anthony Joseph Drexel: The Evolution of a Philanthropist • Cordelia Frances Biddle
3. Continuous Reinvention: A History of Engineering Education at Drexel University • Alissa Falcone, Scott Gabriel Knowles, Jonson Miller, Tiago Saraiva, and Amy E. Slaton
4. The Sciences at Drexel: Instruction, Service, and Research • Lloyd Ackert
5. Drexel’s Architecture: Encountering the Urban Campus • Amy E. Slaton
6. The History of Athletics and Student Life at Drexel University • Eric A. Zillmer
7. Greek Life at Drexel • Michael Kelley and Anthony M. Noce
8. The Creative Impulse: Theater, Dance, Music, and the Artistic Collections of Drexel University • Virginia Theerman
9. The Past and Future of the Library at Drexel University • Danuta A. Nitecki
10. One Hundred and Twenty- Five Years of Computing and Information Education and Research • David Fenske
11. From the Business Department, to the Secretarial School, to the LeBow College of Business • Daniel Johnson
12. Pilot ’71: From Home Economics to Design, Media, and Beyond in the Westphal College • David Raizman
13. Drexel, Urban Renewal, and Civil Rights • James Wolfinger
14. The End of Urban Renewal: Area V and Drexel’s Expansion into Powelton Village • Jeannine Keefer
15. Drexel’s Vietnam War • Jonson Miller
16. The University and the Urban Metabolism: Environmental Engineering at Drexel • Charles Haas
17. The Humanities at Drexel • Paula Marantz Cohen
18. The Pennoni Honors College: Pragmatism in the Pursuit of Academic Excellence • Kevin D. Egan
19. Drexel Gains a Medical School • Steven J. Peitzman
20. Nursing and Health Professions: Two Schools Become One at Drexel • Gloria Donnelly, Stephen F. Gambescia, and Laura Valenti 21. Drexel’s Newest Schools: Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Education; Public Health; Law; Entrepreneurship; and Hospitality and Sports Management • Donna Marie De Carolis, Marla Gold, and Larry Keiser
22. A Decade of Legal Education at Drexel • Roger Dennis
23. Drexel’s Global Reach • Julie Mostov
24. From the Physical to the Virtual with Drexel University Online • Kathy Harvatt
25. The Promise of a New Century: Drexel and the City Since the 1970s • Scott Gabriel Knowles, Jason Ludwig, and Nathaniel Stanton


About the Author(s)

Richardson Dilworth is Professor of Politics and Director of the Center for Public Policy at Drexel University. He is the author of The Urban Origins of Suburban Autonomy, and the editor or coeditor of five books, including Social Capital in the City: Community and Civic Life in Philadelphia (Temple) and, most recently with Christine Palus, the CQ Press Guide to Urban Politics and Policy in the United States.

Scott Gabriel Knowles is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Drexel University. He is the author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America, and editor of Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City.