Expanding Our Scope: Drexel University President’s Report 2013

Layla El Tannir, for GPA -- All of the local universities have a key impact on the productivity of Philadelphia but in 2013, Drexel University impacted the city in particularly wondrous ways. John A. Fry, President of Drexel University shared his annual report from last year with the Global Philadelphia Association, noting, “Our biggest transformations flow from the constants of our institutional character.”

Drexel University boasts a population of 26,132 students. There has been a 21.3 percent increase in enrollment since 2008. Of first year students in 2013, 18 percent are international students from six continents, a 4 percent higher population than in 2012. Currently, there are 3,530 international students at Drexel University, representing 115 nations. Drexel Dragons are in all fifty states of America, with the highest concentration in the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey). Additionally, there are 145,000 total alumni known worldwide that live in 133 nations.

The Drexel co-op program makes up a great part of the university’s unique character. At Drexel, classroom learning builds on a foundation of on-campus enrichment and real-world professional experiences. Attention to those areas is what sets a Drexel education apart. In the academic year 2012-2013, students were placed in 5,261 co-op programs. 1,650 employers offered 5,100 students positions in the United States and 161 students were positioned in co-ops worldwide, across 49 countries.

Global Partnerships have been an integral part of Drexel’s success as well. International university partnerships extend as far as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Israel, China, Australia, Zambia, Uganda, The Gambia, Brazil and Chile. Julie Mostov, vice provost for global initiatives believes that, “Sometimes you’re pushed by people who come with a different perspective from a different place. It forces everybody to break down the disciplinary boundaries.” China is one of world’s most prominent leaders and Drexel is at the forefront of educational work there, celebrating one year of partnership with the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute (SARI). 100 researchers from Asia, Europe and the United States will be at the first Drexel-SARI International Symposium in Shanghai.

Civic engagement is another platform that Drexel University takes very seriously. 100 percent of freshmen participate in the core civic engagement component of Drexel’s curriculum. The work of the students, staff, faculty and alumni has a huge local impact. More than 75 grassroots service projects were started or are currently managed by Drexel students and employees. The economic impact of these projects is clear, as Drexel University is responsible for 74 Philadelphia startups. The economic power of Drexel University is estimated at $2.2 billion.

“Even as we celebrate our achievements, a relentless drive for excellence and relevance is also part of Drexel’s DNA,” said Fry.

Photo courtesy of Drexel University.