Drexel University was founded in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry by Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel to provide educational opportunities in the "practical arts and sciences" for women and men of all backgrounds.
Drexel offers a variety of educational and employment opportunities to students through study and internship programs in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and the co-operative education ("co-op") program. The only mandatory co-op in Pennsylvania and one of three in the United States, Drexel's program is among the nation's oldest, largest and most respected.
The Steinbright Career Development Center (SCDC) is one of the most highly ranked co-op and career service organizations at any university in the country and works to ensure that students and alumni get the most from their experiential and career placement activities.
In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel envisioned an institution of higher learning uniquely suited to the needs of a rapidly growing industrial society and of the young men and women seeking their place in it. In 1891, he realized his vision with the establishment of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.
In founding the Institute, Anthony J. Drexel launched a tradition of innovation, which today is carried on by Drexel University. Although distinguished by decades of growth and change from Mr. Drexel's Institute of Art, Science and Industry, the University remains faithful to his vision. Its greatly expanded enrollment, campus and curriculum reflect a history of responsiveness to societal and individual needs, which Mr.Drexel sought to address in his day.
Originally a non-degree-granting institution, Drexel began conferring the bachelor of science degree in 1914, when its 18 departments were organized into four schools. In 1927, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Drexel the privilege to confer the master of science degree, and in 1965, the doctor of philosophy degree.
Along with its degree offerings, the institution's curriculum and organization of academic programs have developed, evolving to include nine colleges and three schools. In accord with this evolution, Drexel has undergone two changes in name, in 1936 becoming Drexel Institute of Technology and in 1970, Drexel University. The current title reflects the institution's commitment to research, as well as the breadth of its graduate programs.
Despite the many changes during its first century, Drexel's identity has held constant. Since its founding, the institution has remained a privately controlled, non-sectarian, coeducational center of higher learning, distinguished by a commitment to preparing men and women for success in their chosen careers.
The cornerstone of the career preparation Drexel provides has been the University's co-operative education program. Introduced at Drexel in 1919, the program has become integral to the University's educational experience. Through it, students alternate periods of study with periods of full-time professional employment related to their academic and career interests.
Drexel's was among the first co-operative education programs in the nation, and today it is one of the largest and most diverse. Through co-op, Drexel students are currently employed by more than 1,500 businesses and organizations in 27 states and 12 countries.
In addition to its career focus, another constant element in Drexel's identity has been its commitment to providing technological expertise for society's needs. This commitment kept the institution operating around the clock during World War II to serve more than 3,000 visiting participants in the Engineering Defense Training Program. Following the war, rapid expansion of knowledge and the nation's drive for technological preeminence continued to be a source of growth for the University.
In 1983, Drexel became the nation's first university to require all undergraduates to have personal access to a microcomputer for use in all of their coursework. In the years since, the microcomputer has become an integral part of instruction throughout the University's curriculum.