This essay is the fourth and final in a series about Drexel's presidents, marking the inauguration of John A. Fry.
By Bill Paterson
Dr. Kenneth G. Matheson became the third present of the Drexel Institute in 1921. Thirty years old, Drexel faced problems ranging from lowered enrollment and a related drop in income; a lack of cohesion amongst the faculty and alumni communities; and the great need for updated equipment and facilities. Dr. Matheson took these challenges seriously, establishing and beginning to execute a plan of improvement even before officially taking office. To cure these ills Dr. Matheson reorganized Drexel’s faculty and administrative structure, gave faculty an active voice in administration and reached out to students and alumni. An ardent supporter of the young cooperative education program, Dr. Matheson greatly expanded Drexel’s network of employers in the program to more than eight hundred. It was under Dr. Matheson’s hand that the engineering program was accredited, and became a five year program. Pushing himself until the end, in 1931 Dr. Matheson died of a heart attack, having postponed the health leave the Board of Trustees had voted for him, and leaving a greatly improved, far more solvent Drexel with a significantly expanded campus.
This essay is the third in a series about Drexel's presidents, marking the inauguration of John A. Fry.
Parke R. Kolbe and the Fascination of Unattainable Goals
By Martha Cornog
“Anyone with knowledge of another language….,” suggested Parke Kolbe, “may share the joy of creative genius vicariously by indulging in translation. He may not produce a literary masterpiece even at second-hand, but he will at least know and appreciate more adequately the work of the truly great.”
Drexel’s fourth President thought it was fun to translate foreign literature in his spare time. Originally a Professor of Modern Languages and trained as a linguist, Kolbe further broadened the collective background of the Drexel presidency. First president James MacAlister had been distinguished in Education, his successor Hollis Godfrey in Engineering, and Godfrey’s successor Kenneth Matheson in English.
This essay is the second in a series about Drexel presidents
Hollis Godfrey and Drexel's Design
By Martha Cornog
Although he authored a science fiction novel titled The Man Who Ended War, Hollis Godfrey did not inspire peace after taking over as the second president of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. While the expertise of predecessor James McAlister came through experience with administering secondary school systems, Godfrey’s background was all very much higher education: two doctoral degrees in science and engineering, two in law, and a position on the faculty of MIT. MacAlister’s legacy, a collective of self-run departments granting no degrees, struck Godfrey as likely to hold Drexel back from its full potential. The Drexel name should become positioned as a respected source of technical education as the new century unfolded, and as an institution to be reckoned with.1
Accordingly, Godfrey set immediately to reorganize the departments and faculty, and to push for degree-granting status. Of the original eighteen departments, he trimmed them down to eight departments within three schools: the School of Engineering, the School of Domestic Science and Arts, and the Secretarial School. This last later became the School of Business Administration. However, the Library School and the Architectural Department ended up on the cutting room floor. Simultaneously, Godfrey began pushing the faculty towards getting additional training, funding their coursework at nearby universities and bringing in guest speakers.
Constantine Papadakis (1946-2009) served as president of Drexel University from Aug.
Join us tomorrow, September 23rd, for a reception for the exhibition "The Past Personified: a Presidential History of Drexel", curated by Shaun Kirtpartrick. This exhibit highlights some of the many images and items the Drexel Archives holds from the terms of the university's past leaders.
The reception will be held in W.W. Hagerty Library (33rd and Market Streets) on the lower level of Hagerty Library. It is open to all and includes complimentary homemade refreshments.
Richard David Breslin (b. 1937/38) served as president of Drexel University from Sept.
The reception for the exhibition, “The Past Personified: a Presidential History of Drexel,” currently on display in the W.W. Hagerty Library (33rd and Market Streets).
The reception will be on Wednesday, September 23, 2009, from 4 to 6 p.m. on the lower level of Hagerty Library. It is open to all and includes complimentary homemade refreshments.
William S. Gaither (b. 1932) served as the president of Drexel University from May 1984 through his resignation on Oct.
William Walsh Hagerty (1916-1986) served as president of Drexel from September 1, 1963, to his retirement in 1984 -- at nearly 21 years, Drexel's longest presidency. Like his predecessor James Creese, Hagerty also oversaw a long period of expansion for Drexel; most notably, the school’s transformation from an institute of technology into Drexel University in 1970.