The Opportunity is Here
Over a century ago, A.J. Drexel envisioned a university where creativity would thrive – one in which the advancements of entrepreneurship and technology converge to empower society.
His vision lives on. And for nearly a quarter of a century, the Antoinette Westphal of Media Arts & Design has embraced innovation and excellence and delivered practical instruction to generations of designers and media artists whose work is positively impacting our world.
Now it’s time to extend our reach by harnessing Westphal’s creative talents to leverage the synergies and connections with Drexel’s other schools and colleges.
A Foundation of Excellence
With 18 leading graduate and undergraduate programs, 12 minors, and more than 2,000 students, Westphal is one of Drexel’s most selective and fastest growing colleges. Over the past five years, freshman enrollment has increased 50 percent and graduate enrollment has doubled as the College has expanded the depth of its faculty and its programs.
Growth has brought recognition of Westphal’s creative excellence. Students win national awards at an impressive rate and faculty members are invited to present at national and international exhibitions and conferences. With such major attention for our programs and people, Westphal College is poised to achieve prominence among the nation’s elite media arts and design schools.
Not Just Evolution, But Revolution
Westphal College has evolved over time, expanding programs to reflect new media, new technologies, and new opportunities. Today, the applied arts that we teach are a major force in everything from the entertainment industry to the global economy. And with the pace of technological change ever accelerating—opening diverse paths for students—we are preparing Westphal College for an extraordinary era of creative excellence.
But to achieve our full potential, we must transcend the challenges that accompany growth and change. Today, learning at Westphal College takes place in dated classrooms and studio spaces spread over nine different campus buildings make collaboration difficult. The College lags behind peer institutions in space per student. Facilities are of uneven quality. And enrollment growth has stretched limited resources.
To expand access to rapidly changing technologies and foster creative collaboration––to meet the expectations of our gifted students and faculty––Westphal College urgently needs a more up-to-date facility that builds upon our foundation of excellence and revolutionizes design, media and the arts.
The URBN Center: A Vision for the 21st Century
Recognizing the vital role that arts and media education plays in Drexel’s founding vision, the University’s Board of Trustees approved the development of a new academic building site for Westphal College. Our goal, through this $70 million initiative, is to build a dynamic home for creativity on campus—one that capitalizes on the synergies and resources of Westphal’s media and design programs while harnessing the robust intellectual capabilities of Drexel’s other colleges and schools.
Originally designed by renowned Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi, the new URBN Center is creative by design. The historic, landmark structure will provide tomorrow’s creative leaders with a home that honors Drexel’s past and looks ahead to our future.
More than just a building, the new URBN Center will consolidate diverse Westphal programs now scattered across campus in a location designed to address the special needs of 21st century arts and media education. With expanded modern classrooms, laboratory, and studio spaces that encourage collaboration and inspire the use of new technologies, Westphal will be able to offer students the environment needed to succeed.
Specifically, the new URBN Center will:
- Consolidate Westphal’s diverse academic programs into one building, creating a hub for media and design on campus.
- Provide students and faculty with hi-tech space and technology to advance their crafts and pioneer new media and design.
- Keep pace with and contribute to the rapid growth and expansion of the creative arts industries.
- Attract increasingly talented students and faculty, particularly in music industry, architecture, digital media, fashion design, graphic design and product design.
- Raise Westphal College’s rank among the nation’s top-tier colleges of media arts and design.
- Showcase creative work for the public, and create a visually appealing focal point for arts and entertainment programming at Drexel University.
- Benefit the entire Drexel campus, strategically and efficiently, by allowing the University to utilize space available once construction is complete