The Honorable Earle I. Mack: Lifting Spirits and Inspiring Minds
In 2008, Ambassador Earle I. Mack ’59, HD ’06, pledged a transformative $15 million gift to the endowment of the School of Law. His generosity helps to continue to attract highly qualified students and faculty and to enhance the newly named Earle Mack School of Law’s innovative brand of legal education.
It also guarantees continued academic excellence.
Distinguished as a successful businessman, diplomat, and arts advocate, Earle I. Mack was also a senior partner of the Mack Company, a prominent real-estate development, investment, and management firm. After serving as chairman of the New York State Racing Commission and the New York State Council on the Arts, he was appointed United States Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Finland. From 1980 to 2004, he held a seat on the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law board, chairing the panel for 12 years.
Mack earned his bachelor’s degree from Drexel University. Ambassador Mack also holds an honorary degree in Doctor of Humane Letters from Yeshiva University. For his many accomplishments, he has been selected from among 65,000 candidates to be named one of the outstanding alumni among the Drexel 100.
Ambassador Mack, who earned letters on Drexel’s swim and baseball teams and worked as an editor and columnist at The Triangle, said a fondness for his alma mater came to full flower as he realized how his education affected his life. “I didn’t at first realize how much my alma mater had meant to me. Now I do,” he said. “My Drexel education reinforced for me that public service and philanthropy do make a difference. These were the lessons that gave shape to my career and meaning to my life. This was the moral compass from which I navigated through my life.”
He continues to be one of Drexel’s most generous and ardent supporters. Recently, Ambassador Mack made a significant contribution to the Drexel University Outdoor Art Fund, so that
Drexel could purchase the distinctive sculpture “Le Coureur” (“The Runner”), by Richier, to be displayed in front of the Earle Mack School of Law. In his own words, fine art has the power to
“lift the spirit, enhance culture, and inspire all who pass.”
Toni McMenamin’s Legacy Lives On
Antonia “Toni” McMenamin grew up in the Lawndale section of Philadelphia and graduated from St. Basil Academy in Jenkintown. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College.
She and her husband met on a blind date and
married in 1960. She helped him and her brother, Robert Wetzel, operate the two Wetzel & Son Funeral Homes in Philadelphia until 1985, when she became an advisor in the academic-achievement program at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, now Philadelphia University.
Toni joined Drexel’s administrative staff in 1987. She worked with Drexel libraries when she first came to the University. In
1991, McMenamin became an advisor to students in Drexel’s new Honors Program. In 2003, Drexel established the Pennoni Honors
College, and she was named Assistant Dean two years later. She also advised Drexel’s Cambodian and Vietnamese Unions and
Mark Greenberg, Provost of Drexel University, explains Toni’s work ethic and how she strove to always put students first. “She
would spend a lot of time talking with students about life choices, about a philosophy of living, about how to handle their work, if
they were upset about a personal issue.”
David Raizman, a Professor in the Department of Art and Art History, echoed Greenberg’s sentiments. “Students First was Toni’s
golden rule, and that was long before Drexel had an initiative here that was called ‘Students First.’ I mean, they could have named it for her — that’s how much of a motto it was for everything she did.”
Toni passed away in May of this year after a long battle with cancer. She will be remembered as one of the most dedicated and
influential administrators and mentors in Drexel’s history. In order to preserve her memory, her family has established the Toni
McMenamin Award for Putting Students First. This award will be directed annually to an individual employee of the Pennoni Honors
College who best exemplifies the principles Toni embodied during her illustrious career.
The Boundless Generosity of Richard Greenawalt ’66
Over the years, Richard Greenawalt’s generosity to Drexel
University has been extraordinary. In just this last year, he pledged
$100,000 to support the Harold W. Pote Behind Every Graduate
Award Fund, pledged another $100,000 for unrestricted use, gave
$10,000 to athletics, and has promised $1,000,000 for scholarships.
He has also given generously of his time, serving now as Chairman
of the Board of Trustees and previously as Vice Chair for Drexel
University’s and the College of Medicine’s Boards of Trustees.
A member of the Franklin Institute’s Board and that of the Free
Library of Philadelphia, Greenawalt also belongs to the esteemed
Drexel 100 and was responsible for bringing the Greenawalt
Student Development Activity Center to life. In addition, he is a
recipient of the Anthony J. Drexel Paul Award, Drexel’s highest
With typical modesty, Greenawalt downplays his generosity
and involvement, and defers to his educational experience as an
explanation for his many achievements. He states that Drexel’s
co-op program was the key to his success. While Greenawalt was
trying to decide if he wanted to pursue a Ph.D., he spent a coop
as a research assistant. “I had a good time; there was a lot of
camaraderie. But the experience also gave me an indication that it
wasn’t how I wanted to spend my whole life. It helped me decide I
really wanted to go into business.”
After this experience, Greenawalt earned an MBA in 1968
from Carnegie Mellon University and, soon afterwards, began
working for Texas Instruments. And then he got a call about a
new opportunity at Citibank, which was seeking people with both
technical and business backgrounds. Greenawalt was somewhat
apprehensive about moving to Manhattan, but he quickly realized
getting in at the early stage of a major push from Citibank’s
consumer business was an opportunity he could not pass up.
Greenawalt spent 16 years with the banking giant, including a
position as President of Citicorp Retail Services. He then moved to
Los Angeles as president of Transamerica Financial Corporation
before returning to Philadelphia as President and C.O.O. of the
multi-billion-dollar Advanta Corp. After 33 years in the corporate
world, in 2000, Greenawalt formed the private investment
partnership RMK Associates.
Today, Greenawalt’s personal dedication continues to make a
difference at Drexel University; his boundless generosity will also
have an impact for generations to follow.
Dr. Marion Kramer: Funds for the Future of Obstetrics
“Education enabled me to do what I enjoy more than anything
else,” says Dr. Marion Kramer ’67. “I would like other people to be
able to pursue their dreams.”
To give back and empower others, Dr. Kramer recently notified
the Drexel University College of Medicine of a very generous estate
provision of more than $2,000,000 to support an endowed position
in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Drexel
University College of Medicine. This gift is especially meaningful
as a show of support from one of Drexel’s most distinguished
graduates. In addition to conveying prestige to the department and
the college, this gift sets a high bar of excellence for others to follow.
Dr. Kramer studied at the Woman’s Medical College of
Pennsylvania (now the Drexel University College of Medicine).
Dr. Kramer’s reflection on her experience and its impact on her life
and career compelled her to ensure that others have the same (and
better) opportunities she had as a student. “I never had any real
problems with women in science, though that’s probably partly
because I was somewhat naïve. But I know that women in science
face a few more obstacles, and I wanted to do something to help
women accomplish what they want to do.”
In 1985, Dr. Kramer set up the Kramer Family Fund, an
endowment for student tuition. The fund supports female medical
students demonstrating academic merit and financial need to be applied toward unexpected expenses in continuation of their
Dr. Kramer is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist.
She incorporated in the late 1980s and became a partner in a
private obstetrics, gynecology, and fertility practice with Dr.
Renee Van de Carr at the Calaroga Surgical Center in Hayward,
California. Dr. Kramer completed her residencies through Stanford
at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and The Medical Center at
About her many successes in
medicine, she remains modest, attributing
her achievements to her parents’ attitude.
“They brought me up so I never knew
there were boy jobs and girl jobs,” Kramer
explains. “It wasn’t their idea that I go to
medical school, but they never discouraged
it. They never once said, ‘Oh, don’t you
mean you want to be a nurse?’”
Dr. Marion Kramer recently made a generous commitment to support the Department
of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Drexel University College of Medicine.
Vince Vidas’ Gift to Drexel’s Athletic Department
In the spring quarter, Vince Vidas (B.S.E.E. '59 M.S.E.E. '64) took his place among the undergraduate students in a class at LeBow. He
wasn’t there to earn a grade or receive credit; he attended simply
because he wanted to know more about financial management.
He learned to play piano in the same way.
After he retired from
SEMCOR, Inc., where he was the President and CEO for 32 years,
he approached the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia to see
if they would give him piano lessons. They said yes. Those lessons
continued, and Vidas now practices piano every day.
As an engineering student while at Drexel, Vidas also had an
interest in athletics. He played freshman basketball, spent a season
on the lacrosse team, and played football in the fall (and was twice
named Little All-American). He also had several co-op experiences
— moving pianos, for one, but also valuable jobs in engineering
that helped prepare him for his leadership role at SEMCOR. And,
it was during his first year at Drexel that Mr. Vidas met his future
wife, Judy (B.S. ’56).
Many years later, Vidas decided he wanted to ensure that
current Drexel students had access to the same opportunities he
did, as well as additional opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. “I was somewhat successful in the business world and
felt there were things I could do for Drexel that would help the students.”
Vidas and Athletic Director Eric Zillmer worked together
to come up with a plan that would put his philanthropy to good
use. Today, Mr. Vidas’ gifts to the Athletics Department have significantly
impacted all aspects of the program—from the athletic
field to the basketball and lacrosse teams, to the athletic club. The
Vidas Athletic Complex is named in honor of his extraordinary
generosity. His most recent commitment of $1 million is one of
the largest single gifts ever received by the Athletics Department.
When asked about the differences between the Drexel of 50
years ago and the Drexel he sees today, Vidas does not hesitate.
“The transformation is astounding. In the 13 years that President
Papadakis has been at Drexel, we’ve seen a revolution of change.”
When asked what advice he has for today’s Drexel students,
Vidas answers quickly. “I hope students realize this is just the
beginning of their education,” he says. “And I also hope they find
an education outside of the classroom. It doesn’t necessarily have
to be in sports, but I think they must have something more to
participate in so they can have the total experience while at Drexel
— social as well as educational.” He pauses. “And I believe sincerely
that if I have anything that I can give to make sure that happens,
well, then, that’s what I want to do.”