Constantine Papadakis, an innovator in higher education with extensive experience in both academe and the corporate world, was president of Drexel University from 1995 to 2009. Dr. Papadakis used the historic strengths of the University (cooperative education, Drexel's focus on technology and the rich resources of its Philadelphia location) to grow full-time undergraduate enrollment from 4,500 in 1996 to more than 11,000 in 2009, freshman applications from 3,500 to 22,000, grew the endowment from $90 million to $650 million and research funding from $14 million to $105 million.
In 1998, Drexel assumed operation of the bankrupt Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, which was temporarily renamed MCP Hahnemann University, and partnered with Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which acquired the University's seven hospitals. Today, the School of Public Health (one of only two in Pennsylvania ), the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the College of Medicine (the largest private medical school in the country) are academic units of Drexel University.
Building on Drexel's strengths, in 2006 Dr. Papadakis spearheaded the creation of a unique law school at Drexel University focused on intellectual property, health care, and entrepreneurship law and cooperative education.
Dr. Papadakis joined Bechtel Power Company in 1974, where he served in several engineering positions. He managed a group of engineering specialists who did pioneering work in flood-control systems, hydroelectric power and cooling systems for nuclear reactors. He was recruited by STS Consultants, one of the top 150 engineering design firms in the nation, as vice president in charge of the Water Resources Division of the company, which had 17 offices. His accomplishments there included privatization of small hydroelectric power plants in the early 1980s. Tetra Tech, a Honeywell subsidiary in Pasadena , attracted him next. As vice president of the company he led FEMA and Superfund environmental projects.
Dr. Papadakis was lured back to academia when he realized that strong management could revolutionize an institution. In 1984 he agreed to head up Colorado State University's civil engineering department, then the second largest in the nation and known for water resources research and an entrepreneurial faculty. Two years later, he became the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering. There, he built top-quality graduate programs, more than quadrupled research contracts and grants and established relationships with leaders of local industry. During his tenure he increased the size of the faculty from 94 to 170 and commissioned architect Michael Graves to design a research center, completed in 1995.
Dr. Papadakis received his diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. He holds a master's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Constantine, or Taki, as his friends call him, is a Professional Engineer registered in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Greece. A member of numerous professional and honorary societies, he is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He is author or co-author of 80 articles and technical publications.
Dr. Papadakis served as a member of the Business Higher Education Forum and the Council on Competitiveness. He also served on the board of directors of the National Commission for Cooperative Education and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia. He is was a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, the Eisenhower Fellowships Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Hellenic College/Holy Cross Board of Trustees, and the Judicial Council of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He served on the Board of Directors of Amkor Technology, Inc., Aqua America, Inc., CDI, Inc., Mace Security International, as well as Met-Pro Corporation.
In 2008 was honored with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce William Penn Award and the Union League Business Leadership Award. In 2007 Dr. Papadakis received the St. Demetrios of Astoria School 2007 Odyssey Award, the West Philadelphia YMCA Signature Service Award, the Global Citizen Award from the Global Interdependence Center, the Higher Education Award of the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture, the March of Dimes Service to Humanity Award, the Opera Company of Philadelphia Viva La Diva Award, the Ramsey Educational Development Institute 2007 Distinguished Award, and the Wilma Theater Galileo Award. The Gold Medal Award of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and the Interdependence Day Philadelphia Award were given to Dr. Papadakis in 2006. Dr. Papadakis received the Penn Club Annual Award, the Roman Catholic High School Philadelphia Leadership Award, Chevalier de la Commanderie des Costes du Rhone, the YMCA of Philadelphia Ambassador Award and the Justinian Society Award in 2005. In 2004, Dr. Papadakis was Knighted Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by President Berlusconi and received the Dennis Clark Immigrant Achievement Award. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Hellene Award of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, Our Champion of Change Award by the National Board for Women in Medicine, the Voice Education Research Award of the Voice Foundation, the Education Award of the Consular Corps of Philadelphia, the American Creativity Association 2003 Achievement Award and the U.S. Department of Treasury Medal of Merit. In 2002, he received the Community Leadership Award of the Alliance of Italian American Associations and the Silver Beaver Award of the Boy Scouts of America for distinguished service to youth. In 2001, he received the Service Learning Award of Junior Achievement Inc., the Golden Medal of St. Isidore of the Island of Chios, the Congressional Medal of Ellis Island for his success as an immigrant, the Medal of the City of Athens and the key to the City of Pireas for his achievements as a Greek American, the Heart of Philadelphia Award from the American Heart Association, and was inducted in the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle as Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. He has been also honored with the Yitzhak Rabin Public Service Award of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Community Leader Award of the Arthritis Foundation, the George Washington Medal of the Engineers Club of Philadelphia, the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award of the American Hellenic Institute, the Golden Apple Award of the Boy Scouts of America, the Aristotle Award of AHEPA, and the National Medal of Honor of the Hellenic American National Council.