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$25 Million Gift Allocated to Westphal College; Venturi Building to Become Design Center
Drexel has received a $25 million gift, the largest individual private gift in its history, from a non-alumnus University trustee who prefers to remain anonymous. The gift has been designated to fund a design center for the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. The donor also challenged the University to raise an additional $30 million for the project.
“Drexel is proud and grateful to receive this incredible leadership gift,” said President Papadakis, who committed Drexel to raising the matching funds. “By making the largest single gift in our history, the donor has made a stand that philanthropic support of innovative, high-quality higher education becomes more important, rather than less, in uncertain economic times.”
The gift will be used in the renovation of two properties totaling 143,000 square feet and will extend the footprint of the 57-acre University City campus westward across 35th Street by 3.15 acres. The site is contiguous to Drexel’s Frederick O. Hess Laboratories and is the largest land acquisition in Philadelphia by Drexel since the addition of the 2.3-acre former Consolidated Laundry site in 1997. The new site provides 300 additional parking spaces.
This donation advances the $500 million campus master plan, which has four buildings under construction. The properties acquired include a 13,000-square-foot building at 3401 Filbert Street as well as a 130,000-square-foot building at 3501 Market Street. The latter was designed by renowned architect Robert Venturi, in 1977.
Born in Philadelphia, Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize in Architecture in 1991 and is known for coining the phrase “less is a bore.” His 3501 Market Street building will retain its colorful brick exterior. Venturi will join a list of prominent architects represented on Drexel’s campus that includes Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, Michael Graves and Frank Furness.
“This marvelous new facility will help us attract even more outstanding students and faculty, particularly in the design disciplines, which now work more closely than ever in addressing issues of sustainability and the incorporation of new technologies,” said Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College.