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The Drexel Story

For an institution that's been around for more than a century, Drexel has never been one to get bound by tradition. We have always aligned our degrees and approach to meet the needs of a changing world.

Free Thinking and Revolutionary Since 1891

To appreciate Drexel University's commitment in 2009 to delivering a new, accessible and revolutionary model of graduate education in Sacramento, it's worth knowing a little about the school's beginning more than a century earlier.

Anthony J. Drexel: Visionary

A. J. Drexel

Anthony J. Drexel: founder of Drexel University

Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel founded Drexel University in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. At its core was a then revolutionary proposition: to provide educational opportunities in the "practical arts and sciences" for hard-working, independent minded women and men of all backgrounds.

At the time, college graduates accounted for less than 1 percent of the nation's population (compared to 25 percent today). And even the very notion of "college" was concerned primarily with preparing young men from the upper classes for careers in the ministry, law, medicine or business. Even the public land-grant colleges of the 19th century sought mainly to fill the nation's need for better teachers and farmers.

But Anthony Drexel had a different purpose in mind: He hoped to empower young urban men and women to improve their station in life. His Drexel Institute, located within easy access to city rail and streetcar lines, placed no restrictions on religion, race, gender or social class. It offered such unprecedented features as low tuition, night classes and free public lectures and concerts.

Drexel Today: True to its Legacy

Anthony Drexel's revolutionary vision of a college that would serve the needs of everyday students in world-class fashion guides the launch of Drexel University Sacramento.

Then, as now, Drexel's degree programs serve the practical needs of everyday students with real lives. Our approach to higher education and our graduate programs remains closely aligned to the needs of a changing workplace and world.

Drexel's founding mission — to bridge knowledge and practice — lives on in the cohort design, and required internships, teacher practicum, mentorships and other exposure to real-world experience and challenges.

For more information, please visit the History of Drexel University.