Drexel gets $25 million donation, biggest ever

3501 Market St. purchased by Drexel for design center.

Inquirer staff writer Susan Snyder reports:

Drexel University has announced its largest individual gift ever - $25 million from a non-alumnus university trustee - which will be used for a design center at the university's Antoinette Westphal College of Arts & Design.

The donor, who wants to remain anonymous, also challenged the university to raise another $30 million for the project.

Drexel President Constantine Papadakis said that will happen.

“Drexel is proud and grateful to receive this incredible leadership gift,” Papadakis said in a prepared statement. “...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 donation allowed Drexel to acquire two properties - a 130,000-square foot building at 3501 Market St. and a 13,000-square foot building at 3401 Filbert St. - and will help fund renovations to the buildings, officials said. The project will extend Drexel's main campus westward, across 35th street, and augments Drexel's $500 million campus construction plan, under which four buildings are either already under construction or about to be built.

The new design center will house programs, including fashion design, interior design, architecture, design and merchandising and product design, now scattered across campus. Interdisciplinary programs in digital media and entertainment and arts management also will have a home there, as well as the school's historic costume collection.

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