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While you were away…

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The last two terms have brought an extraordinary series of changes at Drexel University. With new buildings, new discoveries, and Drexel grads flying higher and riding longer, the last few months have kept all of us busy running to cover the many stories at our university. Below are the stories that really piqued our interest over the time you may have missed.

Original reporting by: David Stephenson, Alissa Falcone, Aaron Strauss, and Stan Wright

Public Saftey

Senior student killed off campus

Drexel student Evan Morris was found by Philadelphia Police officers early July 29 in a private residence in the 3400 block of Race Street near campus.

Initial reports suggest that an altercation between Morris and a student from another university resulted in the death.

News reports said that police arrived at the scene in response to a 4:55 a.m. call about a break-in to fi nd Morris wounded by stabbing. Police told the Philadelphia Daily News that Morris was the intruder and that the call they received was for a man banging on the door while trying to get into a second fl oor apartment at 3414 Race Street.

Morris was attending Drexel in the fall as a senior in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies.

Luckily the Drexel Police Department was well qualified to deal with the situation as the department held an open forum in early June to gained accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. as part of a two-year process of assessments and rewrites of police policy.

Buildings

Chestnut Street housing plans approved

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission approved Drexel University plans for three residence halls and retail space along the 3200 block of Chestnut Street the week of July 18.

According to plans submitted to the planning commission and the Drexel Campus Master Plan, the construction of the residence halls and retail space will take place in the small strip of land between the locations of the Creese Student Center/MacAlister Hall and Chestnut Street. Creese and MacAlister are set back 53 feet from the street, and this space, which is currently occupied by landscaping, bicycle racks and outdoor seating for the Creese Cafe, will be fi lled as the planned buildings will extend to the Chestnut Street sidewalk.

The Commission approved an amendment to the University’s Institutional Development District Plan during its meeting in a move that will add a planned 863 beds for students to the University City campus. Two 8-story buildings are planned in the spaces in front of MacAlister and Creese, with entrances fronting on Chestnut Street. A third 19-story tower will be built along 32nd Street.

Matheson Hall meets its end

The effects of Matheson’s demolition on the term master schedule were partially mitigated by the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, which is on track to open before the beginning of the fall term.

The future LeBow College of Business building, set to replace the outdated Matheson Hall, is one of the University’s many green initiatives. The 177,500 square foot building will be “the largest building project Drexel has undertaken,” according to Robert Francis, vice president of University Facilities, and will feature a green roof among many other sustainability-focused aspects.

Achievements

Drexel grad bikes across country

Doug Markgraf, a 2010 Drexel graduate, biked more than 3,400 miles across the country this summer to promote traumatic brain injury recovery and awareness after recovering from a TBI he sustained while riding his bike.

It took Markgraf 56 days and over 3,200 miles to bike through 11 states from San Francisco, Calif., to Fall Rivers, N.J., starting June 27 and fi nishing Aug. 22. Along the way he spoke to hundreds of people, both the town residents as well as patients and professionals in the hospitals, about his own personal story and the need to raise awareness about TBI, the drastic injury that can’t be seen.

He now teaches the subject to students at Universal Institute Charter School in South Philadelphia, where he also started the school’s fi rst cycling club for students to join.

He chose this summer to complete his goal because, as he explained, “This summer is the only summer I’ve really ever had off, aside from having been in a coma and then recovery.”

Markgraf rode every day with 75 pounds of weight on his bike from various baggage, including a sleeping bag and a tent. He also carried six bike helmets attached to the back of his bicycle to show that if he can ride his bike over 3,000 miles with extra helmets, people can ride their bikes with just one.

Drexel Law gains full accreditation

The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University is now fully accredited by the American Bar Association, President John A. Fry announced Aug. 5 in an email to the University community.

The announcement came after the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the school’s application for accreditation at its annual meeting in Toronto, according to a University press release. It marks the end of an accreditation process that started with the school’s founding in 2005 and opening in 2006.

Space

Hundreds of students from around the University turned out to watch the fi nal launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis July 8.

The flight, which took off at 11:29 a.m., was a bittersweet one as it would be the last fl ight of the U.S. space shuttle program. Mission STS-135 also held a special place in the hearts of the Drexel community as the commander of the flight was stronaut Christopher Ferguson, a graduate of Drexel’s College of Engineering, class of ‘84.

The college treated the assembled crowd to pizza and snacks as the live feed from the Kennedy Space Center was projected in the lobby of the Bossone Research Enterprise Center. Several local radio, television and newspaper reporters also attended to interview the students about the historic flight.

Commander Ferguson continued his involvement at Drexel after graduating in 1984, returning to Philadelphia many times to speak with students and stay involved with his alma mater. During his planning for this fl ight, his third trip to space, Ferguson visited the University in March to meet with students who had been selected to design a special patch for the fi nal mission. Students Jen Choy and Jeremy Bloom had their individual designs, “Spaceswan” and “Waves,” respectively, picked as the winning patches, and the astronauts took the fi nished patches aboard STS- 135. Oversized mock-ups of the patches were on display at during the launch party, and stickers bearing the patches were passed out to the crowd.