The value of being a Drexel alum | The Triangle

The value of being a Drexel alum

There’s a single factor that unites all Drexel alumni – they’ve successfully survived Drexel. This means plowing through four to five years of the quarter system; ignoring (or accepting, lying back, and thinking of Penn’s Woods) the Drexel Shaft, which wears away at your tired body day in and day out; applying to and interviewing for co-ops; and learning to manage your time well because you never have enough of it (or, as the emergency response community knows it, learning to “triage.”) We Dragons slay these challenges, or at least attempt to, because we know that on the other side of that diploma there’ll be nothing life can throw at us that we can’t handle. In a way, surviving Drexel is a mark not only of employability, but capability.

While Drexel doesn’t get as much name recognition on the national stage as other schools do for alumni, we actually do have a pretty impressive list. Paul Baran, one of the founding fathers of the Internet, graduated from Drexel in 1949. He helped pioneer the development of the computer networks we use today. Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver patented the barcode in 1952 as graduate students to allow the instant electronic recall of product information, and turned the world’s commercial market on its head. John Gruber, who held the famed opinion column “Prisoner of Gravity” in this very student newspaper during the ’90s, went on to invent the computer language Markdown. Marc Vetri, an entrepreneur and one of Philadelphia’s most successful chefs graduated from our business college in 1990. Al Boscov, who opened the eponymous American department store “Boscov’s” graduated from our fine institution in 1952 (fun fact, he wrote a few sports articles for us). Our STEM school has even produced three astronauts (Christopher Ferguson, Paul Richards, and James Bagian).

And that’s to say nothing of our famous former columnist, and later CIA agent, singer, songwriter, author of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and host of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris.

Although we could carry on a good while longer about the hoards of impressive alumni Drexel has produced, we’ll stop, because we think we’ve made our point. That is that whatever complaints we students may have about Drexel in the heat of the term, this school does have a history of spitting out innovators and influencers. It may be that they were shining gems long before they hit Drexel, or it may be because what we cope with daily at this school teaches one to push oneself past their limits.