🏛 History of Drexel
Drexel is an R1 research institution located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Created as an institution of higher learning uniquely suited to meet the needs of both a rapidly growing industrial society and of the young people seeking their place in it, Drexel has always been committed to our founder A.J. Drexel's vision as a University that admits students regardless of gender, race, religion, and economic status and prepares them all to enter the workforce. This dedication harks back to the year 1900 — when college was primarily exclusive to upper-class white males — William Sidney Pittman earned his diploma in architectural drawing, finishing his five-year program in just three years and becoming Drexel's first African American graduate. Pittman’s trailblazing success left behind a legacy not just on Drexel’s campus but also for the entire nation. In his honor, we celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of Drexel's graduating students of the African diaspora each year at our William Sidney Pittman Graduation Ceremony.