07 April 2009

RIP President Papadakis

I am sitting here shocked and saddened. Having not read or watched the news yesterday, I just found out this morning that the president of Drexel University, Constantine "Taki" Papadakis passed away on Sunday, from complications of lung cancer. Part of what makes this so stunning is that it was just LAST WEEK that he announced a six-month medical leave of absence.

I never met Taki, but I have some excellent pics of him from graduation.

Here's Taki speaking to us about the responsibility of being a Drexel alum:

And here's Taki with our commencement speaker, Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven Galson. Note Taki's commencement bling:

I have attended two other colleges, and to save my life, I couldn't tell you who the president of either college was. And those colleges COMBINED aren't as large as Drexel.

Never before have I received an email from a university president telling me to email him at any time with ideas or concerns. Never before have I heard of the university president holding town hall meetings with the students.

Taki saved Drexel. Within two years of his taking the helm, Drexel went from being $2 million in the red to being $2 million in the black. At his first faculty meeting at Drexel, he told professors that if they continued to take summer Fridays off, they could expect to see a 20% salary reduction.

Under Taki, Drexel acquired a med school, a law school, a school of public health, and an expanded school of education. Drexel's co-op programme grew and flourished and currently places approximately 4,000 undergrad student in paid internships in 1,400 community organisations and businesses.

He was dedicated to academics and to ensuring that one could say with pride that one graduated from Drexel University.

He will be profoundly missed.

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