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Drexel University – A Reputation for Innovation

A CEO returns to her undergraduate alma mater and reflects on why Drexel University is one of the most innovative schools in the nation.

I recently returned to Philadelphia, PA, to reconnect with the college that gave me a start in the technology world. There were many reasons that I originally decided to attend Drexel, but one of the things that interested me most was the forward-thinking manner in which Drexel prepares students for productive professional and civic lives.
This opportunity to visit my alma mater, was through the relationship that Greg Westiner, Senior Sales Manager, Mid-Atlantic for ClearOne,has been developing with Drexel University. Greg has been with our company for over 18 months, and was previously a VP of Sales for a Philadelphia AV Integrator. Greg has been meeting with Robert Rasberry, Assistant Director Facility Services – Instructional Technology Support at Drexel about various technology projects, including: Audio conferencing, digital signage, video conferencing, and others. Mr. Rasberry has been very instrumental at Drexel to maintain the highest levels of technology available to professors, instructors and students.
Greg and Robert have been talking about ClearOne’s desire to be a part of their co-operative educational program. Established in 1919, this program is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful in the world. Approximately 1,500 companies in 30 states and 24 international locations participate in the program. The interaction that occurs between students and global companies is an opportunity that few other universities can provide. These students will be moving into an increasingly competitive environment along with students from other countries, including India and China. Drexel is providing the necessary skills these students will need to succeed.
Greg and I were introduced to John Walker, Vice President of the Office of Institutional Advancement, and Dr. Joseph Hughes, Dean of the College of Engineering, who hosted us for breakfast. We had a great discussion about technology, engineering, and the rapid growth of the University. After breakfast, I met with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Donna Murasko. (This was especially nice for me because I graduated with my master’s degree in physics from that same college.) She told me about how the rapid growth for the College of Medicine occurred after 2002 when Tenet Healthcare agreed to a twenty-year merger between MCP Hahnemann University and Drexel University, as well as an affiliation between the Drexel University College of Medicine and Tenet’s teaching hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Drexel has always been at the forefront of medical teaching; in fact, the Drexel University College of Medicine was the first medical school for women when it was founded in 1850. Today, they have the nation’s largest private medical school enrollment.
Our next stop of the campus tour was the Allied Sciences Building, where I met with Becky Boudwin, the Director of Development at the College of Arts and Sciences. This beautiful building is one of the newest on campus, has 130,000-square-feet for education and research, and is also a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified building—meaning it has implemented practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. This environmentally conscious building houses 39 research and teaching laboratories for bio-medical engineering, biology, and chemistry; a 250-person auditorium; and a fossil preparation lab. The most amazing part of the building is the four-story bio-wall in the atrium, which serves as the building’s centerpiece. The structure is composed of living plants, and is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also serves as a natural air filter and humidifier for the building—the first of its kind in an American University.
Later that day, I met with Dr. Banu Onaral, who is the Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. Dr. Onaral also has family from Turkey, and we discovered that she knew my father. What a small world we live in sometimes! We also discussed how the Engineering, Nursing, College of Medicine and the large Biology departments are merging together in order to dedicate their combined resources to create new technology for the fields of science, health, and medicine. They are working on cutting-edge techniques like cognitive neural engineering, functional optical brain imaging, and neural electrode tissue interface.
When you speak with authorities in the bio-medical science and engineering fields, there is a growing consensus that the marriage of technology with biology and medicine will drive a 21st-century industrial enterprise. Drexel University seeks to partner with the private sector to develop concepts and move discoveries from the labs and classrooms into the business, investment, and private sectors.
Always on the forefront of using technology to help students excel, Drexel was the first major university to implement a fully wireless campus, and since 1996, Drexel has offered degrees online, including the first fully online master’s degree program.
After I returned to Salt Lake City, I asked Greg to share his thoughts on the tour, and he replied “Being a resident of the Philadelphia area for over thirty years, and ardent proponent, (there are so many great things about this city), I have been aware of the growth of many of the city’s educational institutions. But, I wasn’t aware of the breadth and depth of what Drexel is doing, from a comprehensive educational institution, to its actual physical growth and expansion. Kudos to the visionaries at Drexel as they continue to provide opportunities, not only for local Philadelphians, but also all those who come in contact with Drexel through various educational and cultural activities globally.”
Drexel’s motto of “Dream it. Do it” propels their students into creative and innovative new ways of thinking and is creating the next generation of thinkers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs.
Drexel’s mission is to be an academically comprehensive and globally engaged urban research university, dedicated to advancing knowledge and society and to provide every student with a valuable, rigorous, experiential, and technology-infused education. I can’t think of a better way to prepare our best and brightest for the challenges they will face in the real world of business and life.

Zee Hakimoglu is the CEO of ClearOne, a global company that designs, develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, streaming and digital signage solutions for audio and visual communications.  The performance and simplicity of its advanced comprehensive solutions offer unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability and scalability.
Visit their website at

Six Ways Digital Signage Can Benefit Your School

Digital Green AppleAs the 2010 school year quickly approaches, school administrators and teachers alike are looking for exciting and innovative ways to inform and motivate their staff and students. Remember when you were young and hearing the announcements over the school’s PA system? It was typically a litany of monotone verbiage or perceived white noise that was easily drowned out by, well, anything else. The information barely registered with the students. Same thing applied to the school paper where events and other news were published. Of course all of that news happened last week and the upcoming events had already passed. Fast forward to the present and look no further than MagicBox, Inc for a Digital Signage solution to your messaging needs.


What is Digital Signage? Well, it’s the use of electronic displays or screens (such as LCD, LED, plasma or projection) to deliver information, entertainment and/or advertisements in public or private spaces using images, text, video, animation, and audio. This medium offers several benefits for schools. Here are the top five ways your school can enhance their messaging.


  1. Quickly Inform staff and students– Digital Signage messaging allows the user to immediately post news and information to the system over the school’s existing network. Students and staff will see the updated messages in real time which creates a knowledgeable student body. If knowledge is power, then that power can be harnessed into productivity which benefits everyone.


  1. Educate the viewer –Your messaging can be anything you wish. Further the student’s education with ideas, quizzes, word games, or similar immersive content. Visual communication is a powerful vehicle that can be used as an intellectual tool.


  1. Promotions– Display upcoming events such as workshops, dances, clubs, sporting events, and more. Promote school products such as yearbooks and clothing. Advertise the student store or cafeteria specials. Endorse local businesses that contribute to the school. Check out EZ-Stream software for real-time database updates. The possibilities are endless.


  1. Save Time– The ability to manage your content from a centralized location allows for easy administration and updating of information on one or several player systems. OurAavelin Composer software allows page content to be scheduled for future playback. This allows the user to streamline their work flow to accomplish more work in less time once the main project content foundation is in place.


  1. Creativity–Get your students involved to create the graphics, write the copy and produce the videos. Have fun and engage with your students. Give them some responsibility that is enjoyable and entertaining. Remember, they have a better perspective on what captivates their peers than faculty. This is also a great benefit to keep your school’s brand and image fresh with the staff and students.


  1. Green– Digital Signage reduces the amount of natural resources used in the distribution of your content. Replacing and or decreasing your printed materials is one of the easiest ways to make a significant reduction on your institutions carbon foot print. Get started today and the world will thank you tomorrow.


Using Digital Signage by itself is an important part of the communication process. Used in conjunction with other mediums such as the school paper and school website, your staff and students will be equipped with the most updated knowledge to cut through the voluminous amount of information clutter. An informed staff and student body allows teachers to do what they do best; educate. Give them the tool to function at top performance and watch your school become more productive than ever.


Give us a call or send us an email today to get your school’s Digital Signage campaign going!