When Fernando Lopez ’19 was a freshman at Drexel, the quad was nothing more than a shortcut between academic buildings to him. “I never saw it as a place of interest,” he wrote in Drexel's student-run blog, 5027mac.
That changed one Thursday in November of 2017. After more than a year of being closed for construction, the newly renovated Korman Quadrangle had reopened, and Lopez and his friends saw the reinvigorated space for the first time.
"What we saw," he says, "well, we LOVED!"
A vibrant green space with new walkways, more trees and shrubbery, and plentiful and varied seating greeted them as they walked through campus. They had not only regained their shortcut to classes; they had also gotten what Lopez described as "a place of new possibilities" where he could "meet up with friends, hang out with them, sit down and relax even."
Lopez was not alone in his excitement for the new space, which connects the center of campus with the broader University and Philadelphia communities through entrances on Chestnut Street and Market Street. Within months of opening, the Korman Quad, along with the updated Korman Center, became what President Fry described as "the heart and soul of Drexel's campus." It is regularly filled with students, faculty, staff and community members.
The original Korman Center was built in 1958 and named in 1977 in honor of alumnus Max W. Korman '29 and his brother, alumnus and trustee Samuel J. Korman '34. About four decades later, the Hyman Korman Family Foundation furthered the family's legacy of philanthropy and service at Drexel through a gift, matched by the University, that made the rejuvenation of the Center and the adjoining Quad possible.
Like the Quad, the renovations and additions to the Korman Center focus on connectivity. The Center's original brick exterior was given new life by the addition of two stories of natural light-filled space designed around gathering, individual and group study, and collaboration. A welcoming front porch featuring wooden benches that opens onto the Quad further encourages interaction.
"The space," says President Fry, "is a spectacular example of how place-making can strengthen communities."