How Dr. Papadakis runs a Drexel University like a company
Thursday, February 24, 2005
By Bernard Wysocki Jr., The Wall Street Journal
PHILADELPHIA -- At a Drexel University campus forum last May, professors complained about funding cuts at the library. Rather than apologize for the belt-tightening, President Constantine Papadakis told them he'd prefer to have an all-digital library with no books at all.
Some faculty members and students were horrified. An architecture professor said printed books were essential to his field. Another professor compared the Drexel library to that of a community college. 'It boggles the mind that someone like a university president could envision a library without books,' wrote the student newspaper, the Triangle, in an editorial.
In an interview, Dr. Papadakis says he was exaggerating to make a point: Spending too heavily on books, periodicals and the buildings that house them is a waste in the digital era. The spat was nothing new for the 59-year-old Greek immigrant, who revels in making comments designed to shock the status quo as he introduces hard-nosed business practices to one of America's centers of learning.