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Going strong 130 years, a brief history of Drake

Photo: Carter Oswood

After 130 years, Drake University is keeping with its roots and doing remarkable things in the realm of education and college life. From traditions such as the Drake Relays and giving that special someone a smooch at the Kissing Rock, to newer organizations like Curling Club and unique challenges like taking on the Emmenecker at Jethro’s, Drake certainly knows how to keep life exciting on campus.

These traditions wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the ambition of George T. Carpenter, a teacher-preacher who in 1881 moved the then-struggling college from Okaloosa, Iowa to Des Moines.

Carpenter believed in a well-rounded education that combined studies in sciences and law with aspects of literature and faith. From day one, Drake was not only a co-educational school but also one that accepted students of all different backgrounds. Within the first five years, Drake accepted international students.

Now, Drake is the largest private school in Iowa and one of the top universities in the Midwest. Over 3,500 undergraduate students, 2,100 graduate students and students from more than 50 countries call Drake home. Notable alumni include people like the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clark R. Mollenhoff and the 2007 Masters champion, PGA golfer Zach Johnson.

Drake’s rich history has helped shaped it into the exceptional university that it is today. Happy birthday Drake, and stay classy.

Quick facts about our beautiful bulldog:

Porterhouse is about 60 pounds.

He won the Beautiful Bulldog contest on his fourth attempt.

In a single day, he has attended a football game, a basketball game and a volleyball game.


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