James Bean, LeBow College of Business ’91

Trustee’s challenge gift amplifies athletics and donor impact
Jim Bean
Jim Bean in Social Media
Billy Brandreth ’93 (left) and Jim Bean on the InSites panel in San Francisco, 1/11/18.

Drexel University Trustee and former student-athlete Jim Bean and his wife, Christine O’Sullivan, have pledged $1 million in matching funds for the planned $3.5 million renovation of the Vidas Athletic Complex.

The project will transform the Complex's lower field, where some of Drexel's winningest Division I teams train – men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's soccer. The renovations will give many deserving student-athletes a professional playing field with a stadium-like look that matches their talents and ambitions. 

"Christine and I are proud to support the Vidas Complex improvement and give back to Drexel during this transformative time for the University," said Jim. "There are many pillars that support a world class University, and athletics is a critical one.”

The challenge is structured so that all gifts and commitments of $25,000 and above for Vidas will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million, enabling donors to unlock value and double the impact of their gifts.

Jim and Christine are both former Apple executives, now entrepreneurs and seed investors in early-stage technology and healthcare companies. As the former vice president of retail at Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, California, Jim led a global team and oversaw the operations of more than 450 stores in 17 countries. Christine managed the release of the Mac OS X Operating System, which was the company’s most important product at its launch.

At Drexel, Jim played on the men’s lacrosse team and was a member of the Alpha Pi Lambda fraternity. In 2010, he was named to the World Association for Cooperative Education Hall of Fame at the University.

"Jim maximized what he learned playing Drexel lacrosse to become hugely successful off the field," says John Fry, Drexel president. "Now, with his extraordinarily generous challenge gift, he is in position to rally countless other Drexel friends in creating a world-class sports facility where today's student-athletes can compete and grow as leaders."

The pivotal role Jim plays in The Campaign for Drexel takes several forms. In his role as a Campaign vice chair for the Western region, he is already bringing the enthusiasm and energy of the campaign to an area that is home to many alumni but far from campus. He has also hosted and spoken at some of the most sought-after InSites gatherings over the past two years, first at Apple Headquarters and then at his own vineyard in Napa.

There are many pillars that support a world class University, and athletics is a critical one.

“Jim exemplifies the ideal Drexel benefactor,” says David Unruh, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement. “Beyond philanthropy, he uses his access, connections, visibility and experience to accelerate the Campaign’s reach and impact, engaging many people at different levels.”

Regarding the strategy behind his challenge gift, Jim says: “We are excited to welcome fellow Drexel alumni, parents and friends to join us in helping ensure that Athletics is a leading contributor to this amazing moment in the evolution of Drexel."

Learn more about the Vidas Complex renovation initiative or contact Kerry DiBlasio, Assistant VP of Development at knd39@drexel.edu or 215-571-3803.

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