Faculty and staff greeted some 600 new students and their families as they streamed down the walkway to the Gallagher Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center Aug. 17 for Convocation. They are the first freshman class of the new Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).
“Today, we honor our past successes, live in the present and eagerly map our aspirations for the future,” said Chancellor Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., at the first official gathering of the Class of 2021. Spinelli said the recent combination with Thomas Jefferson University will give students greater access to world-class facilities, more Nexus Learning opportunities, an alumni base of 80,000 and the benefits of both a city and a suburban-like campus.
“Philadelphia University’s merger with Thomas Jefferson University formed a blockbuster comprehensive University,” he said. “This University will be an example for all of higher education by expanding and amplifying the potential of your education.”
Spinelli also shared some of the University’s recent accomplishments, including a 95 percent job and graduate school success rate; 10 nationally and internationally ranked programs; 40 industry partners sponsoring Nexus Learning projects; award-winning students in industrial design, architecture, textile design, interior design, graphic design, fashion design, fashion merchandising, business and health science programs; and expert faculty recognized by Fulbright fellowships, teaching awards and external grants.
Welcoming the new students to campus, alumna Christina Wong ’08 called the merger “exciting and revolutionary.” Wong, a member of the Philadelphia University Board of Trustees and Jefferson Academic Board, said, “The University is here to serve you, the students are the lifeblood of the campus. And you, Class of ’21, will be the very first students to fully reap all of the benefits. Use every single tool the new Jefferson has to offer.”