Philadelphia University Announces Plans to Integrate With Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University President Stephen Klasko and PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr. (front row center) and leadership teams exchange hats.

Thomas Jefferson University President Stephen Klasko and PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr. (front row center) and leadership teams exchange hats.

Philadelphia University has signed a letter of intent to integrate with Thomas Jefferson University, a Center City-based health sciences university, to create a comprehensive university that offers unprecedented opportunities for both institutions and which will set a new standard in higher education.

The boards of trustees of both universities voted unanimously this week to approve the letter of intent, and expect to reach a definitive agreement in 2016 to establish a comprehensive university designed to deliver high-impact education and value for students in architecture, business, design, fashion, engineering, health, science and the liberal arts. The integration plan would take place over the next three years.

“An integrated Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University allows us to reimagine education in a way that launches students into the careers of their passion in a bigger, bolder way,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. “It will allow us to build on the PhilaU model for professional education; explore unprecedented opportunities to further enhance expertise across a broad range of professional academic programs; identify more industry education partnerships to support collaborative, real-world learning; increase investment in program development; and identify opportunities for growth in a very competitive higher education environment.”

Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, said, “By integrating two financially and academically strong universities that already have incredible synergies and significant complementary programs, we can create a model that further disrupts and challenges higher education to deliver great outcomes for 21st-century students, employers, patients and our communities.”

Together, Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University would create Philadelphia’s fifth-largest university with an enrollment of some 7,500 students—about half coming from each institution and an equal number of undergraduate and graduate students; a combined alumni base of 78,000; hub campuses in East Falls and Center City providing both suburban-like and urban student experiences; and expanded research opportunities for students and faculty.

Nicole Hall M’09, a sustainable design program graduate and chair of the alumni board, said the alumni board reaction was “excitement” about the integration plans. “We all loved Philadelphia University and had such wonderful experiences there and are confident that will continue for students in future,” she said.

The integration of the two universities would offer unparalleled opportunities for growth, partnerships, academic programs, clinical sites and provide many other benefits for students, faculty and other members of the campus communities. Faculty members and students will have increased opportunities for research and academic partnerships across a wider range of disciplines.

“The faculty and staff of Philadelphia University already envision powerful collaborations that can provide amazing opportunities” in the future, said Matt Dane Baker, Philadelphia University provost and executive vice president.

“By integrating with Thomas Jefferson University, an institution that shares our core values, we’ll be even better positioned to thrive in today’s higher education market and meet the needs of 21st-century students and employers,”Spinelli said.

“Uniting our two universities is about starting a revolution in education,” added Klasko. “It’s about what’s next for academics and for the careers and outcomes that our students will pursue when they graduate.  For example, this combination brings PhilaU’s world-renowned programs in design to the students of Jefferson at a time when one of the fastest-growing areas of health care is design and wearables. We’re going to find incredible synergies like that across the board.”

Philadelphia University, founded in 1884, is a private university with 3,750 students enrolled in more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs. As the model for professional university education, the University, through its award-winning Nexus Learning approach, prepares students to be leaders in their professions in an active, collaborative and real-world learning environment infused with the liberal arts.

Philadelphia University includes the innovative Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; the College of Architecture and the Built Environment; the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts; and the School of Continuing and Professional Education.

Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,900 future physicians, scientists, nurses and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Jefferson Colleges of Biomedical Sciences, Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health and is home of the National Cancer Institute-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

The University is part of Jefferson, which includes Jefferson Health, comprised of five hospitals, 16 outpatient and urgent care locations, and physician practices throughout the Philadelphia region. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia.

Read the press release here.

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