Hailing from 25 states and 16 countries, some 700 students became part of the Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) family at Convocation on Aug. 16.
At the first official gathering of the Class of 2022 and—for five-year architecture students—the Class of 2023, Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University, urged students to embrace the University’s transdisciplinary Nexus Learning approach.
“You will be an expert in your chosen field, but I hope you will leave here with an appreciation for all the other experts,” he told the enthusiastic crowd at the Gallagher Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center. “You can work with them to cross boundaries. Creativity by definition is bringing things together that other people don’t expect to see in the same arena.”
Dr. Klasko also said students should be open to change and excited about the future, especially in light of the recent one-year anniversary of the groundbreaking combination of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University.
“It brings the best of two historic and very powerful universities together to create what we believe will be the nation’s preeminent professional university,” he said. “What you will find is that we’re madly excited about this merger and about what we can create to anticipate the future of work. You have joined that revolution, and there’s never been a been a better time to be part of our community.”
Welcoming students and their families to campus, fashion merchandising and management alumna Naomi Sampat ’17, said the merger defines new possibilities and promotes innovation beyond what’s imaginable.
“Jefferson has been purposeful when curating an interprofessional and transdisciplinary classroom experience that defies the status quo of higher education,” said Sampat, who graduated with summa cum laude honors and currently works as a junior account executive at global apparel company PVH Corp. in New York. “You have a faculty who will push you higher at a University which provides ample learning opportunities. Here at Jefferson, the professors, the students and a collaborative environment form a community, which will catapult you toward success.”
During the student welcome, fashion design student Vanessa Fath ’19 stressed to her new classmates to enjoy these next few years, but always keep learning and building those connections.
“You’re a part of a strong community where we help one another be our best versions of ourselves,” said Fath, Jefferson’s Student Government Association president who recently wrapped up a summer internship at PVH. “Be honest with yourself, be genuine toward others, be grateful for every day and every conversation you have.”
Also at the ceremony, five Centennial Educator Awards were presented by Dr. Klasko and Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, provost, executive vice president of academic affairs and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, to outstanding high school educators nominated by incoming Jefferson students. The annual awards were created in 1984 by the Board of Trustees to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Philadelphia University.
The recipients honored at the ceremony include:
- Michaela Day, fashion design student, nominated Jefferson alumna Carey Brown ’02, fashion design and merchandising teacher at Ocean County Vocational Technical School in Brick, N.J.
- Van Schuler, architecture student, nominated Alvaro de Vicente, headmaster at The Heights in Potomac, Md.
- Lydia Mindek, industrial design student, nominated Michael Podlesney, biology teacher at Downingtown STEM Academy in Downingtown, Pa.
- Cecile Schuller, physician assistant studies student, nominated Kerri Schuster, English teacher at Sacred Heart Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
- Jacqueline Thornton, architecture student, nominated Michael Thornton, principal at Conestoga Valley High School in Lancaster, Pa.—and her father. “I am who I am because of what he has done to guide and shape me,” Thornton said.