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Published on September 09, 2016

Thomas Jefferson University & Philadelphia University Sign Combination Agreement

Creating a Comprehensive University Delivering 21st-Century Professional Education

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 9, 2016) – The Boards of Trustees of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and Philadelphia University (PhilaU) announced that they have entered into a Combination Agreement to enable the two universities to become one comprehensive university centered on professional education. Preparing students for the careers of the 21st century with an emphasis on scientific and applied research, design thinking and discovery, the combined university will focus on the future of education, the future of health and the future of work.

With the Combination Agreement, Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University will take the next steps toward finalizing this forward-thinking transaction. The Combination Agreement  brings together a leading health sciences university, home to the storied, 192-year-old Sidney Kimmel Medical College, and a 132-year-old university with excellence in design, architecture, textiles, fashion and business. The transaction is expected to be complete in 2017, pending all required regulatory and accrediting agency approvals, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

"If anyone asks themselves, why would an almost 200-year-old health sciences university merge with a rapidly growing university that has excelled in design and innovative education... It's because together we can reimagine a new kind of education for the jobs of the future,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. "It’s the start of a revolution in how students are taught, in how we provide greater value in more customized offerings, and in the recognition that design and healthcare are inextricably linked.” Klasko will be president and CEO of the combined university and Jefferson Health.

PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli, Jr., Ph.D., will lead the combined university as chancellor in partnership with Mark Tykocinski, MD, executive vice president of academic affairs and dean of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “The combination of our two universities into one will enable us to enhance the value we offer our students and our faculty so they can deliver even more value to society,” Spinelli said. “Our graduates have deep expertise in their own fields and a fluency across disciplines that empower them to be leaders and innovators. They are prepared to exceed the expectations of 21st-century employers and patients.”

The boards of Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University unanimously approved the signing of the Combination Agreement, which states that at the launch of the combined university, its structure will include all TJU colleges and all PhilaU colleges operating as a single accredited, degree-granting institution with a unitary governance structure.  The agreement also states that the combined university will be the responsibility of the TJU Board and overseen by an Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) that reports to the TJU  Board. The AAC will consist of equal representation of TJU and PhilaU members.

“TJU is known for its world-class, inter-disciplinary health education and its pioneering work on healthcare team building. PhilaU is known for Nexus Learning, which brings together active and collaborative learning, connects it to the real world and infuses it with the liberal arts,” said Tykocinski, who also will serve as vice chancellor and provost of the combined university.  “Through our approach to education, research and discovery, our students and faculty will have the unique opportunity to design meaningful curricula and co-curricula for current and emerging professions that will positively impact their careers now and in the future.”

“As we move toward creating this model professional university, I am especially excited to be working with Dr. Klasko and Dr. Tykocinski, two of today’s most forward-thinking academic leaders,” said Spinelli.  “The work they are spearheading to revolutionize medical education is a clear example of the kinds of curriculum changes that are needed to  improve the value proposition for all stakeholders. It is just one of the reasons why the integration of PhilaU and TJU is such a good fit.”

A market research study is underway to inform a cohesive brand strategy and implementation plan for the new organization, taking into account the longstanding value and brand equity in each university.  This study is expected to be completed later this year.

When the integration is finalized, it will create Philadelphia’s fifth-largest university with enrollment of nearly 7,500 students (about equal numbers of undergraduate and graduate students with roughly half of total enrollment coming from each institution); campuses in East Falls and Center City, Philadelphia, as well as in Atlantic, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, providing students with urban and suburban experiences; and with a combined alumni base of 78,000.

About Jefferson

Founded in 1824, Thomas Jefferson University includes the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (formerly known as Jefferson Medical College) and the Colleges of Biomedical Sciences, Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy and Population Health. Its nationally recognized faculty, who lead a number of programs boasting U.S. News & World Report recognition, educate more than 4,000 students and set the highest standards of healthcare education to prepare them to lead change and succeed throughout their careers.

Jefferson Health, the University’s clinical arm which includes the recently integrated Abington Health and Aria Health, provides a range of primary and complex, highly specialized care. Through nine hospitals (three Magnet®-designated for nursing excellence), 32 outpatient and urgent care locations, and NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Health delivers an exceptional experience to nearly two million patients annually. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Thomas Jefferson University Hospital among the best in the nation in 11 specialties, second in the Philadelphia metro area and third in Pennsylvania for the quality of care we provide.

Jefferson employs more than 23,000 employees who provide exceptional patient care, deliver breakthrough research and educate the professionals of tomorrow.

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About Philadelphia University

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.

With internationally and nationally recognized programs in physician assistant studies, architecture, fashion design, graphic design, strategic leadership, and midwifery, and opportunities for industry partnerships and internships with top companies, PhilaU graduates have achieved a job success and graduate school placement rate of 95 percent.

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; the School of Continuing and Professional Education; and PhilaU Online.

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