Philadelphia University, Thomas Jefferson University announce merger

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An unusual education merger is in the works. (WPVI)

An unusual education merger is in the works. Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University announced Friday that they will become one school, leaving students with a lot of questions.

Officials from both schools are calling this a "revolution in academics" - a school known for design merging with a school known for healthcare. That's the plan, as officials hope to offer students more options and more collaboration.

The announcement of this new joint venture was made in Philadelphia University's new Fashion and Textiles Center at the school known for its fashion and textiles programs. Begging the question: What does design have to do with healthcare?

Francesco Vetrano, a third year student at Philadelphia University, tells us, "From gauzes to casts to wraps, to scrubs. I think it would be a great opportunity. It would really broaden the horizon from medical to fashion, which isn't usually connected in any way."

The presidents of both universities were on hand to address the unique partnership.

Philadelphia University president Dr. Stephen Spinelli says, "We started as a textile school focused on delivering something special and something new. He started as a medical school. We've both grown and together I think we help change the educational paradigm."

Friday morning, the boards of Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University unanimously approved a combination agreement - an intent to make the two schools one.

The merge would make the school the fifth largest in the city with 7,500 students.
A marketing study is being done now to figure out what to call the combined university and if any physical changes will be made to either campus. But officials say both undergrad and graduate students will use both campuses in Center City and East Falls.

Students say it's an interesting and innovative move.

Vivian Cooper, a senior at Philadelphia University, tells us, "Philadelphia University is really looking towards collaboration in all of their different majors across platforms so it can help with that."

The merge still needs to be approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Assuming the agreement is approved, school officials say incoming students will enter into one singular university in the fall of 2017.
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