Office of Institutional Advancement

Introducing the New Jefferson

One Name. Two Legacies. Infinite Possibilities.

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Jefferson’s past is defined by a history of medical firsts, from the first-in- America brain tumor removal to the first heart-lung bypass. We pioneered a medical education that augmented lectures in the amphitheater with clinical experiences in the hospital. Jefferson has been pushing boundaries, shifting paradigms, and inventing better ways of training doctors and healing patients since 1824. Our passion for firsts and our legacy of innovative leadership will keep us making history in the years ahead. That’s why we are excited to announce our newest boundary-breaking advance, one that promises to spark a revolution in higher education.

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As of July 1, 2017, Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University (PhilaU) have combined to create a different kind of comprehensive university. The new, transformed Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) will deliver hands-on, transdisciplinary, interprofessional education in medicine, nursing, health professions, science, architecture, design, fashion, textiles, business, engineering, and more, all grounded in the liberal arts.

A July 5 article in Forbes about the merger begins, “This is not your typical ho-hum merger.” It’s true—our combination is a sign of a revolution in education. Indeed, higher education, like healthcare, is undergoing rapid and fundamental change, and this is a natural culmination of the reimagination of Jefferson.

The future—in healthcare, in business, in almost every profession—is about collaboration and communication, teamwork and empathy, creativity and lifelong learning.

PhilaU has been a leader in experiential, real-world learning and has been nationally and internationally recognized for many of its programs (including recognition in interior design, 11th nationally; architecture, top 10 nationally; fashion, 8th nationally and 28th globally). Combining with an institution of such caliber and programming will position us to better prepare students to succeed and seize the future.

Innovation in health thrives when clinicians and healthcare professionals feel empowered to find their own solutions—to design smarter services, new devices, and better products. That’s why we’ve been building design thinking into the Jefferson curriculum, and that’s part of the reasoning behind our union with PhilaU. It’s a merging of mindsets as much as a combination of institutions.

The New Jefferson

Both universities had already been collaborating: PhilaU architecture students and Jefferson medical students worked together on a hospital-of-the-future project, and PhilaU industrial design students and Jefferson occupational therapy and medical students took part in a course that used design thinking and next-generation technology to make caregiving better.

Yet this union is about more than healthcare. If anyone asks why an almost 200-year-old health sciences university would partner with a university that excels in design, innovation, and experiential learning, it’s because together we can reimagine a new kind of professional education to meet a different kind of future—one where work and learning intersect, and where universities and industries are teaching and learning partners. The university of the future will look less like the traditional four-year institutions of today and more like 24/7 learning labs, where students and alumni return—in person and virtually—over the course of a career or careers.

Why now? At a time when higher education is more and more under fire for not giving a sufficient return on student and parent investments, the answer is We can’t wait. To spark the innovation needed to trigger sweeping change in higher education and healthcare, we must shatter the traditional mold for our industries. We’re doing today what will become obvious to others tomorrow.

Jefferson’s past was not shaped by being timid and playing it safe. That cannot shape our future either. We are creating a university that carries Jefferson’s and PhilaU’s DNA for creativity, confidence, and above all, disruptive innovation. We are transforming higher education and preparing graduates who will go out and shape a better future for us all.

We’re still Jefferson, only more. We still offer the same great Jefferson education, only better, and you are still Jefferson alumni with roots in a legacy of leadership and firsts—a past and a future that leaves behind conventional thinking and old ways of getting it done.

We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of Jefferson together.