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2 universities in Pennsylvania announce plans to merge

June 14, 2023
Drexel University in Philadelphia and Salus University in Elkins Park want to have the merger completed next year.

Two higher-education institutions in PennsylvaniaDrexel University and Salus Universitysay they have agreed to merge.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the boards of both institutions have given approval, pending the necessary regulatory approvals, and officials will aim to have the merger take effect next summer.

The two colleges said in April that they were exploring "an affiliation" that would link the schools’ graduate health sciences education and clinical practice programs.

Drexel, in Philadelphia, is one of the largest private universities in the region. It has 23,200 students. Salus, a private health sciences university based in Elkins Park in the Philadelphia suburbs, enrolls more than 1,100 students. "This is going to be a really nice fit," said John A. Fry, Drexel president. "We are so complementary in our programs.”

Michael Mittelman, Salus president, said he didn’t anticipate layoffs in the teaching force. Fry said there may be some consolidation of administrations over time.

Salus’ clinics are expected to remain intact, too. The university has three clinical facilities in Montgomery County and Philadelphia that provide vision, hearing, and balance, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy services. What will happen with Salus’ main campus in Elkins Park will be a topic addressed by a newly formed integration council composed of faculty and professional staff from both universities.

Salus was founded in 1919 as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

The new merger would be the latest pairing of Philadelphia-area universities looking to solidify their positions in a competitive higher education marketplace.

Earlier this year, St. Joseph’s University announced it had a "definitive agreement" to merge with the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster. That announcement came less than a year after St. Joseph’s merged with the former University of the Sciences.    

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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