Philadelphia University will be renamed Thomas Jefferson University when the colleges complete a merger later this year, university officials announced Friday.
In an email to faculty and staff obtained by NBC10, Philadelphia University president Stephen Spinelli, Jr. said a research analysis showed Thomas Jefferson University has a “stronger brand and potential for building a stronger national and international reputation vs. a more regional reputation.” The research was conducted by branding firm FutureBrand.
University officials confirmed the change in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Spinelli said in the email message that the university’s board of trustees came to the decision after conferring with students, faculty, staff and alumni. In an effort to retain the Philadelphia University name, the school plans to create two institutes — Philadelphia University Honors Institute and Philadelphia University Design Institute. The Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and TJU’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College will keep their names. The school’s mascot, a ram, will also stay on.
Students graduating this semester will get degrees from Philadelphia University.
The schools are currently exploring a new visual identity for the universities, officials said.
The name change appeared inevitable when the schools announced their intention to combine in December 2015. Philadelphia University, the East Falls-based school with a strong history in textile, architecture and design majors, has been plagued with poor name recognition for years. Philadelphia University is the college’s fourth name in 133 years. Previous names were Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (known colloquially as Textile,) Philadelphia Textile Institute and Philadelphia Textile School.
The merger will double the new university’s enrollment to around 7,500 students on two campuses — Philadelphia U’s in East Falls and Thomas Jefferson’s medical campus in Center City. The combination has been touted as a complementary match with Philadelphia gaining a medical college and Jefferson adding design and business major opportunities.
Both universities expect the merger to close this summer following regulatory approvals.