Jessica Conk, Staff
St. Joseph’s University and the University of Science announced a possible merge between the two institutions on Feb.10. Both institutes view this merger as a way of growing and thriving together. USciences would become one with St. Joseph’s University. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Even before the pandemic, many colleges, private and public, had been struggling with falling enrollment and tight finances, with trends showing even fewer available high school students later this decade.” Mark Reed, President of St. Joe’s, is attempting to take initiative with this strategy to turn his campus around. Reed states that, “From my vantage point, you can take two entities, and if you put them together, you get a whole that is greater than the individual parts.” The U.S. Department of Education shows that in the “2010 and 2019 academic years, enrollment and nonprofit colleges and university have fallen 4.1 percent In the last 12 months, we saw a 4 percent decrease in enrollment rates. Reed sees this merger as a benefit for both institutes involved. He hopes to add on new programs with the help of USciences.
Though there is talk of a potential merger with USciences and St. Joseph’s, they insist that their name remains the same. Reed says, “The hawk will never die.” Mark Reed and Paul Katz (President of USciences) already signed the non-binding agreement. “They have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to evaluate the impact of a merger and develop an agreement.” However, Reed made it clear that the decision to merge with USciences is not final, and St. Joe’s is open to the idea of merging with another institution. All institutes will be allowed to keep their names and their sports teams as if they were not merged. Reed sees this as a chance of getting ahead of the COVID-19 impact on universities. While increasing enrollment rates, he hopes that this merger will also allow the institutes to expand on their programs they offer. St. Joes already had to make a few adjustments starting with decreasing the number of freshman students who attended in the Fall semester, with hopes that a smaller enrollment would increase the quality of academics. Due to COVID-19, Reed has not only lost students, but saw a decline in staff and faculty. Reed remains hopeful — “I am confident we will weather this storm and manage through as well as we possibly can.”