The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest pharmacy and allied health school, has announced a non-binding Letter of Intent to merge with St. Joseph’s University, a neighboring liberal arts institution.

The proposed partnership is unique in the highly-fragmented higher education landscape where affiliations between universities are far less common than in other fields.  Juniper is proud to advise the University of the Sciences on this transaction.

“There’s not a playbook for this,” Dr. Paul Katz, President, University of the Sciences, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Hopefully, we and St. Joe’s are creating the playbook. One of the things that we’re very confident of is there will be others who consider similar pathways.”

Together, the University of the Sciences and St. Joseph’s University hope to expand and enhance their academic offerings as well as achieve the benefits of scale and financial sustainability necessary to support further growth.

“Those numbers in terms of the scale … are relevant,” said Mark C. Reed, President, St. Joseph’s University. “It gives us a lot of runway, a lot of potential.”

With high demand nationally for a skilled healthcare workforce, St. Joseph’s sees a partnership with the University of the Sciences as an opportunity to prepare its students for success after graduation.

“We just haven’t had a big presence in the broad health-care realm in ways that schools really need. We have a really great health studies program, but we’re lacking all sorts of other programs in the health space. To merge is a great way into that space,” said Ronald Dufresne, Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Management, Saint Joseph’s University in an article by Inside Higher Ed.

More M&A activity between higher education institutions is expected in the coming year, particularly as new collaborations have been explored and existing challenges exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.