University Announces Merger with Jefferson College

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Annie Schroeder |

Radford University announced on Thursday that the university would be merging with Roanoke-based Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Radford and Jefferson have both had a long time partnership with Carilion Clinic, which is where the idea to merge the two schools came to be. Officials say this potential merger will create the second largest nursing program in Virginia.

“Radford University and Jefferson College have a robust history of collaboration, and these two great institutions are now working toward an even stronger partnership,” said President of Radford University, Dr. Brian Hemphill. “This endeavor benefits the students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and communities of both institutions, along with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the entire region.”

According to the press release, Carilion Clinic currently owns and operates Jefferson College, which has a student population of 1,150. Jefferson was founded in 1982 and offers 25 different degrees of study. The merger between Jefferson and Radford will take between 18 and 24 months.

“Both schools are approaching this potential merger from positions of institutional excellence and financial strength. We’re combining forces to create something even bigger and better for the entire Commonwealth,” said Dr. Nathaniel L. Bishop, president of Jefferson College. “We believe that together, we can enhance the quality of healthcare education and research better than we could individually.”

Carilion currently employs more than 350 Radford graduates, 40 of whom graduated in 2016. Officials say that the merger will benefit students entering the medical field. “Carilion Clinic is proud to have nurtured Jefferson’s growth, as it established a reputation for developing ethical, knowledgeable, competent and caring healthcare professionals,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president, and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “Joining the Radford University family is a wonderful opportunity for Jefferson College. Moreover, now is the right time as the vision for a health sciences and technology campus in Roanoke comes to life. Partnerships among leading academic institutions strengthen our region as a destination for health education and research, and ultimately drive economic development.”

Officials emphasized that Radford University is not purchasing Jefferson College and that both institutions are academically and financially stable and well.

“Jefferson College already enjoys a wonderful relationship with Radford University,” said Bishop. “This next step makes sense for both institutions, and serves to enhance Radford University’s reputation as a premier educational destination for those seeking careers in nursing, health care, and health sciences.”

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Dylan Lepore

Dylan is a writer, gamer, avid movie lover, and PlayStation extraordinaire. Currently, he attends Radford University in pursuit of a BS in Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism. If I played the game, I like it; if I haven't played it, just remember that I'm in college. ($ = tuition)