Jefferson College Merger Initiative
By Don Bowman
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Intends to Merge with Radford University
Officials from Carilion Clinic, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University announced in January their intention to merge Jefferson College into Radford University, primarily into Radford’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services.
“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 Brian O. 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.”
“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 Nathaniel L. Bishop, president of Jefferson College.
The merger planning process is expected to take 18 to 24 months. Radford University, Jefferson College and Carilion Clinic officials have been working closely since the announcement to develop processes and procedures to facilitate the integration. The merger would create the second largest nursing program in Virginia.
“We are confident this partnership will help better prepare our students by providing access to the latest research and top-notch clinical experiences,” Hemphill said. “We believe this will encourage potential students to seek health care careers and stay in the Commonwealth to work. There’s no doubt this will provide increased access to health care education.”
Jefferson College, currently owned and operated by Carilion Clinic, brings 35 years of history as an accredited institution and has grown in enrollment from 200 to about 1,150 students in that time. Jefferson College is a top regional producer of nursing and allied health professionals and has been rated among the top 10 Virginia health care education providers.
“Carilion Clinic is proud to have nurtured Jefferson’s growth and reputation for developing ethical, knowledgeable, competent and caring health care professionals,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “Joining the Radford University family is a wonderful opportunity for Jefferson College. And 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.”
Students from both Radford University and Jefferson College will have access to enhanced educational opportunities, such as clinical placements and internships, and Radford University will continue to partner with Carilion Clinic to utilize its facilities and research capabilities.
“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.”