PHILADELPHIA—Drexel University and Salus University have formalized a merger agreement with a ceremonial signing. The move comes after the respective Boards of Trustees of Drexel and Salus approved a path toward a merger of the two universities. “We look forward to launching a process with Salus that will bring together the complementary strengths of both institutions in graduate health sciences education and clinical practice,” said Drexel University president John Fry. “This merger represents an exciting opportunity to strengthen Drexel’s place as a leader in preparing future interprofessional health sciences practitioners.”

Pending regulatory and judicial approvals, the merger will bring together two Philadelphia institutions committed to health sciences education. Salus, founded in 1919 as the Pennsylvania State College of Optometry and based in Elkins Park, has an enrollment of more than 1,100 students and operates three clinical facilities in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties that provide highly specialized vision, hearing and balance, and speech-language pathology services.

The addition of renowned Salus graduate degree programs, such as optometry, audiology, blindness and low vision studies, physician assistant, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and orthotics and prosthetics, will add new programs to Drexel’s health sciences offerings and expand existing programs.

“We believe that this merger will significantly improve the student experience through expanded educational programs, new clinical opportunities and a wealth of options for research collaboration and grant funding,” said Salus University president Michael Mittelman.

The merger will also grow graduate enrollment and promote interdisciplinary research opportunities in new areas. The two institutions also share a strong commitment to civic engagement and community outreach.

“The merger with Salus creates a promising path forward for both institutions,” said Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, chief strategy officer, senior vice president for graduate and online education, and dean of the graduate college and graduate school of biomedical sciences and professional studies. “It advances the goals of the Drexel 2030 strategic plan, which calls for the University to expand immersive learning experiences.”

The next step in moving the merger forward will be to form an Integration Council comprising faculty and professional staff from both universities that will address how and when academic programs and operational units will become part of Drexel’s structure. The work of the Integration Council will take a year or more to fully complete.