Traditions & History
From Jefferson Medical College to Sidney Kimmel Medical College, and Philadelphia Textile School to Philadelphia University – we have a rich legacy. In fact, through unifying two widely acclaimed and highly honored legacies of innovation, education, research and professional excellence we’ve surpassed 300 years of combined history.
Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1824 as Jefferson Medical College, and Philadelphia University was founded in 1884 as the Philadelphia Textile School. Both were ahead of their time and focused on the importance of experiential learning. The new Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) was established on July 1, 2017 as a result of the merger of our two respected universities.
We're Proud of Our History
But we’re just getting started. We’re redefining the future of higher education -- setting tomorrow’s standards by breaking today’s.
Timeline: A New University with 328 Years of Experience
In 1824, Jefferson Medical College was founded by Dr. George McClellan.
In 1884 Philadelphia University was founded as the Philadelphia Textile School to educate America’s textile workers and managers.
In 1891, the Jefferson College of Nursing was created as the Jefferson Hospital Training College for Nurses.
In 1941, the Philadelphia Textile School was granted the right to award baccalaureate degrees and changed its name to the Philadelphia Textile Institute (PTI).
By 1949, PTI began conducting classes in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. That same year, Jefferson Medical College included advanced degrees in anatomy, bacteriology, immunology, etc. in its curriculum.
In 1961, PTI changed its name to Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science.
In 1969, Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) was established, incorporating Jefferson College of Health Professions and Jefferson College of Graduate Sciences (now Jefferson College of Biomedical Sciences).
The College of Architecture and the Built Environment was founded when the architecture program joined the existing interior design program at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science.
To better reflect the institution’s breadth and depth, the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science applied for and was granted university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1999. The Board of Trustees voted to change the School’s name to Philadelphia University on July 13, 1999.
In 2008, Philadelphia University adopted a bold, innovative Strategic Plan and directed efforts on advancing our mission and vision: to be the model for professional university education. The University reorganized its offerings into three colleges and three schools.
Thomas Jefferson University launched Jefferson College of Population Health and Jefferson College of Pharmacy in 2008.
Kanbar College of Design Engineering and Commerce was founded in 2012, named after alumnus Maurice Kanbar ’52, H’03, who donated $15 million in to Philadelphia University.
The Office of Continuing and Professional Studies at Philadelphia University was renamed the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2012.
In 2012, Philadelphia University launched its PhilaU Online offering, which formalized and expanded its reach in online education.
In 2014, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation bestowed a $110 million gift to Jefferson Medical College, now known as Sidney Kimmel Medical College.
In 2015, Thomas Jefferson University was the largest free-standing health sciences university in Philadelphia.
In 2017, Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University combined to create one university focused on redefining humanly possible.