The Hawk will never die, but it might merge with another school.

That’s the gist from a Philadelphia Business Journal exclusive, penned by Hilary Burns, that explores the recent struggles faced by St. Joseph’s University.

Burns notes that applications are down 15% since 2015 and enrollment has fallen 20%, which has resulted in the elimination of 120 teaching jobs. As such, President Mark Reed suggested that everything is on the table, even a merger with another Philly school:

During a recent interview with The Business Journals, Reed outlined myriad financial and demographic factors pushing the university to pour its limited resources into a new undergraduate health care school, which currently supports about 420 students. He also made clear St. Joe’s is open to potentially merging with another college in the Philadelphia region — a move, he said, that would potentially enable the school to address its worsening academic and financial challenges in one fell swoop.

“From my vantage point, you can take two entities, and if you put them together, you get a whole that’s greater than the individual parts,” Reed said. “You have to be willing to be proactive rather than reactive to the situation.”

“It would be incredibly arrogant of me or any college president, for that matter, to say, well, we’ll never be in that situation of having to be the one approached by someone else,” Reed said. “Colleges have to get ahead of the curve on this and have some control over the future as opposed to letting it happen around us and die.”

This is fascinating to me, and it has sporting ramifications in our area. What would happen to St. Joe’s basketball? Does the Big Five become the Big Four? The City Six becomes the City Five? Who might they partner with?

The possibilities are endless. Among them:

  • Villanova University South
  • Temple Jesuit College
  • St. Rosemont University
  • Penn State University – City Avenue branch campus
  • The Jesuit Drexel College of Engineering and Health Sciences
  • The La Salle Explorer-Hawks, at Olney
  • Rutgers Camden Jesuit Institution
  • St. Charles Borromeo Joseph Seminary


Lots of considerations here, but for real, it would be a big deal if St. Joe’s merged, and there would be Big Five implications. The Hawk will never die, but it could become a hybrid animal, like a Wildhawk, or a Hawk-Quaker.