Union Graduate College and Clarkson University announced on March 2 that they plan to pursue discussions about merging the two institutions by 2016.
The intent of the merger is to combine the strengths of both schools to give students the choice of a wider variety of graduate disciplines and a stronger alumni network.
Clarkson is a private, nationally ranked research university that primarily focuses on engineering, science and management. These disciplines will complement Union Graduate programs in bioethics, healthcare management and education.
Union Graduate College stated in a March 2 news release: “A merger would provide students of both institutions with access to heightened academic resources, career services and an expanded alumni network.”
Though Union Graduate College may change its name to Clarkson, students will be able to access both institutions’ academic programs, and Union Graduate College alumni will still be able to access alumni resources.
If the possible merger occurs, the Schenectady campus will serve as an “integrated hub to market and administer all graduate education,” according to Union Graduate College.
Clarkson has campuses located all around New York state, including locations in Beacon, Potsdam, Saranac Lake and New York City.
President of Union Graduate College Laura Schweitzer stated, “The expansion of Union Graduate College’s Schenectady location to serve as the administrative entity for Clarkson’s graduate programs would offer significant benefits to the Capital Region.”
Union Graduate College has existed as an entity independent of Union since July 2003, so the merging of Clarkson and Union Graduate College will not affect Union directly.
President Stephen Ainlay offered a statement about the discussed merger of the two institutions, saying, “We offer our best wishes to Clarkson University as it discusses the incorporation of Schenectady-based graduate programs offered by Union Graduate College under its umbrella.”
He continued, “Clarkson is well regarded and its presence in the city will only strengthen the array of education opportunities in the region. We hope that the arrangement will allow the graduate programs that originated at Union College and have been well nurtured by Union Graduate College since 2003 to grow even stronger and expand.”
Union students enrolled in combined programs with Union Graduate College, like the Leadership in Medicine Program or the combined MBA program, may face changes to their degrees. Those that graduate between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017, will have the choice of receiving a degree from Union Graduate College or Clarkson University. Those graduating after June 1, 2017, will receive their degrees from Clarkson University, not Union Graduate College.
Those enrolled in Union Graduate College by Jan. 1, 2016, will not face any tuition changes. After this date, those enrolled in the graduate college will pay Clarkson tuition.
The final decision on the merger will be made in May, when the Boards of Trustees from both schools will meet to vote. The merger could take place as early as Jan. 1, 2016.