Medaille University will merge with Trocaire College, with both institutions citing declining enrollment and financial challenges as reasons for the consolidation.

Medaille and Trocaire are both private, nonprofit colleges located in Buffalo, New York. Medaille is a four-year university with about 2,400 students, while Trocaire is a two-year college enrolling 1,800 students. The merger will establish a single institution, temporarily named Medaille University, which administrators expect to strengthen both schools’ long-term viability.

“Medaille University and Trocaire College have been exemplary institutions committed to providing access to high quality, affordable education for more than a century,” Medaille President Kevin Helm said. “By coming together, we can ensure our shared mission continues for another century and beyond.”

Trocaire President Sr. Janet E. Sturtevant, SP said her institution’s essential mission of “empowering, educating and developing students to reach their full potential” would live on through the merger. Medaille University plans to retain Trocaire’s campus and academic programs, as well as staff and faculty positions whenever possible.

Both colleges have seen a steady decline in enrollment over recent decades, which officials blame in part on demographic trends and intensifying competition for students. The merger aims to overcome this challenge by combining resources and eliminating duplication between the schools. Supporters argue it will provide a more comprehensive set of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students at a lower overall cost.

However, the merger and acquisition is sure to face scrutiny over how well it preserves Trocaire’s identity and serves its student population. That includes a mostly female student body, as Trocaire is women’s college that converted to co-educational in the late 1980s but has maintained a mainly female enrollment ever since. Medaille is a long-standing coed institution.

Medaille University anticipates receiving approval for the merger from its accrediting body, the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, in early 2022. Leaders hope to then formally establish the consolidated university by fall 2022, pending any final approvals.

Unclear is whether the challenges that led Medaille and Trocaire to merge may be fully addressed through the consolidation. However, proponents argue it represents the colleges’ best chance at sustainability and the opportunity to build a stronger, more viable institution together.

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