The College of William and Mary and the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine announced recently that they are considering a merger. The merger would make EVSM the medical school at the College of William and Mary. The two parties have issued a statement saying that they will be "exclusively exploring" this possibility, but gave no specific timetable for the study or the ultimate decision.
William and Mary is a well-respected school in Virginia with a formidable reputation. Adding a medical school would likely improve their standing, but it's important to choose the right partner organization. Officials at EVSM said that they are pleased to be considered for the merger, adding that it reflects the excellent work of the students and faculty.
Other area schools have expressed displeasure at the exclusivity of this discussion, adding that including more Virginia institutions to talks about mergers would benefit the state.
As with other mergers and acquisitions, this would require significant advance planning to ensure that the transition does not negatively impact employees and students. In for-profit business mergers, preserving the products and services that each company provides to customers and honoring preexisting agreements as a part of the merger is an important part of the overall process.
In the context of educational institutions, the schools will need to work hard to ease the transition for current students and honor agreements with past and incoming students. There will also likely be concerns from alumni of both institutions, who may not have any decision-making power in this prospective deal, but are a significant source of ongoing funding for schools, so their interests will likely be taken into account as well.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, " W&M and EVMS to explore merger, " Karin Kapsidelis, July 26, 2012.