St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to explore deal with Neumann

An entrance gate to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary off Lancaster Avenue near City Avenue.

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Neumann University said Thursday that they will begin exploring the feasibility of an affiliation.

“While this agreement does not presuppose that the seminary will definitely affiliate with Neumann, it does allow both institutions’ academic leaders and others to meet openly and to discuss how such an affiliation agreement may work to benefit both institutions,” Bishop Timothy C. Senior, rector of the seminary, and Rosalie M. Mirenda, Neumann’s president, said in a joint statement.

The agreement comes about a year after the seminary decided to abandon its plan to consolidate operations on 30 acres of its upper campus in Lower Merion to explore the possibility of affiliating with a local Catholic college or university, with new seminary buildings to be constructed on or near the partner’s campus.

For several years before that, efforts had been underway to sell or lease about 39 acres near the intersection of City and Lancaster Avenues, including the palatial college building that dominates the view of the grounds. That plan called for the seminary to consolidate into older buildings set back from the main roads.

Neumann, which is in Aston and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, had enrollment of 3,011 last fall. Its annual tuition and fees for the 2016-17 academic year were $28,580, according to its website.

Enrollment at St. Charles Borromeo has been on an upswing, from 128 in 2013 to 160 at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.