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Jefferson Launches Year-Long Bicentennial Celebration

#Jefferson200 features a full slate of community service projects, events and partnerships to mark the enterprise’s 200th anniversary.

Philadelphia, PA (January 10, 2024) ‒ Today, Jefferson launched “Jefferson 200,” a year-long bicentennial celebration marking two centuries of excellence in higher education, healthcare, and commitment to our community. “Creating Our Third Century” is the theme for a series of community initiatives, events and groundbreaking announcements planned throughout 2024. 

Bicentennial logo with Jefferson J and 220

In 1824, founders of Jefferson Medical College, the precursor to Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College, embarked on a noble mission to address the critical need for high-quality medical education. In doing so, they opened a medical clinic to provide care for the underserved, effectively laying the foundation as one of the nation's first teaching hospitals.

That humble beginning coupled with the university’s combination with Philadelphia University in 2017, regional health systems (Abington, Aria, Kennedy, Magee Rehabilitation, Einstein), and most recently Health Partners Plans, has evolved into the Jefferson we know today — a renowned national doctoral research university with a growing global footprint, a regional health system known nationally for excellence in advanced clinical care, and a community-focused not-for-profit health insurer — all unified by a single mission to improve lives.

“The profound impact that Jefferson’s alumni, healthcare providers, scientists and employees have had on the world over the past two centuries is truly immeasurable, but our bicentennial affords us a unique opportunity to reflect on our rich history and accomplishments,” said Jefferson’s Chief Executive Officer Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, FACC. “Throughout 2024, we will also celebrate the trajectory of where we are headed into our third century and beyond. I invite all members of the Jefferson community, including our many partners, to join the celebration.”

#Jefferson200 will engage Jefferson’s diverse community of more than 8,300 students, 42,000 employees, 77,000 alumni, 390,000 insurance members, as well as countless patients, volunteers, and donors who touch lives in ten counties. Key moments include:  

  • Launching the Bicentennial Service Initiative, a call to the entire Jefferson community to complete 200,000 hours of volunteer service within our communities;
  • Creating a “Bicentennial Fund” to establish a major investment in student scholarships and other priorities;
  • Celebrating the opening of The Honickman Center, a state-of-the-art outpatient care center in the heart of Center City;
  • Unveiling the renovated Marion J. Siegman, PhD, FAPS Archives; 
  • Reintroducing a re-imagined Phil the Ram mascot which was redesigned by David Raymond, the original Phanatic who has helped create countless other mascots including Gritty;
  • Sharing the story of how two very different universities focused on experiential learning right from their founding in 1824 and 1884 respectively came together to form today’s Thomas Jefferson University — one that continues to have an enormous impact on students, alumni, our communities, and society.
  • Spearheading a self-guided “walking tour” of medical history across Jefferson campuses;
  • Hosting numerous activities during Alumni Weekend in October;
  • Hosting the 22nd annual Jefferson Gala on November 21, 2024, which recognizes Jefferson physicians who provide uncompromising care and philanthropists whose investment in Jefferson has redefined what is possible;
  • Unveiling a legacy project to be announced later this year;
  • Sponsoring a series of community-based and citywide events;
  • And much more.

One of the many ways the Jefferson community can participate in the bicentennial is through its landmark Bicentennial Service Initiative, a call-to-action to collectively complete at least 200,000 hours of community service.

“As the region’s second largest employer and the largest health system, Jefferson has impacted the community in far-reaching ways with a legacy of service that is core to Jefferson’s identity. Our dedication to enriching the lives of others is the cornerstone of what makes Jefferson unique, and it is the reason why so many choose us as their employer, their educator and their care provider. Building on this legacy by giving back to the communities that have given us so much is why we launched the Bicentennial Service Initiative,” Dr. Cacchione added.

Jefferson is nationally and internationally recognized for many inventions and historical “firsts” including: the first clinic established by a college to offer free medical and surgical care for outpatients; the first surgical use of anesthesia in Philadelphia; the nation’s first textile school; the blending of quail feathers and wool to create the Army’s ubiquitous olive drab as an alternative to dark blue and light-colored khaki military uniforms; the first successful open-heart operation using a heart-lung machine; the first coordinated ambulance service; the first renal transplant; and the first bifurcated aortal graft designed by using multi-branched seamless tubes that knit fibers needed for artificial blood vessels.

For details about Jefferson’s storied history, upcoming bicentennial events, ways to volunteer, and contribute to the Bicentennial Fund visit Organizations seeking volunteers throughout 2024 can contact to be a part of this effort.

About Jefferson

Nationally ranked, Jefferson, which is principally located in the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey, is reimagining health care and higher education to create unparalleled value. Jefferson is more than 42,000 people strong, dedicated to providing the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients; making our communities healthier and stronger; preparing tomorrow's professional leaders for 21st-century careers; and creating new knowledge through basic/programmatic, clinical and applied research. Thomas Jefferson University, home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Jefferson College of Nursing, and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, dates back to 1824 and today comprises 10 colleges and three schools offering 200 undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 8,300 students. Jefferson Health, nationally ranked as one of the top health care systems in the country and the largest provider in the Philadelphia area, serves patients through millions of encounters each year at 17 hospitals and over 50 outpatient and urgent care locations throughout the region. Jefferson Health Plans is a not-for-profit managed health care organization providing a broad range of health coverage options in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 35 years.