Temple University's Acting President Dies Onstage

17:57 19.09.2023

Temple University in Philadelphia is mourning the sudden loss of its acting president, JoAnne A. Epps, who passed away on Tuesday after falling ill during a memorial service. The university confirmed the tragic news, expressing deep sadness and describing Epps as a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

The memorial service where Epps became ill was held in honor of Charles L. Blockson, the curator of the Blockson Collection of Black American art and artifacts. Reports from Temple News, the institution's student newspaper, indicate that Epps collapsed while speaking onstage during the event. She was immediately rushed to Temple University Hospital but was pronounced dead at around 3:15 p.m.

Epps, 72, had been a member of Temple's faculty for over three decades and was appointed as the acting president in April. She was chosen to lead the university during a challenging time following the resignation of the previous president, Jason Wingard. Wingard's tenure was marred by increasing crime on campus, a graduate student strike, and a loss of confidence in his leadership among faculty members.

Ken Kaiser, Temple University's chief operating officer, described Epps as a "calm force in troubled waters." The university's board of trustees is set to meet on Wednesday to discuss a plan for leadership in Epps' absence. Gregory N. Mandel, Temple's senior vice president and provost, expressed confidence that the community would come together to weather this difficult time.

The news of Epps' passing has sent shockwaves through the Temple community and beyond. The Temple University Police Association extended their condolences on social media, acknowledging Epps' significant contributions to the university over the years. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro also expressed his grief, calling Epps a powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University.

Epps leaves behind a lasting legacy at Temple University. She joined the faculty in 1985 and went on to serve as the dean of Temple Beasley School of Law in 2008. In 2016, she was appointed as the provost, a position she held until August 2021 when she was succeeded by Gregory Mandel.

As the Temple community comes to terms with this devastating loss, they will undoubtedly lean on one another for support, just as President Epps would have wanted. The days ahead will be difficult, but the resilience of Temple and its surrounding North Philadelphia community will shine through.

This is a developing story, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

/ Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 5:57 PM /

themes:  Philadelphia  Pennsylvania

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