Temple University announces JoAnne A. Epps as the institution’s acting president
Epps has spent almost 40 years at the university. She served in a variety of roles including Temple law school dean and provost.
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Temple University board of trustees announced this afternoon JoAnne A. Epps, 71, as the new acting president of the institution. She is a former Temple law school dean and provost whose first job at Temple was at the age of 16 as a cashier at the Temple bookstore. Her mother used to be a secretary for the school as well.
“Temple has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Epps said today during the announcement of her new role. “It means so much to me to be offered this opportunity to continue to lead this great institution.”
She assumed the office after the resignation of former president Jason Wingard who left the institution after less than two years in the position. A 42-day strike led by Temple University Graduate Student Association (TUGSA) for better working conditions and the death of Temple police sergeant Christopher Fitzgerald while on duty in February were some of the main factors that led to his resignation.
Epps worked for 31 years at Temple’s law school, the last eight as its dean before becoming provost, until August 2021. She remained as a senior adviser to Wingard and on the law school faculty and is currently finishing teaching a course at the law school in gender equity and the law, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It is going to be my sincere promise to do the best that I can in this role to continue the university trajectory that it is on,” she said.
Her administration will initially and mainly focus on safety and enrollment. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, university enrollment has fallen 14% since 2019, with deposits for next year down 25% compared to the same time last year.
Although she was planning to retire, because people thought she would be helpful at this moment that the institution needs, she didn’t hesitate to consider the role.
During the event this afternoon, Epps said she wants to rescue the proud feeling faculty and students used to have for being at Temple. She also aims to make people think about the institution in a positive way.
“To me success looks like we look back at the university a year from now and it’s calmer, happier and a little less stressed.”
Her administration will likely last through the fall semester, possibly until next summer, as the university continues to search for a new president. Epps confirmed she will not be a candidate for the permanent position.
To learn more about her background, click here.