Temple University names new president after sudden death of Epps

Temple University Chancellor Richard Englert speaks Wednesday, Sept. 20, at a vigil for JoAnne A. Epps.
Jack Tomczuk

Temple University named a new leader Tuesday, a week after the university’s president, JoAnne A. Epps, fell ill on stage during a school event and died unexpectedly.

The college’s chancellor, Richard M. Englert, who served as president from 2016 to 2021, is returning to the role. He has been involved in Temple in a variety of positions since being hired nearly 50 years ago.

“I am honored to again lead this outstanding institution,” Englert said in a message to students and staff. “In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to engaging with you, hearing your perspectives and working together to achieve our shared goals.”

Temple Board of Trustees Chair Mitchell Morgan said in a statement that the search for a permanent president, which began earlier this month, prior to Epps’s death, will continue, with an appointment expected in spring 2024.

Epps, 72, was the university’s “acting president,” taking over following the resignation of Jason Wingard. Morgan has said the board intends to formally remove her interim title at the body’s October meeting.

Temple University Acting President JoAnne A. Epps died suddenly Tuesday, Sept. 19.Temple University

She was attending a memorial Tuesday, Sept. 19, for historian Charles Blockson, who curated an extensive collection of African American artifacts at Temple, when she reportedly slumped in her chair. Members of the Temple community gathered for a vigil to remember Epps the following day.

Epps joined Temple’s faculty in 1985 and served as law school dean and provost before being appointed president in April.

Viewings are planned at the Liacouras Center from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, which will be followed by a service. Temple has canceled all undergraduate and graduate student classes Friday.