Temple College Appearing President Joanne Epps Dies

JoAnne A. Epps, the performing president of Temple College in Philadelphia whose tenure got here at a turbulent time for the varsity, died on Tuesday after turning into ailing onstage at a memorial service, the college mentioned.

Ms. Epps, who was appointed in April, was taken to a hospital after turning into ailing on the memorial service and was pronounced useless at round 3:15 p.m., the college said in a statement. She was 72.

“There aren’t any phrases that may describe the gravity and disappointment of this loss,” the college mentioned in a letter that was signed by the chair of the board of trustees, the chief working officer and the provost. “President Epps was a faithful servant and good friend who represented the most effective elements of Temple.”

The college didn’t share the reason for dying.

Ms. Epps was attending a memorial service on Tuesday for Charles L. Blockson, a historian, creator and curator of the Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple, which homes greater than 500,000 artifacts regarding the worldwide Black expertise. Mr. Blockson died in June at 89.

Footage from a stay feed of the memorial service that was later faraway from Temple’s web site confirmed a choir singing behind a row of chairs that had been arrange on the stage. Ms. Epps appeared to droop in her chair as papers she was holding in her lap fell to the ground. Individuals seated subsequent to her seen that she was in misery, and somebody stepped to the lectern and requested for a physician to come back and assist. The stay feed then lower out for a number of minutes earlier than the memorial service resumed.

Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania said on X, previously Twitter, that Ms. Epps was “a strong power and fixed ambassador for Temple College” and that “shedding her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia.”

“Talking at Temple’s graduation earlier this yr, I reiterated my sturdy perception within the college and its North Philly neighborhood,” Mr. Shapiro wrote. “They’re powerful and resilient, and I do know they may come collectively and raise one another up on this devastating time.”

Mitchell L. Morgan, the chair of the Temple board of trustees, informed The Philadelphia Inquirer that Ms. Epps was “our mild on the finish of the tunnel.”

Ms. Epps had a been a member of Temple’s school for greater than three a long time. Earlier than becoming a member of Temple, she was an assistant U.S. lawyer in Philadelphia and a deputy metropolis lawyer in Los Angeles.

Her dying rattled a college neighborhood that was already going through a number of challenges. She was appointed after the resignation in March of the earlier president, Jason Wingard, whose tenure was tormented by worsening crime round campus, a strike by graduate college students and a lack of confidence in his management amongst some school members.

After Mr. Wingard’s resignation, Temple appeared looking forward to regular management, and Ms. Epps was seen as a pacesetter who may calm the waters. Her deep ties to Temple reassured many on campus, and when she was appointed, she mentioned in an announcement that she would “interact with people and teams throughout the college to reinvigorate a tradition of shared governance, listening and studying.”

Ms. Epps, a former govt vice chairman, provost and regulation faculty dean at Temple, was clear that her tenure can be short-term, telling The Inquirer that she wouldn’t be a candidate to serve within the place completely.

“The college wants a president who it anticipates can have a protracted tenure,” she said, including that she had deliberate to retire this yr earlier than she was requested to function performing president.

Her priorities, she informed native information shops, have been addressing the dual crises going through Temple: campus security and falling enrollment, an issue that other universities are also facing.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Temple Affiliation of College Professionals said on X that its members have been “deeply saddened” by the lack of “a real Temple icon.”

Temple’s scholar authorities affiliation mentioned in an announcement that Ms. Epps had made “nice strides for the college and at all times put college students’ needs and desires first.”

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.


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