JoAnne Epps, Temple University’s acting president, dies

“JoAnne embodied everything that is great about Temple University,” officers stated in convention

“JoAnne embodied everything that is great about Temple University,” officials said in conference


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — JoAnne Epps, Temple University’s beloved acting president, died on Tuesday, the college stated. She was 72 years outdated. 

Epps grew to become in poor health throughout a memorial service at Temple for Charles L. Blockson, a curator of the Blockson Collection. She was then taken to Temple University Hospital for additional therapy and pronounced useless at round 3:15 p.m., the college stated.    

“She had an amazing ability to be the calming force in troubled waters and pull everyone together and was a pleasure to work for, made every day coming into work fun and was steering the Temple ship in the right direction,” Ken Kaiser, the senior vp and chief working officer of Temple, stated. “I think it’s just a gut punch right now. It’s hard.” 

Temple officers did not disclose a trigger for Epps’ demise. A health care provider from Temple University Hospital stated Epps, who first joined Temple’s school in 1985, suffered a “sudden episode” in the course of the occasion and resuscitation efforts weren’t profitable.  

Gregory Mandel, the senior vp and provost at Temple, stated the Board of Trustees will meet on Wednesday to place collectively a plan because the college manages via the transition interval.  

The college may have a vigil on the Bell Tower at midday on Wednesday to honor Epps.

“We’re all in deep grief and at a loss for words. We grieve for JoAnne’s family, her friends and our Temple community,” stated Mandel, who was emotional in the course of the information convention at Temple Hospital. 

Mandel stated after Epps’ sudden passing, he began considering of reminiscences all through his time on North Broad. He stated Epps was a good friend ever since he joined Temple’s legislation school in 2007. 

“We’ve worked together in several different capacities over the years,” Mandel stated. “She’s been an extraordinary leader, she’s been a mentor for me and many others, she’s been a close confidant.” 

“President Epps represented the best part of the Temple community, devoting nearly 40 years of her life to supporting us, as my colleague Ken said in man different capacities,” he added. “We will all get through this. The university has a spectacularly strong community and we will get through this together.”  

Epps did not retire and went on to turn out to be Temple’s acting president in April after Jason Wingard, the university’s first Black president, resigned attributable to her “love for the university,” Mandel stated. 

Epps, a Cheltenham, Pennsylvania native, had a number of roles at Temple. She was the dean of Temple Beasley School of Law from 2008-16 till she grew to become the college’s government vp and provost in 2016. Epps was ultimately changed by Mandel because the provost in 2021. 

Epps was additionally an assistant U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia and a deputy metropolis lawyer in Los Angeles. 

Before Temple named Epps acting president, Wingard’s tenure was full of criticisms from college students, school and alumni because the college neighborhood handled crime round campus and the deadly taking pictures of Temple University Police Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald. 

Wingard’s time at Temple lasted lower than two years. 

Temple University officials talk following sudden passing of acting president JoAnne Epps


The Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) authorized a vote of no confidence in March for the college’s management on the finish of Wingard’s tenure. 

Kaiser recalled Epps entering into the function “there was a collective sigh.”

“I think over last six months, you saw the entire university community pull together, despite all of the ups and down Temple has faced over this time, everyone was healing and everyone felt great about Temple and happy for JoAnne,” Kaiser stated. 

The college launched a nationwide seek for the president shortly after Epps stepped into the function. 

After Epps’ sudden demise, condolences poured in over social media. 

“JoAnne Epps was a powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University for nearly four decades. Losing her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro posted on X. “May her memory be a blessing.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney additionally launched an announcement about Epps passing. 

“Heartbroken by the sudden passing of @TempleUniv,” Kenney wrote on X. “Acting President JoAnne A. Epps. She was a passionate and steadfast leader who inspired many. I feel fortunate to have known her. My heart is with the Temple community and JoAnne’s family and loved ones.”

TAUP additionally launched an announcement with regard to Epps’ sudden demise: 

“The Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) is deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Dr. JoAnne Epps. She was a true Temple icon, and her loss is a significant one for our university.

Throughout her career at Temple, many of us came to know her as a colleague and as a friend. Her tireless service to our school, as a member of the law school faculty, as Dean of the Beasley School of Law, and then as provost was remarkable. And, when she was ready to retire, she answered the call to serve as our Interim President.

“JoAnne’s calming presence gave Temple a reset this spring once we wanted it essentially the most,” notes Jeffrey Doshna, TAUP President. “I keep in mind her strolling into my workplace this April, and chatting with me one-on-one about how we might work collectively to make Temple a greater place. That form of private strategy makes her loss much more profound.”

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Epps family, and the entire Temple University community. As we all grapple with this loss, we honor her legacy by continuing to work to make Temple a more equitable place for all.”

Cherelle Parker, the Democratic nominee for Philadelphia mayor, launched an announcement about Epps’ passing:

“It is with a heavy heart that I write this, having learned of Professor Epps’ sudden passing earlier today. The circumstances of her death are tragic, but it will not overshadow the life and legacy of a colossal figure.

“For many individuals throughout our metropolis, our area, and our nation, Professor Epps was a pioneer in her strategy to legislation. For these of us who stroll within the footsteps alongside the trail reduce by the Professor Epps of the world, she represented the dream many people by no means thought was in reaching distance. Epps was a fierce advocate for ladies and minorities all through her profession, who noticed herself as a car to uplift the scholars who handed via her classroom. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the 2015 Spirit of Excellence Award by the American Bar Association, the 2015 M. Ashley Dickerson Award by the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the 2014 Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award by the Philadelphia Bar Association, to call just a few.

“With this news coming on the heels of the passing of another indomitable figure, Dr. Constance E. Clayton, I know many of us are feeling a heavy sense of loss today. There are no words of mine that could possibly lessen the grief that all of the people she touched are feeling, nor can my words do justice to the legacy of this remarkable Black woman. So I will call upon the words of Maya Angelou:

“And when nice souls die, after a interval peace blooms, slowly and all the time irregularly. Spaces fill with a form of soothing electrical vibration. Our senses, restored, by no means to be the identical, whisper to us. They existed. We could be. Be and be higher. For they existed.”

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