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Board appoints Lawrence as VP for Alumni Relations

The meeting was the last appearance for outgoing student body president Ray Smeriglio.

The Board of Trustees appointed Ken Lawrence as the new Vice President for Alumni Relations, along with approving the design of an indoor recreation facility behind Pearson-McGonigle Hall at a Tuesday meeting.

Lawrence, who was previously appointed to the state’s Judicial Conduct Board by Gov. Tom Wolf in February, said he is excited to help alumni become more involved with Temple and its current student body.

One way Lawrence said he plans on continuing that relationship is through Twitter. He’s only had an account since the 2011-12 school year, when Colin Saltry was student body president. At first, he said, getting acquainted with the social media site was tough.

“At one point, I had 21 followers, and Colin told me I was warring and corporate,” Lawrence said. “So I tried to open up a bit more. … I think social media is a key way to not just connect with alumni, but our students as well, because I want our students thinking about becoming alumni even as they’re students.”

As the university announced last month, George Kenney, a former state representative who previously served as director of Commonwealth and federal relations in Lawrence’s office, will take Lawrence’s former position.

The Board also approved the Facilities Committee’s recommendation to allocate up to $1.5 million for the design of an indoor recreation facility at the corner of 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

Michael Scales, associate vice president for student affairs, said the university is still in the “exploratory” phase of putting a building there, and that the new space, if built, could be used in a variety of ways – from more fitness space to an indoor track and turf field, he said.

Another Facilities Committee recommendation the Board approved was the amendment of the university’s sublease agreement with Kardon Atlantic Apartments, which adds just more than 14,000 square feet of office space at the 10th Street site at a cost of around $4.3 million.

The university will also issue up to $152 million in bonds to refinance existing Temple debt, including reimbursing the cost of William Penn High School, along with the cost of a new or renovated academic building and a new research building. Ken Kaiser, chief financial officer and treasurer, said the recommendation was written in “vague terms” because many of the projects in the proposal still need to be approved by the Board.

Visualize Temple, the campus master plan released this year, details a possible new building for the College of Public Health in the parking lot next to Weiss Hall, and possibly a research building on the parking lot north of the Science Education and Research Center.

Because Gov. Tom Wolf and the state’s General Assembly are still in the process of approving and finalizing appropriations for university funding, the Board will also hold its current budget until its next meeting, when it will approve the university budget for Fiscal Year 2016 on July 14.

The meeting also marked the last appearance of outgoing student body president Ray Smeriglio, who asked the Board for a moment of silence for Rachel Hall, the lacrosse player who was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident on April 29.

He then thanked the Board for its cooperation with Temple Student Government, and highlighted his team’s accomplishments during the past school year, including the TUnity statement and increasing voter participation to 17 percent of the student population in this year’s elections, compared to six percent last year.

Steve Bohnel and Joe Brandt can be reached at news@temple-news.com

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