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Englert named acting president after Theobald resigns

The former president came to an agreement with the Board of Trustees instead of being voted out.

Temple’s Board of Trustees met for a special meeting today to announce the resignation of Former President Neil Theobald.

The special announcement comes after the Board voted “no confidence” in Theobald last week after learning about the university’s growing deficit of funds allocated to scholarships for incoming freshmen. The deficit grew from $9 million to $22 million in the last year under his leadership. Spokesman Kevin Feeley said today the Board did not know of the problem until very recently and it was being investigated.

“We have reached a mutual resolution with Neil Theobald,” Chairman Patrick O’Connor told attendees of the meeting. “It includes his resignation as president at Temple University … it does serve the best interest of this university.”

The Board unanimously appointed Chancellor Richard Englert as acting president, a position he has filled before, between the terms of Ann Weaver Hart and Neil Theobald.

Englert said he’s “deeply honored” to fill the position.

“While our leadership has changed over the decades, our vision has not,” Englert said. “Temple has been and will continue to be a university that is accessible, affordable, diverse and high quality.”

Student Body President Aron Cowen said while he didn’t get to work closely with Theobald, he believes the student body owes him a “debt of gratitude” for his years of service as president.

“Dr. Englert has been an institution at this institution,” Cowen said. “I can’t think of someone more suited to helm the ship at this point.”

Ray Betzner, university spokesman, said combined, Englert and new Provost JoAnne Epps have served 70 years with the university.

Englert told press the inflated deficit was “being looked at” by the university, but a plan was not yet approved or in place.

In June, university CFO and treasurer Ken Kaiser told The Temple News administrators revised the budget with cuts and “internal reallocation” to ensure the $22 million would still make it to students. 

When asked about his stance on the stadium, Englert said the university is still conducting impact studies. At last week’s meeting, the Board approved an additional $250,000 toward the stadium feasibility study to look at the effects of traffic.

He said the university is “absolutely committed” to continue the studies and talks with the community.

“We will do the right thing,” Englert said.

 

Paige Gross and Michaela Winberg can be reached at news@temple-news.com or on Twitter @TheTempleNews. 

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