Tamron Hall is still surprised she was unanimously elected to the Board of Trustees.
Hall, a 1992 alumna with a degree in broadcast journalism, talked about her time at Temple and how it has shaped her career in a joint-interview with The Temple News and Temple Update Friday afternoon.
She said when she was elected, being on the university’s highest governing body wasn’t even on her radar.
“It’s not something I even thought about,” she said. “I never thought it would be possible. It’s just a prestigious position, an important position, one that I certainly believe I can handle, but you get in the grind of your day and become focused on your career … while I’m a loyal Temple alum and I love the university and this city, it just did not occur to me that this would be something that would be a part of my journey.”
Hall added board members initially reached out to her during the summer about the open seat. After an initial offer, Hall and several trustees met at a luncheon, where she discussed her career and why Temple is important to her.
After last Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Chairman of the Board Patrick O’Connor praised Hall because of her work ethic and commitment to Temple. Hall said she is still overwhelmed by O’Connor’s comments, along with the trustees’ decision to elect her.
“I’m still processing it,” Hall said of all the recent news. “I’ve heard from people to social media to personal phone calls that I’ve not spoken to in years … I feel as if good will has been showered over me.”
Hall, who currently is a co-host of NBC’s “TODAY Show” and host of MSNBC’s “NewsNation,” replaces Bill Cosby on the board, who resigned last December after dozens of women accused him of sexual assault.
Cosby spoke at Hall’s graduation, she said. Hall added she doesn’t feel any added pressure because of filling his seat.
“I don’t feel the pressure, because Temple is not about one person,” she added. “It’s not about one person’s journey. This university has served many students well … Honestly , I haven’t thought about it as filling Bill Cosby’s seat, it’s just not how I see this. And to be honest, that’s not how the board approached me.”
Along with news surrounding Bill Cosby, the board has also been criticized for not having enough minority trustees. Hall, an African-American woman, said diversity can only help the board moving forward.
“I believe it only elevates my and the board’s experience to have that diversity, and to talk openly about having more diversity, which the board has discussed,” she said. “With that said, no one wants to be on the board under the assumption of, ‘Oh, you are there because you’re Jewish, black, white, whatever.’ You want to be there on merit and that I’ve proven myself over the years through my loyalty to the university that I deserve, if nothing else, a vote … we are all better when we are in a diverse community.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.