A tremendous urban turnaround

In recent years, Temple has gone from a primarily commuter campus to a residential neighborhood, making it desirable for living.

For years, commuter students swarmed Temple’s campus, coming and going each day.

But over the past 10 years, the North Philadelphia university has made the incredible transition from commuter campus to residential school. Now, most students opt to make the move to Main Campus.
Looking back on the history of the university, Temple has always been growing and changing.

Temple was first founded as a night school in 1884 and has been on the rise ever since. Enrollment figures are rapidly increasing, and the number of students living on or near Main Campus has more than doubled since 2000. Temple’s worldwide student body has now peaked at 33,695.

The university’s actions help illustrate this turnaround. By hiring 150 new professors over the past two years and investing $500 million in building new facilities, the university is dedicated to improving the campus’ appeal.

These changes have brought about major construction projects such as Alter Hall, Presser Hall, the Baptist Temple and the Tyler School of Art. Carolyn Adams, a geography and urban studies professor, attests that these changes were not accidental.

“The profile of Temple was raised not only regionally, but nationally as well,” Adams said. “This was done deliberately by raising its criteria and looking for higher quality applicants. The campus was improved, making it a more welcoming and impressive environment.”

Martin Fisher, a 1987 Temple graduate, said he was shocked during a recent visit to Temple.
“I was very surprised that so many students live on campus,” Fisher said. “When I was studying at Temple, there were barely any on-campus facilities.”

More prospective students are choosing Temple because of its urban location, as the perception of the school has changed. Philadelphia is a destination city, and Temple is now a destination school.

“Urban campuses are now more popular throughout the United States,” Adams said. “High school students are attracted to cities, where they are much more exposed to culture.”
Instead of apologizing for being located in a city, Temple now boasts it.

Senior tourism and hospitality management major Alexandra DuFrayne said she chose Temple just for that reason.

“I picked Temple because it is in the city, and that gave me more opportunities to experience new things and meet new people,” DuFrayne said. “I also knew they had an excellent academic program.”

The once-commuter college has worked to raise the bar in all areas by providing more than 300 degree programs, constructing a welcoming campus for students, raising academic standards and becoming more involved with surrounding communities.

Amanda Hill can be reached at amanda.sue.hill@temple.edu.

1 Comment

  1. It blew me away when I stepped on Temple’s Campus last Easter while up from St. Croix, V.I. on a trip to take my daughter to visit colleges and universities. I attended Temple from ’82 to ’86 and was amazed at how much it had grown! I pointed out what “was” and was stunned at what “is” when walking around campus with my daughter and Temple’s basketball player, Craig Williams. I kept calling the now Liacouras Walk, “Park Mall”, and Craig kept lauging at me and correcting me. There are dorms and restaurants in areas where we were told not to venture into back then! WOW! It’s Great! It’s really a beautiful thing! I was very, very proud! I stayed at the Conwell Inn and got an excellent rate for a beautiful room, just because I attended Temple! Keep up the good work Temple! GO OWLS!!!

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