Despite persistent partings at any institution, some years are worse than others. Mark this semester as one of the more painful for Temple.
In January, The Temple News reported that the chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees, Howard Gittis, was retiring. This was only overshadowed by the dual retirement announcement of Temple’s most public figure, President David Adamany, who served competently and proudly, albeit controversially, for six years.
Earlier this month, Fran Dunphy became the new men’s head basketball coach, a position vacated by legendary John Chaney.
But it is the student loss that is annually consistent, yet the most damaging.
In June we’ll find out what NBA team is plucking Mardy Collins from us, and we already know that the Chicago Sky of the WNBA has made claims to (my beloved) Candice Dupree.
The men’s soccer team will lose its most valuable player, midfielder Tony Donatelli, and our women’s volleyball team says goodbye to their most outstanding player, Zhen Jia Liu.
Temple’s reigning homecoming king, Donnell Jackson, the same man who first got me involved with The Temple News and journalism altogether, will graduate on May 18, too.
In November, The Temple News picked four students who were especially valuable assets to this university. By June, we’ll have lost three.
There’s Josh Meyer, an environmental studies and chemistry major, who made winning scholarships and shaping lives through science his job.
We’ll also lose our student government president, as Oscar Chow is scheduled to make the walk May 18.
Back in January, English and secondary education major Robert Reyes, founder of Temple’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, graduated.
So why aren’t the rest of us jumping ship?
Because we know that with every troubling loss often comes an exciting replacement. Chow may have been one of our school’s most high-profile student government presidents, but just last week, Raysean Hogan and his Owl Evolution slate were elected by an impressive mandate, a 2-to-1 margin of victory.
We lose Chaney and Collins, but as highly coveted recruit Luis Guzman, a point guard from Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, told The Temple News earlier this month, after a chat with our new coach he’d still like to fill Collins’ spot.
It’s not all about losing our best, but getting to see who will reach greater heights. We aren’t losing 25 resident assistants this May, but making room for new leaders and role models.
We aren’t saying goodbye to participants of the Temple University Research Forum or the stars of Tomlinson Theater productions, but welcoming those who will their vacancies.
We’ll still have the likes of Rachel Gallo, the junior public health major who, as president of Temple University Community Service Association, has overseen one of the largest upturns of university volunteerism in recent memory. Stephanie Perez is graduating, but luckily her activism and Temple pride will stick around while she pursues her master’s degree in social work.
Those of us remaining will lose professors and presidents, administrators and maintenance workers, cafeteria employees and security officers for any number of different reasons.
More than 2,500 of Temple’s brightest will turn a corner in their lives on May 18, but there will be some 30,000 students and a far larger community left.
We can be thankful that these people are simply moving on. Others had a more final goodbye, like former Temple housing director John “Jack” Niven, who died unexpectedly in early December.
Whatever the reason, we all have our own personal send-offs, and every individual leaving this institution is a tiny blow to it.
To be realistic, come fall, Temple will open its doors and start the process again, despite these absences. It’s not about holes that can’t be plugged, just appreciating what our community will lose, and does lose every year.
Christopher George Wink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.