Among a series of financial and development resolutions, the Board of Trustees approved four new members at its general assembly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Morgan Hall. Anthony McIntyre, Joseph Coradino, Loretta Duckworth and Gerry Lenfest were each elected by a unanimous vote from the board.
Lenfest, who was appointed to serve on the board by Gov. Tom Corbett, already has a buisness partnership with trustee Lewis Katz as the head of Interstate General Media LLC, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Katz praised his friend at the meeting, saying he was “an expert businessman, who has given through charity quietly and anonymously.”
Lenfest did not graduate from Temple, but he has donated to building and renovating several buildings on campus. Katz said he exemplified what was best about people who become successful and give back to their community. Lenfest has also donated to many charities and institutions in Philadelphia, including $63 million to the Curtis Institute of Music and $40 million to the planned Museum of the American Revolution.
As fellow trustees, Lenfest’s and Katz’s partnership will extend beyond the business world and into decision-making at Temple. Both trustees made the news Thursday when they sued their own company and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a dispute over the firing of its editor Bill Marimow.
Among the other trustees elected, Loretta Duckworth returned to the board as a representative from the General Alumni Association. Her first term on the board began in 2004.
Starting off the general assembly meeting, President Neil Theobald addressed the board, announcing several new hirings and presenting statistics on Temple’s increasing diversity and student quality.
“We are the university for lower income students in Philadelphia,” Theobald said.
Theobald said Temple was close to hiring a new dean for the College of Health Professions and Social Work. He hinted that two additional hirings would be announced at the next general assembly meeting.
At the next meeting, Theobald said the board will read a report by the task force on research, which was given $50 million over five years to fund commercial research projects at Temple. In September, trustee Lewis Gould, head of the task force, said research funding was important as an alternate source of revenue to combat dwindling state funding.
The Board of Trustees made public their request for a 3 percent increase in state funding, which they had submitted to the state at the end of September.
Ken Kaiser, Temple’s interim chief financial officer and treasurer, said that while hopes are high for more state money, he expects another year of flat funding.
“Given the current financial environment, we would be really pleased to get that much,” Kaiser said.
Temple will wait for the state to announce its budget in February before it begins lobbying for the increase, Kaiser said.
While Kaiser doubted the state would increase Temple’s funding, he had faith in Temple’s lobbying abilities, drawing upon a history of influencing the state’s decision through the work of students, administration, trustees and the president.
The board also unanimously approved a resolution to demolish several abandoned buildings acquired by on the 1500 block of North Broad Street. The demolition will include the strip of four row houses that once contained the Temple Star Chinese restaurant, but not the historic Broad Street Mansion, senior vice president of construction, facilities and operations James Creedon said.
The demolition of those buildings will cost up to $800,000, the resolution stated. The board also approved a resolution to rent out university-owned land on Cecil B. Moore Avenue to Pizza Hut.
The board re-elected trustees Leonard Barrack, William Mills and Anthony Scirica to four-year terms. Trustee Robert Rovner announced he will leave his position as chairman of the student affairs committee, but will continue to serve the board as Gov. Corbett’s alternate trustee.
Concluding the meeting, the board released its committee meeting schedule for the year. The board will hold its next general assembly meeting Dec. 10 in Morgan Hall.
Joe Gilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.