People in high positions often find that they become entangled between comparisons to the past and expectations of establishing an independent legacy. Mired in this conflicting dynamic, Richard Englert has forged for himself an impressive history as a reliable, utilitarian asset the university can turn to whenever probable need arises. Like when Temple needed an interim athletic director, and, most recently, a temporary president.
Since the 1970s, Englert has served the Temple community by providing his educational expertise.
Too often, university leaders appear more like business negotiators than academic pioneers. But Englert — during his time as a dean’s assistant, provost and president — has seemingly fought against this mold, adding levels of compassion and thoughtfulness to situations where the opposite often seemed to be law.
Interviews with those who have worked close with Englert indicate the acting president has stepped into many positions as an act of public service. In fact, Englert has never held a position for more than five years, during his 36 years at the university.
In the short few months that Englert stepped into the university’s president position, he has been more accessible to The Temple News than Temple’s previous president, Ann Weaver Hart, ever was. Considering the time each was in the top position, that small fact speaks volumes about his commitment to open, congenial relationships with the student body.
While The Temple News urges the university as a whole to brace itself for an impending new year — one filled with state appropriation negotiations, boathouse hearings, athletic conference questions, new university leadership, among other things — it’s important to recognize what, and who, makes Temple great in the first place. Englert and his valued service chief among them.
Temple’s 10th president, Neil Theobald, is set to assume the position in January.
The Temple News hopes Englert’s expertise about Temple and its roots will act as a guide for Theobald in the months to come.
Come January, the new president will need to dive headfirst into many issues at Temple.
But, for now, we tip our hats to you, Mr. Englert, for the many hats you’ve worn.