Howard Gittis, member of Temple’s Board of Trustees and philanthropist, died in his sleep Sept. 17 of a heart ailment. He was 73.
Gittis, who was a great benefactor to the Temple community, served on the board for 27 years and was chairman for six of those years.
The University of Pennsylvania graduate came to Temple in 1980 and was followed by his good friend Peter Liacouras, who became the president of Temple in 1982. Gittis was one of the major forces behind renaming the Apollo of Temple to the Liacouras Center after his friend.
Stuart Sullivan, the vice president for institutional advancement, said Gittis will be tremendously missed by Temple and Penn.
“I will most remember about him his wonderful sense of humor and sage advice he gave me,” Sullivan said.
During Gittis’ time here, he saw Temple transform and was behind many of its biggest changes. Most recently, Gittis donated $5 million to the university. Some of those funds went toward the creation of the Ronald O. Perelman Professorship in Entrepreneurial Finance in the Fox School of Business.
Gittis formed a close bond with Perelman while working at McAndrews and Forbes Holdings Inc. Gittis was the vice chairman and chief executive officer of the company.
From 1995 to 2000, Gittis chaired the board of the Temple University Health System. He was heavily involved in the children’s hospital through philanthropy. In October 2006, the Student Center was named after the Central High School graduate.
In a statement released by the president’s office, President Anne Weaver Hart said, “Howard was one of the most outstanding leaders Temple University has known. There are few people who have had a greater impact on our students’ quality of education and quality of life.”
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.