Updated 4/11 at 5:29 p.m.
Temple University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name JoAnne Epps the university’s acting president at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.
After the vote on the appointment led by Board of Trustees Chairman Mitchell Morgan, Epps shared how Temple has played an important role in her family’s life, with her mother previously serving as a secretary at the university.
“Pledge to you, I’m going to do my utmost best to make this place continue on the trajectory that it’s on,” Epps said. “This is a great institution. I have loved being a part of it. I’ve loved the friends I’ve made as I look around the room and just think about the family feel of Temple and I’m really honored to take on this role and I will look forward to working with all of you in the year.”
Morgan is confident that Epps will be able to bring the university community together, he wrote in a message to the Temple community Tuesday.
“There is no one more qualified than JoAnne Epps to lead us through this critical moment in our history and we are grateful she has accepted this responsibility,” Morgan wrote. “We look to her for guidance and thoughtful leadership as we continue to focus on developing and implementing solutions to some of our key challenges.”
Epps served as a senior advisor to Wingard and took a sabbatical shortly after the former president reorganized his senior leadership in August 2021.
Epps also served as the dean of the Beasley School of Law from 2008 through 2016 and was the chair of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Oversight Board from 2015 through 2017.
As acting president, Epps will focus on enrollment and safety, two of the main issues facing the university. In its proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, Temple planned for an enrollment reduction of 1,500 students.
“My first step is going to be to inform myself as to where we are on these two important initiatives,” Epps told the Inquirer.
The university denied The Temple News’ request for comment.
Epps could possibly hold the role until next summer, but will not be a candidate when the university launches a national search for the permanent position in the coming weeks, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The search committee that eventually hired Wingard convened in September 2020 and he was officially selected as president in June 2021.
Wingard resigned from his position on March 31 after a high student disapproval rating and backlash to the university’s safety efforts and TUGSA’s 42-day strike.
Following Wingard’s departure, the university planned to designate a small group of senior officials to run the university during the search for a new president.