Perhaps the most trying time in a university president’s tenure is the end of his career.
For past Temple presidents, the rewards for contributions to the university have been numerous. Peter Liacouras has been immortalized for his commitment to student life. Russell Conwell, the university’s founder, lays entombed in the Founder’s Garden – an honor normally reserved for Communist leaders.
President Adamany will be remembered for the numerous contributions he made to the university. Adamany’s most impressive contribution to the university, however, won’t be built until next year. Scheduled to open in 2008, Alter Hall, the 7-story business school, has been touted by the university as a huge benefit to all students. It also brought $15 million in private contributions to Temple.
There is no doubt that a large, versatile building is necessary on campus. The university’s choice of location, however, is questionable.
When students returned from winter break, everybody was shocked by the absence of Curtis Hall, built in 1965. In the footprint of the aging building, the university found one of the finest pieces of real estate in North Philadelphia.
The common area would open up a campus that sorely lacks vacant space. When the university uses words like “vibrant” to describe its student life, it is certainly not speaking about the campus’s landscape. An afternoon at the bell tower is like a steamy day at the beach, with the stark concrete of the library instead of the water.
There was a small garden between Curtis and Speakman halls, but it was in sorry shape long before the former was demolished.
In planning for Alter Hall, the university has actually removed some of its paltry open space and increased the building density on campus.
The new building will no doubt bring more respect to the already proud reputation of the Fox business school, not to mention general-use classrooms for the entire university. Adamany has been firm in his opinion that Alter Hall is essential to the future success of the university.
When Adamany announced his retirement, a lot of people, especially reporters, wondered how he would be remembered as the university’s president. Adamany did cause significant change in the university.
He carefully guided the university through a huge growth spurt, financed the buildings to accommodate the new students, and drove a hard line with faculty members.
He and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Howard Gittis were integral to the university’s plan of making the university a residential campus and to improve student life.
The new center of Temple’s main campus would serve on-campus residents and commuters. By day, the park could serve students better than the Bell Tower lawn does now.
With its close proximity to the Student Center, Health Services and the 1900 Liacouras Walk shops, the area would change the face of the campus, not to mention it would solidify President Adamany as an administrator who truly cared about student life.
Chris Reber can be reached at email@example.com.