New president stresses affordability during first meeting with students

Theobald met with students at Shusterman Hall Tuesday morning before being officially approved as Temple’s 10th president.

For all of President Neil Theobold’s promises to strengthen rapport between the university administration, students, and the community Tuesday morning in Shusterman Hall, it was zeroing in on “affordability and excellence” that ultimately won over student opinion.

“You can have the greatest academic programs, but if you can’t afford to come here, you’re not serving you public mission.” Theobold said.

Such declarations resonated profoundly with those students in attendance, many of whom carried vested interests in the university through their work or involvement in student organizations.

Students were equally enamored by Theobold’s bold proposals to increase fundraising, utilize more proactive recruiting and effective funding allocation methods.

 “Certainly the civic engagement piece was important,” graduate student Chelsea Kormos said.  “But speaking about fundraising, lowering student tuition, and being critical and mindful of who they’re reaching out to get additional revenue… and getting a little more creative, are all really important going forward in order for Temple to keep the tuition rates reasonable.”

But while promises of affordability tilted student opinion in Theobold’s favor, it was his ostensible ability to be both pragmatic and accessible—an imperative trait for such a large student body—that may have cemented their support.

“Theobold is very charismatic; that’s the first impression I got of him,” junior social work major Mary Archer said. “He relates to students, and his ambition to continue to connect with students is fantastic.”

Khoury Johnson can be reached at

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