President Richard Englert delivered this year’s State of the University Address Thursday at the Temple Performing Arts Center in front of faculty and students.
Englert addressed the possibility of an on-campus stadium, heralded Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor who students are calling to step down and discussed how the Temple community can remember junior film and media arts major Jenna Burleigh who was killed earlier this year near Main Campus.
“I came to you last year after only a few months on the job,” Englert told at his second address as president. “I offered you my hopes for the future.”
The theme for this year’s address was “discovery,” and Englert highlighted the additions and successes of the university over the course of his first year as president.
The 17 members of the Board of Trustees have given more than $1 million each, with “a number” of them giving more than $10 million, Englert said during his speech. He called the Board the university’s “most ardent supporters.”
Board Chairman Patrick O’Connor is a part of that “million dollar club,” Englert added. He specifically thanked O’Connor for his continued leadership at the university.
Students from the student organization Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance have launched a campaign, calling for O’Connor to step down from the Board and to have his name removed from the recently dedicated O’Connor Plaza.
Englert added the university is brought together in many different and sometimes tragic ways, regarding the death Burleigh during the first week of the fall semester. Englert encouraged the audience to donate to the family’s charity in order to keep Jenna’s “legacy alive.”
Englert also celebrated the success of the Office of International Affairs’ “You Are Welcome Here” campaign — the office’s social media campaign to welcome international students to campus during national times of conflict with immigrants, like President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
More than 100 colleges and universities around the country introduced the campaign on its campuses.
The university continues to work with Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf on the university’s state budge, Englert said during the address. Temple is allocated $150 million in state funds, but because the university is state-related, it is not first priority to receive state funding.
Englert emphasized that the state’s allocation is important to keep the university’s tuition affordable for in-state students.
Temple’s scholars are ranked No. 18 for Google citations, one place behind Princeton that Englert noted. Englert added that the university spent more than $250 million for research in 2016.
Englert said the new owl statue on Liacouras and Polett walks symbolizes the student body’s pride in the university.
Englert also took time to thank Temple Student Government, who he praised for representing the university at Harrisburg during Sexual Assault Prevention Week.
Student Body President Tyrell Mann-Barnes spoke at Gov. Wolf’s “It’s On Us” press conference about sexual assault on college campuses.
“Not only are they a voice for the student body, but they roll up their sleeves and actually do the work,” Englert said.
“We’ve also seen other amazing members who are discovering that coming to Temple or staying here and taking on new duties is a great move,” Englert said, mentioning former BOT member and new Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jim Cawley, who was appointed to the position this summer.
“Their pride in Temple is something that is permanent,” he added.