Although we thought the inauguration ceremony of President Dr. Ann Weaver Hart came a bit late, it was better late than never.
Well, beyond the formalities, kind words, choir-singing and “academic regalia”, Hart’s inauguration previewed a host of future changes for this university. President Hart has some big plans for the future and a pledge to “do more” for the university and the city. In her speech, she said it herself.
“Temple will change.” With the construction of Alter Hall, relocation of Tyler School to Main Campus and the development of a new medical school building, Temple has already seen changes this semester.
Spaces will be renovated, investment will increase and the campus will expand, with a push to go green and be global. Like the rest of the world, Temple plans jump on what we call the “green thumb bandwagon” by becoming environmentally responsible and creating ways to promote environmental sustainability in North Philly.
This year, the university created the Temple Sustainability Task Force and will also invest in four new heating systems that will reduce air pollutants by 20 percent.
Hart also charged students to study abroad in an effort to create an “internationalized”, or global university.
She is so committed to this goal that she and her hubby have pledged to pay the cost of students obtaining their passport for the first time, starting this summer. While we are excited to see how all of these changes will play out, there are still a lot of questions. To start, what’s the price tag on all of these goals and new ideas? Better yet, who will foot the bill?
Currently, tuition has been the major
fund generator for development projects.
But, by the end of Hart’s speech, it became increasingly obvious that she was making an eloquent sales pitch for alumni to “do more” by donating more. While commitment and capital from alumni seem to be the formula for Temple’s growth, what is the role of the community? Hart talked a lot providing “access.”
Access to excellence. Access to opportunity.
The word “access” appeared in her speech at least 12 times. (Yes, we counted.) But the rise in student living apartments, new research facilities and classrooms only seem to provide access for the Temple community. In light of the shooting near the Pearl Theatre a day after its opening, it does not appear that the community really feels the development is intended for them.
With this in mind, we look forward to how students, faculty, and the administration
will address these concerns.