Theobald sets vision for Temple, announces research initiative in inaugural address

The university inaugurates its 10th president.

President Theobald receives a standing ovation after his inaugural address at the Performing Arts Center on Friday. | Yuxuan Jia TTN
President Theobald receives a standing ovation after his inaugural address at the Performing Arts Center on Friday. | Yuxuan Jia TTN

Neil Theobald during Friday’s inauguration ceremony.| Yuxuan Jia TTN

Nearly 10 months into his tenure as president, Neil Theobald on Friday laid out his vision for Temple during his investiture ceremony at the Baptist Temple.

In his inaugural address, which lasted more than a half hour, Theobald emphasized the importance of continuing the tradition of Temple, but highlighted six commitments to furthering the success of the university: focusing on students and their financial needs, working for faculty, engaging in the city, enhancing research, preserving a diverse student population and advancing entrepreneurship throughout the university.

“Here on the urban frontier, we must reinvigorate the Conwell legacy in order to create success in our students, our city, our commonwealth and our nation,” he said.

Theobald also announced a five-year, $50 million initiative for stronger research programs at the university.

Theobald, the former senior vice president and chief financial officer at Indiana University, was appointed president in August 2012 and took office on Jan. 1.

Before Theobald took office, the presidency was filled by Chancellor Richard Englert, who was acting president for the six months in 2012. One of the first points Theobald made in his speech was to thank Englert for his help during Theobald’s transition to Temple.

“During nearly four decades at Temple, Dick served in nine different high-level administrative capacities, including vice president for administration, interim athletic director, dean, provost and acting president,” Theobald said. “On behalf of Temple University, I would like to personally thank Dr. Englert for a lifetime of contributions.”

Before Theobald took the podium, Patrick O’Connor, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, said his thoughts on Theobald’s ability to lead have not changed in the months since he has assumed the presidency.

“Leading this great university is truly like running a small city,” O’Connor said. “[Theobald] is clearly the right man, at the right time, at the right place.”

Theobald ended his address by urging the university to join him in moving Temple forward.

“Today, I ask you to join me – students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and all who hold Temple dear,” Theobald said. “Join me here, now, in fulfilling Temple’s commitments and creating a future that is full of promise on this urban frontier.”

Sean Carlin can be reached at or follow on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.

Pick up The Temple News on Tuesday for more coverage of President Neil Theobald’s inauguration. 

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