President Theobald came to Temple a jovial, hamburger-grilling father figure to former President Ann Weaver Hart’s detached, often closed-off presence. He made a habit out of appearing at Temple sporting events – even for nonrevenue teams like field hockey – and quickly made it known that he was open to speaking to the media and being a public face for the university.
In his inaugural address on Oct. 18, Theobald commited to the Temple community that he would continue to promote the principles upon which Russell Conwell founded this university, mainly in extending a helping hand to as many “diamonds” in Temple’s backyard as possible.
Through 120 days in office, Theobald could be doing more to live up to that claim.
So far, the biggest move during Theobald’s tenure was the university’s decision to cut seven sports on Dec. 6. As far as upholding the Conwell legacy goes, the athletic department’s aim from day one has been to promote programs that may often be passed over by many of the more selective universities in the area. The athletic cuts are a stark contrast to that ideal.
Theobald’s other initiatives – mainly the “Fly in 4” campaign that aims to increase Temple’s four-year graduation rate – have, for the most part, been welcome additions to the Temple experience. Though the implementation of “Fly in 4” raises questions moving forward, Theobald has shown a commitment to making sure students pay a fair price for their education.
When Theobald arrived at Temple, four schools were functioning with interim deans. He should be commended for filling each position by Nov. 19.
Though many of Theobald’s initiatives have been made with the best interests of his student body at heart, we recommend he makes more decisions with the Conwell legacy in mind moving forward.