Top 10 Photos of 2023

From the jubilation of the Eagles’ Super Bowl berth to the mourning of President Epps, here are the most impactful photos from 2023.

Here are The Temple News' top 10 photos of 2023. | FILE / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This past year was a trying time for the Temple community, but not one without moments of celebration and hope. The Temple News’ top 10 photos of 2023 capture the range of emotions of this year’s stories, from the mourning of Temple Police Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald to the wondrous scenes following the Philadelphia Eagles’ conference championship win. 

The sudden death of President JoAnne Epps was heartbreaking, bringing the community together to celebrate her life and many years of service to the university. In response to somber, global events, the vigils and protests by Israeli and Palestinian students were a testament to the community’s resilience. 

Temple Association of University Professionals has also been advocating for an improved contract and graduate students were striking earlier in the year. Stories like those of gymnast Brooke Donabedian were highlights for an otherwise struggling time for Temple Athletics.

Here are the top 10 photos from 2023.

1. Temple community mourns death of Christopher Fitzgerald in emotional vigil

Following the fatal shooting of Temple Police Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald on Feb. 18, Temple held a vigil at the Bell Tower to honor his life. Hundreds of people attended and listened to numerous speakers, including his wife Marissa Fitzgerald and former president Jason Wingard.  Sgt. Fitzgerald was the first Temple police officer killed in the line of duty. 

2. Temple students celebrate as Eagles advance to Super Bowl

On Jan. 29, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl. Immediately after, fans, including numerous Temple students, ran to Center City to celebrate. One Eagles fan climbed up a traffic light pole on South Broad Street. 

3. “Epitome of grace”: Temple community celebrates the life of JoAnne Epps

The Temple community came together on Sept. 29 to mourn the loss of President JoAnne Epps, who suddenly passed away on Sept. 19. Epps was appointed as acting president only five months prior to her passing, and before that was a long-time faculty member and Provost. Her funeral was held at The Liacouras Center. Several people spoke at the funeral, including Board of Trustees Chair Mitchell Morgan and Interim President Richard Englert.

4. “Bring them home”: Students hold vigil in solidarity with Israeli hostages

On Nov. 17, dozens of students peacefully gathered at the Bell Tower to stand in solidarity with the Israeli and Jewish community. The vigil was planned by Owls for Israel with help from Hillel at Temple and other members of the university’s Jewish community. Students at universities around the country showed their solidarity with Israel following an Oct. 7 attack from Hamas, a militant group. At Temple, they decorated the Bell Tower with “missing” posters for each of the 239 people held in Gaza by Hamas.

5. “Our hearts are connected”: Students attend vigil honoring Palestinian lives

On Nov. 8, Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine and the Philly Palestine Coalition organized a vigil at the Bell Tower to honor the Palestinian lives lost during the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Students at universities around the country gathered to show solidarity with the Palestinians. At Temple, students gathered on Beury Beach for a candlelit gathering to grieve the loss of the Palestinian victims, who they mournfully referred to as martyrs. 

6. TAUP rallies for new contract at Temple

TAUP, representing 2,350 faculty, librarians, and academic professionals, rallied ahead of its Oct. 15 contract expiration, demanding increased transparency on the university’s budget, better sick and parental leave and improved handling of discrimination cases. State representatives and local politicians joined the rally to support TAUP’s calls for equity, dignity, and job security.

7. JoAnne Epps leaves impact on university morale

President JoAnne Epps had a positive impact on university morale during her brief term, addressing challenges related to safety and enrollment. Her engagement with the community, optimistic messaging and increased presence reportedly contributed to heightened optimism on campus. This photo was taken in her office during an exclusive interview with The Temple News in August.

8. Donabedian is the leader of a new era for Temple Gymnastics

Temple gymnast Brooke Donabedian qualified for NCAA Regionals for a second consecutive year. She not only excelled individually but maintained a strong commitment to her teammates. Recruited under head coach Josh Nilson’s vision of emphasizing artistry, Donabedian’s success validated the team’s progress, offering optimism for the future.

9. Oct. 13 edition of The Rundown

Every Tuesday and Friday, The Temple News sends out a newsletter with the week’s stories, often topped with a photo of campus or of student life. Featured in the Oct. 13 edition were stories about TAUP’s protests, an opinion article about the changes Temple needs to make when celebrating Hispanic Heritage month and the continuing expansion of campus into North Philly.

10. “Building that trust”: Drayton resets the culture of Temple Football

After a challenging 3-9 season, Temple Football head coach Stan Drayton’s postseason reflection led to a personal reset, influencing a revamped coaching style. Emphasizing player initiative and trust-building, Drayton aimed to redefine the team’s identity while tackling the challenges of the past.

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