Joanne Epps, Acting President of Temple University, Dies at 72
JoAnne A. Epps, the interim president of Temple University, passed away on Tuesday after getting unwell on stage during a memorial event, according to officials, who struggled to contain their grief as they remembered her nearly four decades of service.
Charles L. Blockson, a person who takes care of a collection of old stuff related to African-Americans, had a special event at the place where he keeps these things. And during that event, a lady named Epps had a sudden health problem
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, that when someone asked if there was a doctor in the room, Epps, who was supposed to talk at the event, suddenly looked really sick while the event was just starting.
She had to be helped out of her chair by a person in a uniform. Epps went to Temple University Hospital, and they said she passed away at around 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. She was 72 years old.
Temple University shared a post on Twitter:
Dear Members of the Temple Community,
It is with deep heartbreak that we write to inform you that Temple University Acting President JoAnne A. Epps suddenly passed away this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/lvzxcLud9E
— Temple University (@TempleUniv) September 19, 2023
Senior vice president and Temple’s chief operational officer Ken Kaiser refrained from speculating about Epps’ condition before she passed out but described her passing as a “gut punch for all of us right now.”
At the presser, Kaiser stated, “We are not aware that President Epps had any health issues.” The Associated Press was informed by Kaiser that he had known Epps for thirty years.
“JoAnne was full of life, somebody who was super compassionate and truly cared about other people and had a wonderful way of pulling them all together and getting people excited about even a daunting task, making things fun,” he said.
Gregory Mandel, provost of Temple University, became emotional while speaking about Epps. “We are all in deep grief and at a loss for words. To know JoAnne is to be her friend,” Mandel stated at the press conference.
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The university’s Board of Trustees will convene on Wednesday, according to Mandel. “put together a plan for us as we work through this transition.”
Jason Wingard, the university’s first Black president, resigned in March after serving as the 33,600-student institution’s president since July 2021. Epps, a former law school dean and provost at Temple was appointed to the position in April.
Josh Shapiro, governor of Pennsylvania, wrote on X:
JoAnne Epps was a powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University for nearly four decades. Losing her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia.
Lori and I are holding JoAnne’s loved ones in our hearts right now. May her memory be a blessing.
— Governor Josh Shapiro (@GovernorShapiro) September 19, 2023
The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, also said something about Epps’ death:
Heartbroken by the sudden passing of @TempleUniv Acting President JoAnne A. Epps. She was a passionate and steadfast leader who inspired many.
I feel fortunate to have known her. My heart is with the Temple community and JoAnne’s family and loved ones. https://t.co/AOy9ejHAAO
— Mayor Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) September 19, 2023
Epps, according to Kaiser, began her career 40 years ago as a bookkeeper at Temple and has devoted her life to enhancing the institution. In an April interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Epps said she would work on improving enrollment and safety.
During her predecessor’s troubled time in office, crime near the North Philadelphia school had been getting worse and worse. Since 2019, the newspaper said, registration had dropped by 14%. Epps said that she thought she was chosen partly because of her “ability to sort of calm waters.”
Epps told the newspaper, “I am obviously humbled and excited and really looking forward to being able to make a contribution to the university that I so love.” She said that she wouldn’t be interested in the steady job. The Temple Association of University Professionals workers’ union remembered the human touch that Epps added to his work.
“I remember her walking into my office this April, and chatting with me one-on-one about how we could work together to make Temple a better place,” union head Jeffrey Doshna said in a statement.
Gov. Josh Shapiro called her death “heartbreaking for Philadelphia,” saying that she had been “a powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University for nearly four decades.”